back to article The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Is this the moment for Windows Phone 8, the overlooked diamond in the Redmond rough, to shine? Now that Microsoft bigwigs have realised that cramming their desktop operating system into a touchscreen tablet format was unwise, to put it generously, how about scaling up the smartphone cousin to capture the exploding mobe market …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1. AMB-York Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Since when was Windows 2000 considered bad?

      1. Otto is a bear.

        There speaks a man

        Who thinks windows is the only operating system...

      2. Charles Manning

        Don't you remember?

        Microsoft told us it was bad when they released XP. That's how MS works. When they bring out a new OS they tell you the last one was crap.

        Win 8 is different. They're telling people it is crap before they bring out a proper replacement.

    2. Lionel Baden

      Win NT should come before 2000 therefore making 2000 good!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      2000 was good, ME is missing

  2. Gomez Adams

    Flagging emails?

    Unless you mean something different to what I think you mean you *can* flag up emails in the WM8 email client?

    1. Tzael

      Re: Flagging emails?

      "You can't even flag up a message in the Windows Phone email client - a remarkable omission for a platform that's pitched at enterprises."

      Yes you can, select 1 or more emails, choose the "set flag" option. Similar process for unflagging, just choose the 'clear flag' option for the selected emails. Gomez is spot on, this is basic functionality that has been in Windows Phone since its launch.

      1. Mike Taylor
        Thumb Down

        Re: Flagging emails?

        How funny - Andrew has mentioned this before now, and I've always thought - "silly omission" - but since I don't use it, I've never noticed it. But there you are: winpho 7.8, and it has flags.

  3. DuncanL

    Windows Phone+ is a poor name

    Windows on phones, tablets and other mobile devices? What could they possibly call it? If only MS had a spare trademark lying around that might be suitable...

    1. Smallbrainfield

      Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

      What, like Zune?

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

        No Bob.

    2. Buzzword

      Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

      Here's the full list of Microsoft's trademarks:

      Personally I quite like the name "Digital Anvil" for a slab-based OS.

    3. David Paul Morgan

      Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

      I think I've said this before, but what's wrong with "Windows LIVE Phone" using the LIVE interface?

      (I like my Android Widgets, thank you very much, but will be putting Win7 on my Asus 1050HE)

    4. Dazed & Confused

      Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

      I think they got rid of the wrong word when the dropped 'Metro'.

      For phones and tablet it should be Microsoft Metro - Windows is not a trendy name, and it doesn't even have windows now anyway!

      The desktop one should be Microsoft Windows, and default to the old Windows desktop. It should include Metro (2 operating systems for the price of one! ;-) ) - which normal desktop users can ignore, and touch screen desktop and laptops can switch to (or set as default) if they want a more tablet-like experience.

  4. Smallbrainfield

    Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

    The advert showing on TV at the moment sums it up, lots of swiping and arm waving in an exciting 'Minority Report'/'CSI' style and some guff about space and birds. The result of all this faffing about?

    A high score in a Star Wars themed version of Angry Birds.

    The entire advert sells the product as something you can do on your phone with a flick of your finger, instead of more arm waving than Magnus Pyke* at a rave. Let's face it, unsexy office type stuff is what Windows should do best, pretty much everything else they try is dad dancingly embarrassing. Haven't tried a Windows phone, but I'll take your word for it that they're good. Holly Willoughby likes hers at any rate.

    *one for our younger readers.

    1. Christopher Rogers

      Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

      Holly Willoughby still couldn't get me to a Windows Phone. I think James Corden ruined all the good work she did.

      I don't miss the start button but I hate the fact that Metro apps and muck and how the start screen interacts with the desktop environment is bloody painful. If they pull Win 8 back to a Win 7 position with metro taking a supporting and not a starring role, then it might be worth the money.

      1. Christopher Rogers

        Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

        "Metro apps and muck"

        Should read "Metro apps are muck".

        Don't know how I did that, but the point is the same. Metro is muck.

    2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Magnus Pyke

      Magnus Pyke was "a castaway on Desert Island Discs, where he was persuaded, with difficulty, to accept pens, ink and paper as his luxury instead of his first choice of soft crepe lavatory paper."

