A few years ago I wrote about my experience of changing to a Nokia (now Microsoft) Windows Phone. I was a fan of the Nokia hardware design, and was working at an ERP software company that had a partnership with Microsoft, and I didn’t want to be like the crowd (i.e. iPhone or Android), so it seemed a reasonable decision to go the Windows Phone route. I also referred to reports about smartphone market share that I thought were biased – see here.
The truth is that now I have joined the crowd, the iPhone crowd.
At my new cloud software work I had started to become frustrated that I couldn’t use my Windows phone the way my work colleagues used their iPhones. Then I dropped my Windows phone and was told in the ship that it would take weeks to repair; and I couldn’t use my older phone as it was now way out of date. In the same shopping centre was an iStore which was having a sale, so I went there and in less than 15 minutes walked out with an iPhone 4 (the newer phones were far too expensive to buy outright).
Now I marvel at the user experience of the iPhone, both for iOS and for the apps on the phone. It really surprises me that the UX is so good, and I regret not having got an iPhone sooner. In my opinion, the problem with the Windows phone UX is that it has been influenced by the history of Windows and the emphasis on business rather than consumer experience.
One aspect struck me immediately, and that is the way iOS 8.4 pushes notifications on the screen – when there’s more than one you get a list of notifications. In Windows Phone 8, notifications are like a pop-up, the most recent one supersede earlier ones. I prefer the iOS approach way more. The new Action Center tries to resolve that issue, but it didn’t impress me.
As for individual apps, there seems to be more thought put into the user experience by the app developers. The only apps that are the same on iOS as on Windows Phone are the Microsoft Office apps.
There have been a number of articles recently about Microsoft’s new strategy for mobile phones. I tend to agree with the view that Microsoft is trying too hard to make the Windows Phone experience good, for example there’s a suggestion in Time:
Windows Phone needs a better hook than a great app launcher and some clever design flourishes. It could be in the form of killer hardware that no other platform has, but more likely, it’d have to be through tighter integration with the rest of Microsoft’s ecosystem.
The truth is that having tasted the iPhone experience, I can’t see myself going back to the Windows Phone.