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Why I'm ditching Windows Phone 8 to go back to IOS

Column Lack of apps has become too frustrating
Fri Dec 21 2012, 14:30
carly-page

EARLIER THIS YEAR I made a big move, I switched from an Iphone 5 to a Nokia Lumia 920.

This was a huge move for me, as I also own a Macbook, Ipad and Apple TV, so switching from IOS to Windows Phone 8 was a pretty daunting experience. But, I did it, and it was much easier to let go of my Iphone than I had expected.

Two months have since passed, and it's fair to say I'm not quite so happy. As much as I adore my Lumia phone - in fact, I think it's one of the best, if not the best phone released in 2012 - I've reached the end of my tether with Windows Phone 8. Sure, it scored highly in our review, but too many problems have since come to light.

The first issue is the lack of apps. I know we mentioned this in our Windows Phone 8 review, but after two months of trawling through the bleak Windows Store it has become too much. The major apps my Lumia 920 phone is missing include Spotify and Instagram, and I've found it difficult. So difficult that I also carry an Android phone around with me, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini in fact, just so I can get my fix of Christmas music on the train in the morning and check that I haven't been tagged in any Instagrammed snaps from the night before.

Why aren't these apps available? We're not sure. Of course, the fact that Windows Phone 7 apps won't automatically work on Windows Phone 8 can't have helped developers. We've also heard that it's very expensive to develop applications for the latest iteration of Microsoft's mobile operating system, which might be why some developers are dragging their feet.

While some won't find the lack of Spotify and Instagram that much of an issue, the lack of games in the Windows Store might not be such welcome news, not to mention the pricing of those few games that have miraculously found their way into the store.

Sure, you can download Angry Birds and my personal favourite, Nom Nom Worm, but don't expect to find Grand Theft Auto or Football Manager, which you will find on both IOS and Android. Instead, browse the 'top free Games', for example, and you'll find unheard-of titles such as AlphaJax and Ragdoll Run, despite Windows Phone 8's much touted Xbox Live integration. Browse the 'top paid Games' and, well, you'll probably run away screaming at the prices.

A lack of applications isn't the only niggle that is driving us back to IOS, there's also the performance of the apps that are available. For example, refreshing my Twitter feed using the microblogging website's app automatically takes me back to my followers' tweets from two hours previous, which means scrolling through hundreds of updates before I get back to the top. Of course, this isn't Microsoft's fault, but it shows that developers don't care for Windows Phone apps as much as they do with other apps.

Gmail might soon not work on Windows Phone, either. A report from earlier this month claims that Google is removing support for Microsoft's Exchange Activesync protocol from 30 January, which means that devices will not be able to use Exchange Activesync protocol with Gmail. What's more, Google is unlikely to build a dedicated Gmail app for Windows Phone, as it has revealed that it doesn't plan to develop Windows 8 apps.

Although I also use Exchange and Outlook email accounts on my Nokia Lumia 920, and this change might not affect my device, I'm not prepared to take the risk of losing mobile access to Gmail.

I've had a lengthy rant about apps on Windows Phone 8, but there are other some slight niggles too. I've experienced multiple issues receiving texts from Iphone wielding friends, my Contacts list is what can only be described as a mess and Microsoft's Live Tile interface has proven to be a nightmare for retaining battery life.

So, for now, I'm going back to my trusty Iphone, where I can download apps and send text messages to my heart's content. That's not to say that I'll stick with it for long though, as once Microsoft sorts out these issues, I might become a Windows Phone user once again. µ

 

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