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  • jeffkibuule - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I've been using a Nokia Lumia 920 for the past 2 months and pretty much loving it. Windows Phone 8 is no longer hampered by weak hardware, it just needs not "more" apps, but the "right" apps.

    I'd be interested to see whether Microsoft will more heavily leverage the Xbox brand into making both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 successful gaming platforms. It really needs more tier 1 studios to make both platforms worthwhile for developing. It should be that hard, especially considering Windows Phone 8 finally supports DirectX (very weird that WP7 didn't expose it to 3rd parties).
  • BedfordTim - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    There are two major ommissions for me.
    Firstly does the speech recognition work, and secondly is there an equivalent to Google's excellent predictive text? For Europeans Google's recognition engine understands the words but fails to act.
  • GrzegorzWidla - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Speech recognition does work. It's worse than Google's but not a lot. It's definitely usable and the more you use it, the better results it yields. I haven't used voice dictation and various voice commands in non-English.

    As for predictive text, do you mean in keyboard or in search? Keyboard prediction is far better than on Android, especially in Polish which I write in mainly. Also it works perfectly with multiple languages. Google Search prediction is obviously better. Bing is lacking when it comes to text search. It's better though for searching for videos and images - especially due to proper, modern, mobile interface. Searching for images on my Android devices is a joke and I always pick a laptop instead of even trying.
  • CaedenV - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    1) MS's speech recognition is a learning system. The more you use it, the better it gets. When I first turned it on it always had a rough time figuring out what I wanted, but now it is almost always accurate. There are still some issue, like it can never figure out things like desert and dessert (one yielding pictures of guns, and the other giving tasty treats), but for the most part it does an excellent job now that I have used it for a month.
    The really amazing thing is that it does a good job not matter the background noise. I am not sure how much of this is the lumia 920's sound canceling, and how much is the speech recognition engine being good at eliminating extraneous data, but it does work very well, and works faster than the Android phones I have seen/played with.

    2) Predictive text is there and works well. I do wish it was grammar-specific as I am often given an option for the proper root word, but the wrong tense. So I am often given a singular instead of a plural, or a plural when I am looking for a possessive, etc. But like the speech recognition it is a learning system, and it at least catches on to what you are trying to say pretty quickly. As a keyboard typer who can do 60+wpm I thought I would be annoyed at the text input, but while I am still getting use to the lack of tactile feedback, the predictive text does keep up with me pretty well.
  • Thermalzeal - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    The one thing that is better than Google's is the app level API's that can be accessed . For instance, there is a Hey DJ app which allows you to hit your windows phone button and say, "Hey DJ, Play" It works with all music on your phone. The pass through capabilities of being able to integrate not only search but queries to content within the phone are quite powerful. Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    and regulate its handsets so that all users were Nexus users, no one would care about the 8X. Simply put, it's carriers and skin-happy manufacturers killing (slaughtering?) Android.

    Now, what's your issue with stock? I love stock 4.1, personally.
  • thesavvymage - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Google can't do that, that is precisely why it is so popular. It is open. The instant they make it impossible for carriers and manufacturers to customize, it will also be extremely difficult for groups like cyanogen to customize android as well. Anybody can go download the source code and customize android, thats what makes it a popular choice among manufactuers. It is both a blessing and a curse Reply
  • UpSpin - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    People complain about fragmentation, yet, it's a stupid term people have no clue about:
    1. If you want the bleeding edge Android version, get a Nexus device. No one forces you to buy a HTC or Samsung device, if you want Android, get a Nexus device. Unlike with iOS however, you can, with Android, buy other devices with different UI being 100% compatible to Android.
    2. The ability to do with Android whatever you want is the reason it's so succesful. Intel is able to port it to their hardware, and so is ARM and MIPS. Not possible with iOS, WP8, other locked down OS. RIM is able to run Android Apps, you are able to run them on Windows, ... not so possible with locked down iOS or WP8 apps. Some people don't like the Android UI, yes, such people exist. They prefer the HTC, Samsung, Sony, ... whatever interface. They are free to choose what they like. The abilty to customize the UI allows manufacturers to differentiate themself from each other. Again, if you don't like the Sense UI, get a Touchwiz, if you want stock Android, get a Nexus device.
    3 It would be pretty boring and totally uninspiring if everyone uses stock Android. Many ideas of Touchwiz/Sense/CM... got integrated in AOSP. Google can take a look at what people like about Touchwiz, Sense, ... and use the best of it. Microsoft on the other hand is the sole developer of WP8. If people don't like specific things, they're fu****. They can't buy a HTC WP8 with a, for their taste, better UI. So it's really boring, and harms progress and inventions. Everyone is forced to use the same.
    4. Fragmentation: There are currently two important Android versions: Version 2 and Version 4. The minor version changes are minor and for most customized Android versions negligible. What matters are the major numbers, because this is important for API and thus App compatibility. The customization added by HTC or Samsung makes the changes done by Google in minor versions mostly negligible. They offer their own keyboard, own launcher, own widgets, own extensions, tweaks, ... And honestly, most users don't even know what Android version they're running. Bugs get fixed by device manufacturers OTA, too, without the need of a minor or major version upgrade, too.
    Fragmentation is a dumb no-reason against Android. iOS is much more fragmented (older devices get a major version upgrade, yet with all the new features artificially disabled (not so on Android, you get what the version supports), so no upgrade at all, but people are dumb enough to think they are running the latest version, yet, nothing changed). WP is even worse. WP8 apps are totally incompatible to WP7.x devices. And if WP8 is two years old, older devices won't be able to run the latest demanding apps and features any longer, either, because older hardware doesn't support it. So either they make it like Apple and increment the major version number without changing anything and break what was working fine in the past, or are honest and stop upgrading the device.

    What's disgusting however, is that companies benefit from Android without supporting it.
    Example: RIM supports emulating Android Apps, yet, they also added their own programming language. That's redundant. It would have been much better if they just natively use Android apps/dalvik and ditch their own approach. So if you develop for RIM you automatically develop for Android. But they want their own Ecosystem. The same with Amazon. They benefit by using Android on their devices, yet, lock it down to only support their Ecosystem and block out everyone else.
    The huge advantage of Java and the Dalvik VM is that you can run the apps everywhere. That's not the case with Objective-C apps, nor with .NET apps.
  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    It's sounds like you don't understand what people mean when they say fragmentation. They are talking (most importantly) about supporting all the newest APIs and second the display resolution where you are incorrectly talking about built-in features. A consistent set of APIs are MUCH MUCH MUCH more important than the bonus built-in OS user facing features. I can use a 2+ year old iPhone 4 and download pretty much every single app in the App Store, even those using the very latest iOS 6 APIs. Not so on Android!

    Android 4.x and Android 2.x have different sets of APIs and Android has obviously craploads of display size fragmentation. Multiply those two and you are indeed looking at mass fragmentation.

    Apple has essentially a single set of APIs work across all their devices that are 3 years old or newer and 4 total display sizes. FAR less fragmentation.
  • Belard - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    How old is Android 2.x? Oh yeah 3 years old. Android 4.x has just surpassed 2.x. Apple still makes the iPhone 3 for the $1 market... the 4S for the $100~50 entry.

    Yeah, Android 2.x sucks... but again, 3 years ago... are we living in 2010?

    Fragmentation is not between the vendors, its *WHEN* low-end manufactures (usually Asian market or cheap $80 tablets in Walgreen's) make cheap devices using very old cheap hardware and sells them currently. ALL new devices from reputable sources are 4.0~4.2.

    Android as a whole, has sold 75% of the phones in 2012...
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    "Yeah, Android 2.x sucks... but again, 3 years ago..."

    It also makes up about half of Android OS installations out there. Even new Samsung devices you can buy today ship with 2.3. Jelly Bean is installed on only about 10% of Android devices by comparison.

    High-end Android sales are dwarfed by low end devices sold contract free or in developing nations. Its minority share of global internet traffic and app downloads reflects that.