      Jacket -- now where did I put that bog roll?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

      I agree with you, the ad is pretty lame. I mean, come on, people in business suits jumping over the tables and doing break dance, is it for this that Win8 is supposed to help me ? Is it a business device or some sort of energizing sugary beverage ?

    4. Magnus Ramage

      Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

      I got so fed up with the name "Magnus Pyke" being thrown at me when I was at school... Especially since Magnus Magnusson, another namesake and a far more interesting role model, lived just up the road.

      (Sorry, that was completely off-topic. But some things you just have to get off your chest.)

    5. Hooksie

      Re: Metro always looked useless to me as a desktop UI.

      So, as with so many other commentards on here you're willing to denigrate something you haven't actually used? I have Windows Phone 8 on an HTC 8X and a Nokia Lumia 920 and having had several iPhones and Android phones I FAR prefer WP8. It's slick, smooth, fast, fun and it has all the apps I need.

      Oh, and just as a :p to the writer, there IS an Instagram app just not an official one, it's called Itsdagram and it was developed by the peeps at

      What phone do you use just now? A Nokia 3210? I'll bet real money it's a touch screen device.

  5. Syd

    They don't JUST need a roadmap...

    ... they need a roadmap devs will actually believe; and given MS's corporate ADHD* over the past few years this is the root of the problem.

    (* The next big thing is... Winforms... oh no, sorry, it's actually Silverlight... oh no, sorry, it's actually WPF... oh no, sorry, it's actually RT...)

    1. xyz

      Re: They don't JUST need a roadmap...

      RE...(* The next big thing is... Winforms... oh no, sorry, it's actually Silverlight... oh no, sorry, it's actually WPF... oh no, sorry, it's actually RT...)

      Yup, this has been the problem with windows and webby type stuff since about 2001. There's some bloke at MS (no names etc) who seems to think that he can save client server programmers by spinning out the same daft shit with different names. Every morning I wake up and mentally thank the MVC team from saving me from the stupid, backwards crap that MS has come up with ever since some pratt announced design time controls in Interdev.

    2. Hooksie

      Re: They don't JUST need a roadmap...

      See, now THAT ladies and gentlemen is what we call an INFORMED OPINION. Well done that man. (or woman, I'm not judging)

  6. Matt_payne666

    Ive always thought there were one too many (major) variants of Win8 - winPho8+WinRT should merge, 3 different metro apps for - as simpletons see things - the same OS is silly - screen sizes differ, but hardware specs are similar enough to support the same os on both devices, this will create a much more sensible environment for devs which will in turn help the end users, which will in turn help Microsoft...

    WinPho8 is nice - better than iOS&android? all have advantages and disadvantages, take application availability out of the equation and all three are equally as good as eachother....

    1. Def Silver badge

      Except where the apparently not so simple task of playing a whole album is involved. The music player in Windows Phone 8 can't even do that properly - assuming you think inserting gaps between each track is unacceptable. Just fixing that would mean I could finally ditch my aging iPod and just carry one device around with me.

      On the whole I like WP8, but it does have its problems. Some of them simply shouldn't exist in this day and age - doubly so from a company that isn't exactly new to the OS arena.

  7. Britt Johnston

    Windows 8 is good for something

    The initial screen warns every customer without a touch sensitive screen that Microsoft doesn't care about customers. Not enough to even give you an XP-retro option, and certainly not enough to design features to help you.

    My question for 2015 is, who can come up with a one-button solution on a USB3 stick to overwrite my outdated Win7.

    1. Hooksie

      Re: Windows 8 is good for something

      They give you an internet browser.

      And why so many people are hung up on a 13 year old OS that's literally past its sell by date is beyond me.

  8. Shonko Kid

    Will they ever learn?

    One of the key failures with Microsoft's Mobile strategy as seen in CE and WinMo was the dogged insistence on a single Look and Feel. What was good about the Win95 L&F on a PC made no sense whatsoever on a mobile device, touch screen or keypad driven. And now they are seeing the failure from the other side, what makes for a usable touch screen UI on a Tablet, is a major annoyance when it flies in the face of over 20 years of using a mouse + keyboard on the PC.

