Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why I decided NOT to buy Windows Phone

Recently my old HD2 (running Android) died and I decided to go for a Windows Phone 8 device. I thought it would be a nice change. Since I like experimenting and love having as much control over my own device as possible, I went to I always do so in order to check out, how my device of choice handle custom ROMs and other updates. To my surprise it turned out, the device does not support custom ROMs. At this point no Windows Phone 8 device does! So the decision was obvious and now I'm a proud owner of Samsung Galaxy S4, rooted and tuned to my liking in its first 24 hours.

I don't understand Microsoft's logic here. Here are the facts as I see them, both good and bad:

  • Windows Phone as an OS is good. Lags about an year behind iOS and Android but is catching up.
  • Devices are good. Again lag about an year, year and a half behind. Kind of catching up at least with Apple in terms of some hardware. At this point only one device (Nokia Lumia 1020) with its 41MP camera has competitive edge in hardware.
  • Visual Studio IDE, the tool for building apps is on par with Xcode and Eclipse ADT. (I also tried Android Studio. It's too early to mention it here)
  • Windows Phone and its devices are not a market leader. In fact they are not even close to being such.
  • The above results in many developer not considering Windows Phone as a primary target. This leads to chicken and egg problems. Not enough apps, because there are not enough users, because there are not enough apps.

What does all this have to do with no custom ROM support? Everything! Yes, I know. People like me willing to play with their phones, build and try custom ROMs and other great stuff are minority. We are not marketing target and should not be. However we are the ones who show how cool a phone can be. People like me inspire others to use this or that product. We explore and find new ways to show the real potential behind a device.

Dear Microsoft,

Why would you lock your devices when all you need at this point are early adopters to help you Crossing the Chasm? If you don't believe me look at the Xbox ONE DRM reactions. Please fix this! It would be nice to have another good mobile OS to play around for the years to come.

Best Regards,