    By comparison, 60% of all iOS devices ever are running iOS 6, with the rest mostly running iOS 5. Even the ancient 3GS from 2009 can run iOS 6.
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    But it is a shame that the more advanced original iPad that my wife has cannot run iOS6 when the 3GS can :/ Reply
  • UpSpin - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I agree with you, Apple does a very good job with upgrading their devices to the latest API level, a thing, MS totally failed at with WP7/8 and Android manufacturers seem to fail at.
    1. Display resolution: What's wrong with multiple different display resolutions? The UI can be sized dynamically to fit any display size and Android developers just have to include properly sized images for the different resolution sets (HDPI, MDPI, ...) and the app runs on every resolution the same. As long as bitmaps instead of vector graphics get used, that's the only way to handle it. And I really don't see any issue with this at all.
    Only because Android runs on every display resolution, manufacturers are able to manufacture 1080p Displays for Android and don't have to wait until OHA decides that it might be ok to add support for higher resolution displays (the way MS does). I don't see a 1080p WP8 device, you? The same with SoCs. Android is allowed to run on anything, WP8 not! So MS does favor a SoC manufacturer, thus surpresses the use of NVidia, Samsung, TI, ... and ruins their R&D.
    2. API: If you look at the Nexus line, Google does what Apple does. Upgrade the devices to the latest version, but unlike Apple, enabling all new features. If you look at the other manufacturers you're right, some newer devices could and should have received an upgrade to Version 4, yet haven't. But many devices also just aren't able to handle Version 4 because they have too few storage and too few RAM.For example the Nexus One. Or require to repartition the whole device. That doesn't work seamlessly, so most people won't do it, so manufacturers don't even bother with it.
    Smartphones and Android changed dramatically in the past few years, and thus, devices which ran fine v.2 not necessarily support 4 or only with lots of tweaks and tricks (CM, XDA). And if people bought a low end Android 2 phone last year and expect that they receive an upgrade to Android 4, then they're idiotic. But most people who bought a low end phone don't care about the version at all and don't want an update at all. Only tech geeks think they do and call Android fragmented. If you buy a cheap smartphone, don't expect any support. If you expect long term support you just have to buy an Android smartphone similar priced to an iPhone 4S (the iPhone 5 is overpriced) from a well known manufacturer.

    Fragmentation occurs as soon as a piece of software is a few generations old. The fact that the first Android changed dramatically made upgrades difficult. MS solved that issue by not supporting older hardware any longer at all (two times, Windows Mobile 6.5, WP7) (yet still sell such devices: Nokia low end 7.5 phones), Apple solved it by not changing the OS dramatically. But sooner or later, Apple has to (else they will die again), and so will they be forced to stop supporting older devices, too.
  • nickDePlume - Thursday, January 31, 2013 - link

    I have an elderly HTC Desire running 2.3.x something, and a Nexus 7 running the latest shiniest 4.2.1.

    Apart from the performance (and size) difference, both run pretty much the same apps.

    And the display size difference remark is uninformed- Android is pretty much resolution agnostic by design, unlike iOS. You do not need seperate versions to cover different sets of resolutions, such as old 2:3 aspect'ed iOS (HVGA), newer iOS (quad-HVGA or retina), the newer iOS (9:16), ipad 3:4 XGA and ipad 3:4 quadXGA (again so-called retina). The same Angry Birds app binary run at correct resolution at every Android under the sun.

    Anyway, I do like the WP8 way of doing things. It's not something for a tinkerer such as I, but great for my mom - who just needs simple and clean, and easily readable (and no, I am not denigrating the Modern UI - I do admire it).
  • LostViking - Friday, February 01, 2013 - link

    You have a lot of Android development experience I see?

    4.x and 2.x doesn't have different sets of API's, the 4.x API is a superset of the 2.x API.

    When you start a new Android project you choose the API version based on the following simple rule: Pick a version old enough to get most of the market, while picking a version new enough to get the features you need.

    For me, doing games mostly, that means I use 2.1 as a target for most of my projects. Then I get OpenGL 2.0 support, and my app will run on all phones using 2.1 or newer (which should cater for 99.99% of the phones currently out there).
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    You can buy about any android phone on the market and put a non "skinned" custom rom on it. I currently have a nexus phone but my first smart phone was a skinned phone and this was the first thing I did. Ironically I then installed widgets to put a lot of the features that come with HTC's skin back on my phone. Reply
  • GoodToGo - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    While the Windows 8 platform no doubt offers a different take on Android and iOS, it has nothing in it that would cause customers to drool. As a tech site, no doubt you guys would get a nerdgasm on latest hardware or amazing software. Tell me what does W8 offer in this regard?
    Lets take Android - initially offered superior hardware to make for it somewhat lackluster and slow software. Early Android builds lagged a little but offered more in terms of functionality and customization. Look the latest Android phone coming out. The galaxy note, S3, Razr Max etc are all excellent phones. I got a chance to play with a S3 and am very impressed. It offers so much that I am actually little afraid of its complexity. But the nerd in me loves it for its versatility. We have 1080p phones coming out (good god!) next month in MWC and its a race to see who will have the superior experience. I am very excited for Android's future.
    As for Apple - kicked of the whole smartphone segment so respect to them for that. I feel that iOs has superior app selection allowing the user to almost feel confused as to which app to use. Every morning, several apps in my iPad3 scream for attention and its hard to decide what to use. The iPhone offers similar experience though I feel that IOS limits your functionality by disallowing a file system. As a starter I would advise people to go for the iPhone but slowly as they unlock their own potential to use the phone, I feel Android becomes the next step in channeling that energy.
    Now for Windows phone- where is it superior? Is it hardware? Nope, Android definitely has that locked down in phones and Apple in tablets. It is software? Nope, even Android is better than Windows and iOs is just a juggernaut compared to W8. So where is the need? Where is the innovation? Where is the drool factor? This is where Windows fails. They are an also ran. It almost seems to me that some tired guy sitting in some back office is pushing windows 8 because they have no presence in the mobile market, no because they want to be there. I think stability was the only thing they have going but as apps increase, the stability goes down as well (rather unsurprisingly I might add). What windows needs is innovation first and marketing second. Customers will flock themselves to such a platform.
  • karasaj - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Everything you stated was an opinion though... Android and WP are virtually tied in hardware. Sure, the Droid DNA and incoming phones have 1080P screens, but that's mainly a marketing gimmick; you can't distinguish 440ppi from 300, let alone 325-350 where the other phones are. The Lumia 920 has the best camera by far out there - if you don't believe me then you haven't tried it.

    Live tiles and the integration with the OS as far as social media are (in my opinion) better than Android and iOS (I came from Android camp). The closest Android comes are widgets, and iOS doesn't even really match it.

    AND Windows Phone offers the colors, etc. that make the phone itself brighter and just more "standout-ish." Not exactly innovative, but nobody else was really doing it. (I got a black 8X, but might have gone for the red with Verizon).

    Also: does ANYBODY think Verizon will release the portico update for WP anytime soon? I would really love the battery improvements. I can get through a full day fine, but I usually need to charge after that. My old phone didn't even last a day though, and I have LTE and heavier usage now, so that's something.
  • GoodToGo - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    How is 1080p screens an "opinion"? Also, the closer you hold a device, the more ppi you need. For phones, you may need as high as 700 ppi. We are no where close to retina resolution. Got a long way to go but the way is being shown by Android OEM's. I watch a lot of videos so 1080p screens are amazing for me. No scaling up or down. Simple and pure video. Some others might just like the screen. Others get bragging rights. See where I am going with this? How many windows phones with 1080p screens have been announced?

    The tiles integration with social media is innovation? Since when? At best, its a better way to display items. At worst, its a gimmick or effort to do something different and nothing else.

    Also, the fact that you mentioned colors as the standout point is telling. There is really no talking point wbout W8. BTW samsung galaxy is coming in red, brown and blue as well if you are so inclined on colors.
  • karocage - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    It's kind of obvious you haven't used one. Which, fine, but then why spend all this time ripping on it? I went from WP7.5 to a stock Android 4.0 device and the difference in quality is really noticeable.

    1. The stock keyboard is far worse. Fortunately, you can swap to a better keyboard like swype, but then on WP I never felt the need to care about this since they keyboard didn't suck out of the gate.

    2. Yes, the social media stuff on WP is a big innovation. You get one unified feed of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This is a far better model than going into individual apps.

    3. The interface is leaps and bounds above Android. Android is fine but essentially is a poorly done (in terms of the interface) iOS ripoff. WP8 now outdoes Android on maximum home screen item density - around 28 of the small tiles before you have to scroll versus 20 icons. But if you want to see your next calendar appointment right on the icon you can do that too. It's also one continuous scroll instead of tediously swiping between home pages...for instance you can just launch yourself all the way to the bottom with one hard swipe. The live tiles provide a consistent way to see both app data and launch the app in one space-efficient item, instead of having to take up big chunks of your homescreen with janky-looking widgets that aren't available for a big number of apps. Not to mention things like hubs and the generally smoother experience regardless of hardware.

    4. Maybe this is just my phone, but on Android I've already gotten multiple crashes and freezes. Stock ICS like I said. Never had issues like that on WP. A more serious problem is how badly Android runs your battery down unless you manually kill background processes. It feels like running Windows XP in a way, having to manage all these primitive aspects of the OS in order for it to not break.

    Now, obviously there are some things I like a lot better about Android. Much better app selection. Swype is pretty damn cool and useful. Sure, 1080p is a thing if that's something you like. You can root it and stuff if that's your thing. But overall it's really no contest on the essential day to day experience if you actually give WP a chance.
  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "Yes, the social media stuff on WP is a big innovation. You get one unified feed of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This is a far better model than going into individual apps."

    Why would you want this? You can't "like", view photo albums, or events on twitter, you can't hashtag search or trend search on facebook. You basically lose each services most useful features into something extremely dumbed down.
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    You can like, comment, and view photo albums from the unified feed for facebook posts...have you even used one of these devices before?

  • Belard - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Get Launcher 7 or Launcher 8 for Android.. comes in free or paid versions. Reply
  • karasaj - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Er... no. 335 ppi is indistinguishable to the eye without a magnifying glass. It doesn't matter if you smash your nose into the screen; you won't see it. And if you do, you're convincing yourself through a placebo effect.

    You can't shrug off the point of WP8 lol. Live tiles are certainly better integrated with the OS than widgets on Android or nothing on iOS. I don't see what you consider to be a standout point to Android. I love Android, I used stock, several Cyanogen Mod's, and another ROM whose name I don't remember, but I like WP8's UI more. It's cleaner, fits more on one screen, and I think it is definitely a better "average social" kind of phone. Sure, if you're an enthusiast, you get Android, root the phone, and have fun. But that isn't everybody.
  • GoodToGo - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Err except that it is not. Here is an article clearly refuting why 300ppi is no where close to good.
  • hahmed330 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Firstly, live tiles are barely informative. Widgets are far superior then live tiles as they are interactive and are very practical. For example youtube widget, I can scroll down tabs of my favorite youtube channels and access it in 5 seconds without ever accessing youtube app itself. (lets assume that there will be a youtube app on WP8) You would have to have a separate live tile for each of the channels.

    Secondly, Microsoft has too much of a control over their OS itself. How are companies going to differentiate themselves? The biggest reason why android has been so successful. Of course this is also a bad thing as well, but for the end user it is also a good thing because whatever works for you best is the best policy there is. Because android is here you have more choices as Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei, Pantech... e.t.c. All of their smart phones can be differentiated, but not WP8 based phones.

    Thirdly, android evolves very quickly by the time there will be windows 8.5 we would have 3 revisions in android. The changes in android have been quite substantial each time. Difference between WP7 vs WP8 is like difference between Android 4.0 and 4.1. While android evolved form gingerbread to jellybean in the same amount of time.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Both Android and WP8 have their advantages. In my family I have a couple of iPhone users and a few Android users. I'm the only one with a WP device, and that was only very recently.

    Live tiles give me what I want in at a glance. I don't just have one live tile. At a glance I can see all kinds of stuff, and with a touch you can dig further into any of them. They're not perfect but I like them quite a bit, and like just about everything on WP8 they are designed to be battery-friendly . If Google was playing nice with Youtube, we would already HAVE a proper Youtube app.

    Too much control over the OS? I can see that point of view, but personally I disagree. When I buy a PC, I don't want OEM junkware or modifications. For my personal desktop machines, I build, so this isn't an issue. I feel the same way about phones. I think PC OEMs have managed to differentiate just fine without relying on gimmicks. If anything, it has forced them to concentrate on the hardware more. I see no reason why smartphone vendors can't do the same. In fact, in the WP field, they're doing just that. I chose a Lumia 822 over the 8X because the 8X lacked a removeable battery and SD slot.

    As for updates, frequent updates don't necessarily mean more substance. You're definitely wrong about WP7 vs WP8. WP7 went through multiple significant updates before we even arrived at WP8, and the platform has improved significantly over time. I'd say this is really a wash, and not strictly an advantage for anyone.
  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    In what way are Android widgets different than live tiles?

    What good is "integration with the OS as far as social media" when you can't even reply to someone on twitter using the built-in twitter mechanic? I mean this is basic stuff. Same for Facebook. The built-in social media support is about as basic as it gets which is why everyone installs an app anyway, pretty much taking away any advantage WP8 has.
  • s44 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I think you're on to something.

    Leave aside how Windows is or isn't superior, though, how do they make their brand *feel* superior? Most people don't *want* to think of themselves as the tech idiots whose VCRs used to flash 12:00 and need a Smartphone For Dummies, even if they are. (Look how Apple has spun that image to flatter their customers -- and how Samsung has successfully played the old/unhip/un-saavy card on Apple and BB.) Having middling celebs do down-to-earth stuff doesn't really associate WP ownership with awesome.

    The recent Droid/LG Optimus ads are sort of dumb, but at least they aren't this:
  • Belard - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I agree with much of what you have to say. The HTC 8x looks like colorful versions of the Once X. When MS first came out with WP7 "Metro" - I like the interface for a phone... and I ran a METRO launcher on my Android 2.x phone for almost 2 years until I got a new Motorola Atrix HD (4.1) - I still have that old phone as a part time mini-tablet.

    With Android 4.x, I didnt feel the need to use Launcher 7 (or 8). The widgets do what I need and I love how Motrola has designed their UI (Almost pure Android).

    When I use a friends SGS3... its different UI isn't as nice... but that is more opinion and personal preference.

    Win8 is a whole eco-system designed to revamp Microsoft in all market points.. it does nothing great. I think its still great for a phone and is actually original compared to Android and iOS... Okay for a tablet... horrible for a desktop.
  • shompa - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    The author is worried about vendor lock-in with the iPhone. Whats the difference with windows? You are locked into using windows on you PC/Phone.

    I am amazed how uneducated people are how MSFT locks its users in. Always by doing shady stuff. Gamers for example are forced to use windows because of DirectX. MSFT refused to follow open standards.

    Office/Exchange is another huge lock-in.

    The funniest thing is that windows fanatics never have used anything else then windows. Every single mac user I know have used/know how to use windows.

    MSFT have a 50 billion turnover on crap. Its amazing.
    (But I do give MSFT props for the Metro GUI. Their first own innovation)
  • thesavvymage - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    They are not locked into windows because of directX. Windows can use openGL and other rendering engines. Its just that directx is much more efficient and easier to code for than the open standards. Also, Office is not a lock in. It is simply the most widely used productivity software, and its also available for mac. Reply
  • UpSpin - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    The fact that Win 8 will be a requirement for Direct X 11.1 is artificical. MS forces you to upgrade to Win 8 if yout want to play the latest games. Luckily for us, game companies are too lazy to switch to DirectX 11.1 immediately. But maybe with the next XBox console, this will change, so people have to upgrade to Win 8 if the game requires DX11.1.
    Microsoft could support open Document formats, yet, they only improve their propietary stuff. So open source Office solution often aren't fully compatible to MS Office documents and it's a hassle to switch between them.
    MS could also support OpenGL, no, they only develop DX, because that way they make sure that gamers use Windows, and regularily update to the latest version, if they want to play a game.
    This will, luckily, change, because of Valves and other start up initatives (Ouya) to support open console like devices running on anything.
  • A5 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    1) Ouya is going to fail. Just so you know.

    2) Steambox won't change anything because the console ports are all going to be DirectX. The reason DirectX took such a huge lead is that OpenGL was slow to adapt to changing standards and whatnot.
  • DanNeely - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Supporting old hardware means there're multi-year lags in when new DX standards become required. It's only really been in the last year or so that DX10 only titles have started appearing in any significant number, and DX10 launched nearly 6 years ago with Vista.

    By the time DX11.1 becomes a required minimum as opposed to something that gives extra eyecandy at max settings windows 9 will probably be in the middle of it's retail lifetime and DX11.0 only systems will be obsolescent at best.

    In the medium term keeping everything working with DX10 only systems for the cross platform ports is, if anything, likely to hold back the 720. I doubt that will be an issue though since DX11/11.1 have only been incremental changes on top of the existing DX10 foundation, and not major redesigns like the DX9-10 upgrade.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    If Microsoft's document format is so proprietary, why does Libre Office work for me? On Windows, no less? MS isn't half as bad as Apple. You can even put a browser on WP8 that uses its OWN proprietary rendering engine - try doing that on iOS! You can't!

    Most developers actually support multiple renderpaths. As a result, the vast, VAST majority of games will run fine on Vista/Win7 even if they DO support an 11.1 render path. Actually, most of the important 11.1 features are getting backported to Win7 anyway.

    Valve's only motivation for Steambox is money. They want a box where they are the primary/sole distributor, and take a cut of all profits. They don't want to share that cut with MS or anyone else. If all they really wanted to do was foster gaming on Linux or PCs in general, they wouldn't be building a console-type system. They would drop their fees to almost nothing for Linux versions to encourage developers to make a Linux port. Maybe even reduce their cut for the Windows version of any game with a Linux port, to further sweeten the deal.
  • ananduser - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    The DX 11.1 requirement is also tied to kernel modifications that are present in Win8. It is not artificial.
    OpenGL was always supported in Windows, but since OGL was built with CAD in mind, they(MS) created a superior product with DirectX that caters exclusively to games. It's so good that Carmack himself praised it.
  • krutou - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    "The fact that Win 8 will be a requirement for Direct X 11.1 is artificical. MS forces you to upgrade to Win 8 if yout want to play the latest games."

    How else is MSFT going to pay for DirectX development? DirectX is a large driving factor for the improvement of graphics quality and performance in PC games.
  • boozed - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Tell us the story about how we're all so uneducated again, oh enlightened one! Reply
  • karasaj - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I used an iMac for four years in band/for various music editing stuff. I love mac for music, photo, and video related stuff, but prefer Windows for most things. I see why some people like Mac more, but I personally don't. Reply
  • ananduser - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "Gamers for example are forced to use windows because of DirectX. MSFT refused to follow open standards."
    What a load of bull. DirectX was a tremendous effort on MS' part that had them derided by the game outfits of the 90s. Like Apple feels that it has a responsibility towards its users to create imessage, facetime and airplay so is MS responsible towards its users to create a gaming API(keep in mind OGL was built with CAD in mind not gaming).

    Office/Exchange are just the best in their market segments.

    Furthermore with Windows you're locked within software not sotfware AND hardware like with Apple. I would happily pay Apple for OSX and iWork to run on my PC but unfortunately I am forced to buy another set of redundant x86 hardware to be able to run said software. Vendor lock-in is significantly more atrocious if it's Apple's style.
  • RevLuck - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I noticed the Lumia 920 battery info seems wrong, It's not removable.

    I've been using Lumia 920 for about two months now and love the phone, coming from Android, the tiles fit me lot better than widgets. Easy, consistent and you can fit lots of info in one view. While there are still features that I miss from Android, I don't think I could go back.

    For me, the two features that really stand over X8 are the wireless charging and super sensitive screen. Twice in few weeks I've been freezing my fingers off trying to use phone outside before realizing I can just put the gloves back. After getting used to the wireless charging its the kind of convenience I would probably find hard to go back on. I guess I'm lazy :)

    I pretty much thought both features as gimmicks when I bought the phone, but now I hope my next phone will have them too. I just wish the charging pad prices would go down, the current price point is pretty ridiculous.
  • shompa - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I hate that people still thinks its great dragging files back and forth in explorer. That is 1970 thinking. A good OS should make it so you never have to see the filesystem.

    How should a person with a huge library do? I have had over 40K songs in my library since 2002. In "Windows" thinking I should drag and drop the stuff I want.

    The computer should do the work for me.

    Give me songs, rated 3 stars and above, that have not been played for the last week.
    Smart playlists.

    It amazes me that people still 11 years later don't use playlists, automatic syncing and so on. This is typical Windows thinking. So 30 years after the fact.
  • boozed - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Wow. Hate's a pretty strong emotion to feel towards someone... Especially people whose only crime is that they want to be able to do things a certain way.

    If I wanted to be churlish I'd have said "...they can do things for themselves." instead, but I won't.
  • madmilk - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    You can use rsync for syncing and playlist files (duh) for playlists.

    Or you can wait for the music management software you're using to suddenly come out with a craptacular update (cough iTunes and Winamp), and then wonder what the hell you're going to switch to.
  • piroroadkill - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I could do exactly that, with smart playlists, using my player (J River Media Center), but you know what, I don't bother.

    I prefer exposing the files and doing it manually.
  • karocage - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "How should a person with a huge library do?"

    You should probably either continue using the Zune client with WP7.5 or the new desktop client for WP8. Using Windows Explorer would be a pain for that.
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "If you're one of the precious few people who invested in Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 like I did, Windows Phone 8 is going to feel pretty lackluster initially, if not even capable of engendering a mild feeling of resentment. Windows Phone 7 was a rough draft and a product with no real future the moment it left Microsoft, and they knew it."

    Microsoft did the exact same thing to Zune HD users, otherwise known as Windows Phone 7 beta testers. Anyone who owned or followed the news about the Zune HD a couple years ago should know what I'm talking about. And lo and behold they've done it again, although the situation with the Zune HD was far more severe. And this is why I didn't get a WP7 device, and I won't be getting a WP8 device. Microsoft has proven itself time and again to screw over its customers and early adopters in the mobile market for the sake of its grand mobile development plans.

    I'm actually a little surprised Microsoft repeated this behavior twice, but now there's no doubt in my mind that it's systemic. They essentially use their customers as nothing more then beta testers, and each revision of their mobile platform is nothing more then a brief, unsupported, unadvertised stepping stone to the next thing. I'm sure not supporting or investing in a new platform saves a lot of money, initially, but eventually this kind of behavior is going to catch up with Microsoft in a big way, if it hasn't already. They're probably losing a lot of potential and once loyal customers.
  • karocage - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I'm still trying to figure out what I got screwed on as a WP7.5 user. All my apps I bought would still work and be useable on a new WP8 phone so....? They didn't give me a new free phone? This is asserted in the article multiple times without ever laying out what the tangible harm is. And neither did you here. Reply
  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    You lose out on any apps made for the WP8 APIs, obviously. Reply
  • a5cent - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Fact is that most apps simply do not require WP8 hardware. Consequentially, many new apps still target WP7 and can thus also run on WP8. No problem! I don't feel screwed at all. No developer will unnecessarily exclude potential WP7 customers without a good reason for doing so. It's economics.

    The story is no different from Windows. Almost nobody develops software explicitly for Windows 8 or even Windows 7. Even to this day, most commercial software targets the Windows XP API... in the interest of compatibility and the ability to sell to as many potential customers as possible.

    Obviously WP7 won't have a grip on the developer community for a comparable amount of time. The WP market is miniscule compared to XP and the lifespan of the majority of smartphones ends after two years. Developers targeting WP7 will disappear together with WP7's market share, or when it becomes irrelevant compared to newer versions of the OS.

    Nobody got screwed. People are just so used to thinking in terms of Android or iOS that they can't remember that other models exist that are just as viable.
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "Windows Phone 7 was a rough draft and a product with no real future the moment it left Microsoft, and they knew it."

    This is the problem, and for anyone who's followed Microsoft's mobile strategy since the days of the Zune, it's painfully obvious what that strategy has been all about. The point is that Microsoft has no plans to support or develop a platform beyond the requirement of having to upgrade to a new platform. The ability to transfer apps has nothing to do with this, it's the lack of apps and lack of support. But again like I said before, the situation with WP7 is far less severe than the Zune HD, the Kin (remember that?... probably not) or many of Microsoft's other short-lived beta tests in the mobile market. But the same basic attributes haven't changed for years.

    I just went back to some older articles regarding the longevity of these past devices, to check some of my comments, and I'm amazed, absolutely floored by how applicable they still are to this current situation. Nothings really changed.

    Let me just quote a segment from a comment I made in this article:

    "another example of Microsoft playing "beta tester" with its customers. I don't know who's in charge of their mobile programs, but they've been killing off support for new products pretty often lately, and this new business model doesn't reflect well on Microsoft... it's pretty shameful of Microsoft to 'use' their customers in this way. So what happens if WP7 doesn't pan out quite as well as they're anticipating? Will they simply kill support for it a few months later in anticipation of something newer and better? Will people then justify it by saying "who would buy such a bad phone to begin with..."? The problem isn't that consumers are buying these products, it's that Microsoft is using them to achieve a powerful, robust, and popular mobile platform, no matter how many short lived non-supported iterations it takes. Supporting 'older' products and having backwards compatibility is such a burden."

    "Wow, and so it finally happens... well, unofficially. Microsoft basically killed off the Zune HD five months after its release, so this is no surprise whatsoever... It probably doesn't help that software development for the device was locked from the get go, or that Microsoft basically killed off what little development existed for the device 5 months into its release."

    You see, Microsoft has been playing catch-up in this market for years, and I don't think their behavior is going to change until they do catch-up. There's no real future for many of their new devices, no plan to support or develop them after the next iteration hits the market. Each revision of their mobile platform really is nothing more then a brief, unsupported, unadvertised stepping stone to the next thing. And its no accident, that's their strategy to get to where they're going as quickly as possible. The only casualty of this practice are their customers.
  • krutou - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Dustin's talking about how WP7.5 was sold as an 'unfinished' and 'unpolished' product. Kind of like the Windows 8's Metro UI for desktop, unfinished and unpolished for non-touchscreen users.

    "If you're a Blizzard fan you're probably used to being treated like a free beta tester, but for the rest of us, the relatively barren app ecosystem, entry level operating system, outdated hardware, and lack of support even from Microsoft undoubtedly felt disappointing."
  • ATimson - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    We get screwed by not getting the backup features added to WP8. That makes it rather hard to actually migrate to WP8 without losing everything from our WP7.5 phone. Reply
  • ericore - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Lmao. Microsoft never learns.

    The reason that Windows 8, and Windows 8 Phone are both failures
    -lack of Freedom and Openness

    This is why Microsoft XP was a success because it was Open and Stable.
    And this is why XP will continue to occupy much market share.
    And this is why some of the more savvy users use Linux.

    I.e., Forced metro interface on Windows 8. What right do you have to tell users how to use their computers; none.
    I.e., Lack of Flash Player support on Windows Phone 8; because they can't admit or respect Flash Players' success.

    The big two for me is the relatively poor app ecosystem and lack of flash player support.
    Flash player should be included, and Microsoft should give devs a platform life expectancy, say 4 years, with a tool to port apps to the new OS thereafter. Otherwise, I myself would not want to create a Windows 8 Phone app. They're probably already pissed off at the rapid transition between 7, 7.5 and 8, and Windows Phone 8 low market share etc.

    To me the most appealing Phone OS is Ubuntu Phone OS.
  • JKflipflop98 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Now, did you pull this out of your ass all by yourself, or did you have a friend help you? I mean, I've seen people make up some stupid crap in their blind rage over Win8 - but this by and large takes the prize. Reply
  • BabelHuber - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Do you have any arguments, or are you only capable of insulting other people?

    ericore exactly nailed the problem:

    iOS is a wallet garden, but has a huge App selection and is easy to use.

    Android is often more complex to use, but provides much more flexibility (e.g. File Browser, multiple Internet Browser engines, sideloading of Apps supported by default, rooting, Custom ROMS, App Launchers (even WP-like ones!) etcetc.).

    So where does WP fit in here? What are the advantages of WP?

    I have already recommended iPhones to people who are not tech-savy, even though I personally prefer Android for my needs.

    But why should I recommend WP to anybody? Because the UI has tiles instead of icons?

    Hence WP is too little, too late.

    And this is the reason why WP still resides in the low single digits market share-wise more than two years after launch. As simple as that.
  • JPDVM2014 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    WP fits in between. I think it is a good combination of iOS and Android. It is stable(and closed) like iOS, however, it has a more interesting and usable interface like Android. It may not be better than either one in your opinion, but there is always room for choice. I like WP for the exact reason that it has tiles instead of icons. They are way more useful than any iOS app icon. iOS would be perfect, if it had a completely different interface. Android, on the other hand, is too much. I had all that ROM cooking and what not "fun" in my windows mobile days. Now, I just want something that works. WP is it, for me.

    As a side note, I also recommend non tech-savvy people to the iPhone. I have no illusions about WP. It just is easier than explaining that with WP, there may be times when you don't have the new "hot" app.
  • maximumGPU - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "because they can't admit or respect Flash Players' success."

  • JPDVM2014 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    "Lack of Flash Player support on Windows Phone 8; because they can't admit or respect Flash Players' success."

    Flash player on mobile is dead...learn your facts before you post a rant. Why would MS support something that isn't even going to be supported by its own company?

    And the forced Metro interface is easily fixed by an app that costs a few dollars. Granted, it should be an option within the OS itself, but it is hardly worth all the whining. Even without the app, it takes literally 1 second to switch out of the Metro interface, and there is little to no reason to go back into it until a restart.

    I do agree about Ubuntu OS being appealing, if it ever makes it to market.
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Flash Player is also a security nightmare; I'd love to see it die everywhere. Reply
  • krutou - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    But how are we going to watch our cat videos on YouTube without Flash? Reply
  • ericore - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Flash Player dominates the web. That isn't changing anything soon. It will take at least 5 years for HTML5 to become the defacto if in fact it ever does. Flash Player is no longer supported on the mobile front, that doesn't mean that its dead or that Microsoft can't integrate the last version into their handset and god forbid acknowledge that 50% of websites use it. They are lazy (will take any excuse) and disrespectful. Flash Player was a security nightmare; that is no longer relevant with the frequent updates.

    Your outdated dinosaur.
  • techguy378 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I don't know why anyone would use WP 8. I recently bought a Nokia Lumina 920 phone. It's a great phone, but it can't connect to wifi networks that use WPA2+AES encryption which is what most home wifi networks use. Not good when AT&T isn't offering unlimited data. In my case it kept saying the password was wrong. I tried copying the password from my router's setup page into a text file and uploaded it onto my skydrive. Then back on my phone I copied and pasted that password into the wifi password field. The Nokia phone STILL said it was the wrong password. The phone connected to open wifi networks without a problem. I ended up returning the phone and getting a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. I'll probably need an extended battery, but at least it works. Reply
  • Faragondk - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I use my Lumia 920 on a WPA2+AES encrypted wireless network every day, without any problems. Reply
  • RevLuck - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Same here, I've used my L920 with plenty of WPA2+AES wifis and no problems yet. Problem was either with the particular wifi router or PEBKAC. Reply
  • frostyfiredude - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Let me third that, on the 8X. Actually it's had the most straight forward set-up of that connection I've experienced yet. Reply
  • rcarroll05 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I'll 4th that. My wife loves her Nokia 920 and I'm really close to trading my iPhone 4 in on one too.. Just waiting for a few particular apps to come out. Got a good laugh about the pebkac reference. Reply
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    works fine here iwth WPA2+AES 802.11N network at my home. Reply
  • maximumGPU - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    a lot of polarised opinions about the OS here. Here's a more balanced take:

    my daily driver is a lumia 920, and my wife has a nexus 4, so i can give you a quick comparision:

    Yes, Android is more flexible, and more customisable, and arguably the superior OS, but windows DOES feel fresh and innovative, live tiles are a great, as well as the social media integration. When i think about the lag fest Android was just a few years ago i can't really critisise msft for winphone7 and 8.
    for now Android is a more polihed option, but all msft need to do is roll out updates aggressively and you can bet they'll catch up on features, while still retaining that fresh perspective.

    Was an iphone user before, and i think both OS easily outdo IOS.
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    What I want is a more or less pocket-sized computer that is also a great phone and camera. I want Win 8 on the phone to interface with my Windows desktops seamlessly. I want to run all the software I can run on my desktop on my phone, hardware being the only limit.

    If I just wanted a "phone OS", why would I choose the current Win 8 over Android? Well, there are a few reasons, but Win 8 is still mostly in the "catching-up" phase, and that's not good enough for me. I have every hope this rocket-ship is barely off the proverbial launch pad, and the end result will be more like a proverbial space station compared to the satellites of other phones, but it isn't there yet, for me.
  • mutatio - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Can you turn off the white on black awfulness that is the email and other portions of the UI? I really want to like this OS though some of the design cues are just poorly considered. I've said it before, run some white borders around those tiles and they'll look even more like traffic signs. Seriously? "eople" for contacts? There are just so many ways the design is trying way too hard to be hip. The odd thing is, I actually like the user interface in and of itself. If they could fix the awful design elements of it this would be a much more viable phone, IMO. Then again, they'd (MS) still have to get there apps up to snuff. Reply
  • maximumGPU - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    1) yes you can have black on white.
    2) it's "people", but the word is spread accross more than one page.
  • steven75 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Why would you want a main title to be spread across more than one page? Reply
  • CaedenV - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    It is a design cue to tell you that there are multiple pages without the need for a separate scroll bar or something. You will see the same behavior with backgrounds as well. Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    As someone who was stuck with 7.5 for a while, here's my questions:
    1. 7.5 supported multiple calendars under the settings for it. You're saying this is gone now?
    2. Does messaging receive properly now messages from Facebook contacts that are NOT currently using chat? 7.5 gives no notification whatsoever about that, and neither does the pinned Facebook app.
    3. Is there a way to disable the infernal search button? I've hit it accidentally so many times, and never use it.
    4. Does Nokia Drive still initially provide an incorrect distance before starting navigation? It's usually about double the distance it says it is initially.
    5. Does Skype function properly in the background? This killed 7.5 for me completely.
    6. How well does tombstoning for it work now? The experience for me has always been unpleasant, with its "resuming" and not being exactly where I left it.
    7. Back button confusion. Did they address how the back button you usually have no idea where it will take you?
    8. I haven't used Nokia Drive in a little bit, but do they give you multiple route options yet?
    9. Toast notifications. If its gone, is there any way to see what it actually was?
    10. Will tapping on the Live Tile launch a new instance of the program still, or can it be customized so that if it's in the recent, it'll go to where you left it? This is an easy source of frustration for me, since it has to reload everything.
  • banvetor - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Ha, as an WP7 user myself, you got some good questions there...

    I was also confused with what the author said regarding #1, but to be honest I'm betting the author got confused instead of MS removing this. Note to the author: to synch multiple Google calendars, you need to enable this in Google Mobile Setup (or something like this, don't remember the exact name).

    Regarding #4, I need to defend Nokia here a little bit: my TomTom GPS does the same thing; it is just because, before calculating the route, it shows you the direct line distance to the destination... the alternative would be simply to not show anything.

    #5 is also what bothers me the most with WP7... You'd have imagined that after MS bought Skype, they could give them special access to OS APIs and let Skype do a proper app... which leads to my final and most important point:

    Since MS completely changed the APIs with WP8, neither will Skype nor anybody else develop anything substantial for WP7 anymore... we're stuck with what we have! Given the compatibility track record between Android and WP, I think you all can guess what my next smartphone will be...
  • CaedenV - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    1) you can toggle different calendars on and off, but they all show up on a single unified calendar. Personally I like it this way, but many want to have separate calendars which display different things simultaneously.
    2) FB chat works where if nobody is there to receive the message then it simply shows up the next time they log in. My wife got frustrated because I don't use FB chat on my phone, but FB chat is always on on my PC, which means she would send me a FB message thinking I recieved it, but unless I am next to my PC then I would not get it. I changed it so she just sends me SMS messages now, and we have not had a problem.
    3) nope. "Your not holding it right" lol. Seriously, this is not a WP problem. I have had the same issue with Android.
    4) Never seen that problem. Only complaints about Nokia drive is that there is no traffic info (though I understand the infastructure is there to add it in the future), and it kills battery very quickly (which is just a GPS thing).
    5) Skype seems to work just fine for me, but video chat is another thing which will destroy your battery life very quickly.
    6) It depends on the app, and if the program is set in standby, or if it is closed. If you still have ram available, and the program is written correctly, then it works very well. If you run out of ram, then the OS will close the program and the next time you open it is just like opening it fresh.
    7) Maybe? I have never been terribly confused by it personally. If you open a program, navagate about in it, and then back out then it will back through the app's menus first, and then close out to the start screen. Lets say you are multitasking between apps like contacts, to nokia maps, to nokia drive. Then back will take you go back to nokia maps at the point where you jumped to it (which may or may not be the root menu of the app), and then back to contacts at whatever point took you to nokia maps to begin with (which again, may or may not be the root menu of the app). Think of it more like the back button on a browser where it is a history of what you have seen, it is not like a back button on a file browser where it is specific to whatever program you happen to be in at the moment.
    8) Not that I know of, but if you have an idea of the route you want to take it is a lot faster at recalculating than my Garmin ever was.
    9) Nope, it is just gone. I would love to see a notification history for both the WP8 as well as win8.
    10) It depends on ram usage. If the program is already open and in ram then it will pick up where you last were and the tile acts as a program switcher. If the program has been closed (by the system to free up resources, or by the user by backing out of the program) then the tile acts as an app launcher and will open a fresh instance.
  • augustofretes - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    It seems like you're being overly positive regarding WP. While its indeed a beautiful operating system it lacks features all around, and you severely underestimate the importance of the ecosystem, for example, I live in Mexico and there're thousands of apps designed specifically for this area, I can find every single one of them on iOS or Android, but none on WP, I couldn't recommend anyone WP8 until it has a decent ecosystem.

    Multitasking is weak, the ecosystem is weak, the email experience is weak, the calendar experience is weak. the gaming experience is pathetic, it's not a flexible platform at all, etc.

    Maybe in the future WP8 will be more than just a pretty face, but for the time being looking good won't be enough, Android post-4.0 looks very good (arguably better in most places), iOS looks sometimes great sometimes awful, but both are much stronger offerings.
  • SilthDraeth - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I am not sure if it is just Android, or if it is a Samsung skin that allows me to organize my Apps. However, I organize them via an Alphabetical list, instead of tiles that are sorted randomly, or alphabetically. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Wow. This is the first time in ... what, 7? 8 years? ... since I read AnandTech, that I am disappointed about a review.
    I mean, what is this? Really? "A bit more editorial?" Is this a polite way to say that "objectivity" stays out of the door?
    Come on: the whole idea of a smartphone is to be able to use whatever app will increase its usefulness, productivity, or fun.
    If you need a phone to make phone calls and update Facebook you don't need a "smart"phone, or at least not one that sets you back $450!
    Yes, the lackluster app store is a chicken and egg problem: if you don't buy a phone devs won't have incentives to develop apps and it'll never work.
    But has anyone looked at the Windows Phone store? Top photo app "Photofunia"? Seriously?
    Top free game: "Ragdoll run"?
    Come on, I have tons of fun free games from my kids on my Android to keep them entertained when we travel. I have several books to read on the go (I prefer a larger phone than having to bring a phone and a tablet ... but that's just me).

    Personally, I would love to see some key benefit of using Windows' platform (screen expansion, live VNC, remote execution, ...), but rather than leveraging on existing Windows desktop ecosystem, Microsoft has created a the Windows Phone platform from scratch, and what's worse, is that it is showing it down the desktop as well, killing what it had already going.
  • JPDVM2014 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    So, you are saying that since the top free apps in two categories are something you don't think are fun or worthwhile, that this review is disappointing? Also, I believe that "editorial" does mean a certain amount of objectivity goes away. It is a personal opinion after all. I use a WP, and have tons of free games, and books to read on the go, so it must be just as good as android, right? Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    No, I am not. I didn't want to bother listing all the top free apps on every single category, but I mentioned two that go a long way in Android and iOS in terms of popularity (Instagram? CameraZoon? PaperPhoto?).
    Instagram is a (was a?) booming social app for crying out loud.
    But again, I only wanted to say that the apps market is a deserted land, IMHO.
    That doesn't mean that someone can't find what is looking for but still, that does not change the fact that the offer/quality is abysmal compared to Andoid and iOS.
    For me this is an enormous deal.
    The article didn't even mention that Google went as far as negating WP support for most of his Apps, at least for now.
    I don't know you but I normally buy a phone planning to use it for 3~4 years or more: the thought of being locked into a sub-par apps market when there are two glaring alternatives seems a no brainer to me.

    Which goes back to my comment: I am sure there are plenty of people that prefer to use their smartphone more like a "dumb phone". Snap shome photo, call people and that's about it. Then I really don't see WP8 having any real limitations, but would it be worth the price? I say no, and that's my opinion.
  • DukeN - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I probably use Gmail and Google Maps the most out of just about any set of apps.

    How is the experience on WP8?

    (assuming the standard apps like ScoreMobile, Netflix, Kijiji, are available..)
  • s44 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Not so great, mostly because Google isn't interested in boosting WP8.

    El Goog is cutting off the Exchange connector for new devices of non-paying Gmail users this week, so you won't get push until/unless MS implements IMAP idle (probably in another OS release that requires entirely new phones)...

    As for Maps, there's no official app, and mobile IE doesn't play terribly well with the mobile site (Microsoft proprietary vs. Webkit).
  • zilexa - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Thanks for this article, very nice and pleasant to read.
    I fell in love with the Lumia 920. But its rocky release was bad.. and availability was worse. Now it's finally in stores and I tested one in the store. Way too big. I don't mind the weight, optical stabilization is actually an outcome for me so the extra weight is the price you pay.
    But overall it's huge.

    if there was a smaller version with the same high end features, would be a big hit.
    Not like the 820, it's just lacks the good looks (I even think its ugly) and has a bad resolution: screen too big for such a resolution, definitely for a 2013 phone, which it is!
  • prdola0 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I have to say it again - why does Apple very time get shiny nice photos of their products and EVERYONE else is getting these terrible, crappy pictures like the one in the articles overview and in the article? This phone looks really nice in reality. Even small tech websites have better and higher quality pictures without all that dirt and fingerprints. Why not you?

    I've been trying to be polite, but never got an answer before. But now I have to say it straight - Anandtech is BIASED.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Actually, it's a much more mundane and probably disappointing answer for you.

    Anand has the space and the equipment to take stellar photos, and he's the one that usually reviews the Apple products. I don't (though I do need to buy a new backdrop, admittedly).
  • prdola0 - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Well then it is biased. Since one vendor gets in fact better treatment, it's quite unfair for the others, even if unintended. Why not send the gear to Anand for taking pictures after you're done with the review? Reply
  • crispbp04 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I'm confused on the part talking about not supporting multiple calendars. I have multiple calendars working just fine. Facebook, Live, Exchange, and all integrate fine and I can pick and choose my calendars. Maybe it's a limitation of google calendars? It could be due to a 3rd party and not the fault of msft. Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    No multi-calendar support if you are using Google calendar. Reply
  • bman212121 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Not true. You need to open up the browser to and it will bring up a customized page that you can select which calendars you want to display on the phone. It's not very well documented so I'd guess a lot of people don't know about it. (I didn't even know until recently) There should be a help item somewhere inside the calendar to open the browser for that setting to make it much more obvious. Reply
  • Myrandex - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I am surprised about your lack of comment on one of the worse migration experiences available when going from your Venue Pro to your HTC 8x. I adopted the LG Quantum first, and migrated to a Lumia 920, and I was extremely dissapointed that no tool or utility was produced to help migrate settings and data from a WP7 device to a WP8 device. All SMS was gone, all accounts had to be recreated from scratch, and all apps that were compatible had to be redownloaded 1 at a time. Microsoft should be able to leverage their power to make this type of process smooth rather than cumbersome. My wife is keeping her old WP7 device around just to refer to SMS messages she received their that might be needed for legal purposes due to no way to get them off of there properly.

    Also comparing XBox Music to Zune (the media player app on the phone, not on PCs), there are numerous examples of short comings there. There are lots of forum posts etc. out there where people are upset with the music program, with getting album art and ID3 information incorrect.

    Syncing software has also taken a step down in my opinion. You mentioned about direct file access, which is awesome, but true synchronization is really lacking. Zune on the PC was superior to any syncing software Microsoft has released for WP8, plus now wireless sync over WiFi doesn't work anymore either.

    Oh and you mentioned Words with Friends being a terribly written is true, but that isn't exclusive to WP8. The WP7 version was like that as well, as it loves to lock up and crash devices left and right without discrimination.

    The Lumia 920 is a solid device with an amazing camera, and I am happy with the device, but Microsoft needs to keep up with innovation and updates or else I could see people not having faith in the platform given some of the blunders they have caused with 8.

    Jaosn Cook
  • rburnham - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    The big omission in this article in the handling of music and podcasts. For those of us who use our phones as media players (kind of a "Zune Phone," if you will), WP8 is lacking in those areas.

    The Zune software is to many of us the best media management software around, but the new WP8 software pales in comparison. Podcasts can only be managed directly on the phone, not via desktop software. You cannot manually add podcast feed URLs as you could in the Zune software. Apparently even playlists are not working correctly, if at all.

    The new phones are impressive, no doubt, but for me the problems I listed mean I will not be buying one until these issues are fixed. I don't know why Microsoft is suddenly against giving us some quality desktop phone management software. Or just add WP8 support to the current (and awesome) Zune software. Heck, rename the software if you want, re-skin it... whatever, just let us have the all-in-one functionality it provides.
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    When are you guys going to get your hands on a sample of a new Ubuntu phone and share some details? Ars has already done a couple articles on it... Reply
  • antef - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Other than UI preferences, the author's main complaint about Android is "fragmentation" and companies like Samsung and LG being involved in the phone's software. In that case why not just get a Nexus device? Especially since you like to be contract-free. I know you got this phone for free to review, but how much would it cost normally unsubsidized? At least 500 bucks I'm assuming? You can get a 16 GB Nexus 4 for $350. Google is the only one pushing phone prices down, the Nexus 4 is the perfect pairing with a no-contract plan. Then you get stock Android, and absolutely no hurdles if you choose to root or whatever.

    Regarding WP, I had the original Palm Pre, I know what having a 1.0 operating system is like. Lack of features everywhere you turn. This is WP's third revision since launch and I still get the same feeling with it. Just too sparse. Some of the other commenters have done a great job of pointing out the types of shortcomings that you don't realize until you use the device every day. Unfortunately MS seems to be content with this level of features right now, instead of putting more effort into crap like Xbox integration which I couldn't care less about.

    I appreciate this type of review however. Most reviews lack actual usage experience, making them mostly worthless. I can read lists of specs anywhere.
  • miahshodan - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    thanks for mentioning the resolution difference. That was actually one reason I chose the Lumia 920 when replacing my Titan (that replaced by Dell Venue Pro). The closer to square the screen gets the more screen real-estate you have for a given diagonal measurement. Also when used portrait (required to read many webpages) it makes it more usable.

    That other reason for choosing the lumia was watching the drop tests videos. HTC phone feels much better though.
  • CaedenV - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I had a hard time choosing between Android and WP, but ultimately I picked WP8 device (Lumia 920) because I don't want that much flexibility in my phone, and because I believe MS has a more clear road map for the future of all of their platforms.

    I love my PC, and all of the customization in hardware and software that it brings. It is my baby and my toy, and it will never be a finished machine. However, my phone is primarily an appliance. If I screw up my desktop it is not the end of the world, I have other PCs I can pull out and slap HDDs in and make it work again... but if I mess up my phone then I am in a whole world of hurt because I rely on it for the bulk of my communication. So simply put I chose WP BECAUSE there are less options, and if I had an android I would be far too tempted to mess with things. And to be honest WP8 has been good enough where I have not needed to mod it anyways.

    For the rest of it, the phone works 'well enough' as it is, but I feel that the features of WP8 hold more promise than the android platform. The whole move to get WP to the NT kernel, and the NextBox will also suposedly be on the NT kernel, really opens up a whole lot of potential integration of features and services across devices. And from what I am seeing being done with, office 2013/365, WP8, Windows 8/RT, and services like skydrive, Xbox games/music/etc. it would seem that they are going to integrate as much as they can as fast as they can so that when the NextBox launches then they will have a unified front across devices that will hopefully be nice and compelling, while still being open to accepting things from other services (like google).

    But there are some things I am a bit annoyed about, and which need improvement:
    Metro/Modern UI needs to be standardized more across devices. Right now you have 4 Metro UIs in the wild (xBox dashboard, WP7, WP8, and windows8/RT). I understand that WP7 UI will just go away with the 7.8 update and attrition, and the xBox dashboard on the NextBox will probably just be the windowsRT interface (or at least very similar to it), but there is some crossover I would love to see between the WP8 and windows8 interfaces:
    -Win8 needs 1/4 size tiles. Especially for older winXP programs that have low res icons, nothing looks worse than a bunch of poorly alpa-keyed programs blown up, and as most of them are not super important for me to use all the time I would love to have them there as nice small tiles that are available but out of the way.
    -WP8 needs some sort of background art similar to win8 start screen so you know how far down the screen you are. And I would love to be able to assign a picture or some artwork to that myself as I am not a huge fan of any of the stock art provided in win8 (though I like the idea).
    -WP8 needs the picture password and regular password options just like Windows 8. I need a password for my phone, but I want something with more options/characters than a 4 digit pin.
    -Themes need a sync option across devices. If I change my colors on my phone, or my lock screen, or password, or whatever on one device, then I would at least like the option for it to propagate across all of my MS devices. It already does this across my PCs, but now we need it on the phone and console.
    -WP8 tiles are mostly squares. The nice thing about squares is that they are... well square... so why on earth can we not rotate the start screen squares if the phone is being held sideways for when you are web browsing or watching videos? It just seems like a no-brainer.

    Some other features are nice, but need major improvements:
    -xbox music on my phone and PC should know what podcasts and videos I am in the middle of, and ought to work together on keeping me up to date on all devices to have the next episode available, and being able to pause on one device, and pick up where I left off on the next one. I also want to be able to use my PC as a server. If it is on my PC then I should have the option to browse, stream, or DL the media to my phone without services like Skydrive. I have my own RAID, and I have my own internet connection that is fast enough to do this without needing to pay MS to host it for me. Also, if it could read the song order on the metadata on my MP3s rather than just putting things in alphabetical order then I would be a happy camper. I understand they are trying to get me to redo all my music as WMA or whatever, but I have well over 20GB of music, and I am not about to re-rip all of that any time soon!
    -NFC payments are perhaps the coolest things ever invented, and MS Wallet is a great system that (at least on the surface) seems much more secure and reliable than Google wallet. The only problem is that it simply DOES NOT WORK YET!!! No banks support it, and no service providers have the secure sims to support it. Almost every major retailer and gas station in my area can take NFC payments, and I am seeing more and more of them all the time. They need to get this working. I can understand it not being available for launch, but I have heard nothing new about it since last summer... and that is a bit disconcerting. If they do not have it ready in 2 years when my contract is up then I will move to Android because to me this is a "must have" feature.
    -Xbox gaming. It is great that there are some 'Xbox' titles available, but I want more of them, and I want cross platform support where the same game can be on the phone, console, and PC, and different players can be on each medium and play together. I know it cannot be done with everything due to input and hardware limitations, but surely things like 'arcade' and social games have no excuse to only be available on only some platforms and not others. But it has been growing, so hopefully this will mature quickly. I am not a console gamer (though I just resurrected an old xbox360 and may try a few titles on it), but if there is a rich xbox ecosystem on the PC and phone then that will be a major consideration in 2-3 years when my kids want a console and I make my selection.
    -Smartglass is another thing that is a really neat idea. It lets you use your phone as a remote for your console, and also can give supplementary info about things on your phone without distracting what you are doing on the console itself. This needs to come to the PC! I downloaded a neat little app that lets me use my 920 as a touchpad and keyboard for my HTPC, and it is really really cool. Only problem is I don't know how secure it is, so I am not about to put it on my big systems. But this type of 'one portable device to control all' which smartglass potentially brings to the table needs to be baked into the system. It seems silly, but it is actually really really neat.

    The problem with Android? They don't have a console or desktop, and I don't need a phone AND and tablet, so in the end my Android phone would most likely just be a phone, where my WP8 phone has a lot more potential to have more interaction with my other devices.
  • Da W - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Windows phone is good. Period.
    As is Android.
    And as is iOS.

    There is no point in entering a pissing contest in the comment section of a techsite about why android is so much better and why everything Microsoft does is pure crap.
    I would suggest every Microsoft hater send me their gaming rig for free, i'll provide my adress.
  • deathgod - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    I've only read the first page of this post thus far and had to make a comment.

    Firstly, I'm tired of hearing all this talk about fragmentation issues with Android. It's really not as much of an issue as people make it out to be. Most Android phones come with either ICS or JB now. Yes ICS isn't as good as JB, but its still good. If you've never used JB, you wouldn't know what you've been missing and you'd be probably be happy with ICS. If you really wanted JB, it's really easy to install a custom rom and get it. So if you didn't buy a phone with the latest and greatest, root your phone and install it. I know not all phones have JB custom roms, but chances are if you buy one of the popular brands you'll find one.

    Secondly, you said the stock android interface is a bit too busy for you. How so? The good thing about Android is you can make it as simple or as customized as you want. I'd think the live tile interface of windows phone would be more busy. Plus there are launchers that can emulate the iphone or windows phone look if that's what you want.
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Eh many Android phones these days are sold without 4.x unfortuantely, especially in the lower end / prepaid / unlocked lower priced phones out there. Reply
  • deathgod - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    And people buying those phones won't really benefit or care about having the latest version of the OS. They just want a phone that meets their needs. That's like me buying a iPhone 3GS today and expecting it to have all the features and performance of a 5.

    Based on the sales of Android handsets the majority of people that have a problem with fragmentation are tech authors. I don't see many people buying cheap Android phones and complaining about not having JB.
  • drumhellar - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    In the article, you seem to be suggesting that WP 7.5 didn't allow you to group contacts, and that was a new feature with 8. However, that's incorrect. WP 7 does allow you to group contacts (and send messages to groups, and all the other things you can do with groups). Reply
  • Reikon - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    "but Google users will only have to sacrifice some of their apps"

    Um... how having to sacrifice all of our apps for heavy Google users? There are no Google apps on WP except useless search.
  • jeffkro - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Until I see that windows phone has the same or equivalent apps that I use all the time on my android phone I can't make the switch. I'm also really tied into the google ecosystem, drive, docs, gmail, etc but I guess I could switch to MS equivalents. Reply
  • N4g4rok - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    Out of curiosity, What apps in particular?

    The switch from Google to Skydrive is somewhat easy to manage. I don't remember how much Google Drive lets you store for free, but Skydrive will give you 7GB and a good way to create/manipulate office documents. Other than the differences is storage space and access methods (which is kind of a big deal), everything else will feel right at home.
  • whickywhickyjim - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I find it very annoying that the tiles + applications screens do not tilt. Also, live tiles should be way more customizable with colors display options. The lack of these things are just lazy. Reply
  • stanwood - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - link

    I love my 8X. Happy to have left iOS behind since I do not use Mac elsewhere. And the integration with Windows 8 is great for Music, SkyDrive, OneNote, etc. Love the custom tile placement and good multi-tasking support.

    Main complaints on phone: autofocus not as predictable (improved with recent firmware update), button placement is optimal for one-handed grip in left hand. but I like to use my right. I still hit the Search and Back buttons by accident all the time. I think Apple got this one right. One button to rule them all please.

    On the OS, the only thing I've missed is taking contact info from map search and pulling it into my contacts.
  • Bobs_Your_Uncle - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - link

    "IT" being basically whatever it is you choose to rock, or carry, or sport,,...uh...use?

    Many strongly held opinions & preferences very passionately expressed. What it ultimately comes down to is the choice YOU get to make to do your own thing.

    Thanks, Dustin, for a very well written op-ed explaining that which you appreciate in the WP8 platform while, at the same time, acknowledging & expressing appreciation for the respective strengths of all the various major platforms.

    Should someone wish to take delight in berating a given platform, taking glee in it's struggles & hoping for it's failure, that is indeed that persons privilege. It's unfortunately a very negative approach to take toward making one's way through life from day to day, but it is one's privilege none-the-less.

    I would view the failure of any platform provider with regret, as more available options usually provides very tangible benefits for all consumers, in addition to stimulating innovation through competition.

    Again, thanks to Dustin & to all of the AnandTech Anointed for providing exceptional journalistic content on the tech that touches our daily lives. And for being ethical, honest & positive in your approach.

    (If I want negative, agenda driven, duplicitous & disingenuous B.S. I'll simply turn the T.V. on to ...... oh, any number of options.)
  • sunflowerfly - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - link

    As an iPhone user that also hates iTunes simply refuse to use it. iOS works just fine from iCloud, and Apple is actively moving it further that direction with every update. I actually think a pc without iTunes, but with the iCloud Control Panel works better than a real Mac.

    Overall a great article, I am bullish on Windows phone as well. I gave my 74 year old mom a Windows Phone 7.5 on T-Mobile, and after a short learning curve she loved it. We only sold it when it was apparent that 7.5 had no future. She gets along with one of our old iPhone 4's just fine today.
  • rex251 - Thursday, January 31, 2013 - link

    I had HTC 8X for few days, couldn´t stand it any more, had some freezing screen issues, I don´t blame MS for that , but for things below I do blame MS.
    I just can´t stand simple little things get ignored from MS for three years (or more) in development of wp os.
    1) if you bundle MS Office, I would expect best possible support for native MS Office documents, not been able to open password protected word document created in PC MS Office is just not acceptable
    2) if there are three little buttons on the bottom of the phone, and one little button has symbol for search, why do you think Microsoft that I would like to use this button only for Bing search and not use it for searching my current application (like for instance contacts app, or mail app), why only Bing?????
    3) when I am in phone app, and I try search for a contact, why do you Microsoft think I am only interested in searching my recent contact list, and not all my contacts, is this so damn hard thing to understand
    4) when I see picture on tile (e.g. pictures app), I would really like to open that picture in that particular moment Microsoft, I really would, maybe live tile reminded me on my poor childhood and i didn´t saw this picture for years, why I am not able to open this particular picture Microsoft, why????
    This is enough for know MS, see you in 2 years maybe if you´ll still be around.
  • JoanSpark - Friday, February 01, 2013 - link

    just had the joy of setting up a mobile (Nokia Lumia 620) with Win phone 8.

    Coming from a Nokia N9 with Meego I got some findings..

    pro of Win 8 vs. Meego:
    - different sizes for live tiles/app buttons

    cons of Win 8 vs. Meego:
    - no clock when screen is shut off (very shitty, don't want to switch the phone on just to read the time)
    - double tapping the screen doesn't bring the lock screen up (only pressing the button does, how last century)
    - can't change the color of single live tiles nor their symbols (contact live tile is changing checker texture if sized bigger than 1x1 all the time which is disturbing)
    - phone status (reception, battery) vanish after 30 secs (I live in a fringe area, this is important)
    - closing apps and changing between them is not as convenient/intuitive as with Meego

    I also miss a setting that would allow to have 3 tiles spaced horizontally on the screen, instead of either 4 or 2. The small tiles are too close together for error free usage and the bigger tiles take up too much space.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    I used Windows Phone 7 briefly on a Nokia, and largely thought it was pretty great in a lot of ways. I'd love to give this a shot!

    Some random thoughts though:
    -These things need a way to manage installed programs from a PC. I think Windows Phone and Android you're just just redownloading (potentially huge) programs if you delete them or need to reinstall on a different device? I like Apple's CAN do that, but you can (and should) manage it from a PC.

    -The search's one of the three prominent buttons on the device, and as near as I can tell, it's next to useless. I do not understand it. When I click "search" I expect it's going to search THE DEVICE either globally or within the current program-preferably with an easy way to toggle one or the other. That's crazy obvious, only WP7.5 and 8 inexplicably just use that button to trigger Bing? I wouldn't mind optional web searches from a device search, but I'd want that listed AFTER the local content, with a way to disable it. It feels ridiculous to dedicate a prominent button to a web search...I want to do that from a web browser.

    -I'd like some easy way to control screen rotation, like in iOS...
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  • naynesh_shah - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    Does HTC 8 X Support Java ? I find without java support , mobile banking will , Train tkt etc will not work. Is there a way ? Reply
  • naynesh_shah - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    is there a way to run java applications like mobile banking , train tkt resevation etc on HTC 8 X?
    I understand that it does not support java. in that case it will be Big Mistake to BUY HTC 8 X.
    pl help at
  • znender - Thursday, March 21, 2013 - link

    I had the HTC 8X for a few weeks but ultimately sold it for an Android device instead.
    The thing that I couldn't stand was the multitasking interaction for WP8.

    If you get out of an app and onto the Home screen then tap on the app, it'll reopen the app and reload any data with the annoying loading screen. If you use the back button to access multitasking screen and select the app, the app will load but freeze for a bit before the app is useable. Not seamless at all. And it'll start showing loading data from the web.
  • Amit kumar - Tuesday, April 02, 2013 - link

    HTC 8X is surely a great phone with its smart looks. Really this is specific phone. I checked full specification of this phone this site as well. Reply

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