    Whilst the ideal of offering developers a single API and environment to code against is laudable, how can their product managers have not realised the simple truth that the 3 primary form factors they are targeting are used in very different ways, and need different user interfaces. Is the yes-man culture at Redmond so strong that nobody questioned the strategy that is so obviously wrong?

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Too litte too late

    Going from phone (yes, we know Andrew and the other couple of users like it) to tablets is still going to mean straddling the ARM/x86 divide that Microsoft have yet to demonstrate that they've mastered.

    One should never say never but Apple and Android now have established ecosystems of users, manufacturers and software developers in the mobile space and, by the looks of it, better toolchains for cross-architecture development.

    There is still a huge market for really lightweight Windows Pro tablets as notebook replacements: give us the chance to avoid Metro and we'll snap up 1 kg devices in droves. That market will go to the first manufacturers who realise that the x86 notebook is a dying breed.

    1. Wardy01

      Re: Too litte too late

      @Charlie Clark

      "One should never say never but Apple and Android now have established ecosystems of users, manufacturers and software developers in the mobile space and, by the looks of it, better toolchains for cross-architecture development."

      Did I just read that right ... you mention "cross architecture" and "Apple and Android" in the same sentence?

      WTF !!!!

      Microsoft appears to be the only vendor developing an OS that runs on both ARM and x86 architectures from what I've seen. Apple only have 1 set of hardware specs to work from, Microsoft simply have a basic interface on which their code sits.

      Not related to you but ...

      I love how Apple does something 10 years after Bill Gates says it will happen and everyone thinks the sun shines out its arse and Microsoft still get met with "some 20 years ago they did something shit so we hate them".

  10. lurker

    That horse is dead.

    Please desist from flogging it.

    The boat already left, and Microsoft weren't on it.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: That horse is dead.


      Honestly, who gives a crap any more? Whatever the next big thing is going to be, we know MS are going to:

      1. Suddenly realise they're years behind everyone else.

      2. Release something stupid with obvious problems that no one wants.

      3. PR avalanche - in a 'piles of dead bodies on the piste' kind of a way.

      4. GOTO 1.

      Watching MS trying to do 21st century IT is like watching marmosets trying to do tensor calculus with an old banana and a boiled egg.

    2. Mikel

      Re: That horse is dead.

      Precisely. The reason why Microsoft is not doing well in mobile as mobile takes over the world is very simple: We don't like them any more. We have seen them head progress off at the pass for 15 years, and we are ready to escape from that.

      Aside, all this fluffing isn't going to get ElReg invites to their launch events, nor emails returned. They don't like you either.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    That's not what happened...

    Now that Microsoft bigwigs have realised that cramming their desktop operating system into a touchscreen tablet format was unwise

    No they haven't. The problem was that they crammed a mobile platform onto the desktop and expected people to embrace it. You're now twisting the events around.

    This is of course not saying that this didn't happen; but that moment is already past us a long time ago. Its when Microsoft decided to dump Windows Mobile 6 and redesign the whole OS which resulted in Windows Phone 7. You know: Windows Mobile which included a start menu, making many people wonder why you'd need that if all you wanted to do was to start programs?

    I also think its important to realize that there's nothing wrong with Metro perse. The problem is that Microsoft thinks of Metro as an all-base-covering solution while it's not. I honestly enjoy and appreciate Metro on my Windows Phone 7.5 (I didn't care for the upgrade to the WP8-like environment), but I hate it when I start seeing live tiles on my PC in a place I only want to use to (quickly) get access to my programs.

    I also think the design of Metro is actually quite slick, also from a developers perspective. The sandbox model can really help to enhance security.

    But its simply not a proper design for the desktop. You can't expect people to mimic a hand swipe with a mouse cursor, because under normal circumstances a click with the right mouse button would be used.

    However, it seems the days of Microsoft "domination" are really behind us it seems. People don't blindly buy into stuff because it's new, also because they don't have to. Once Microsoft starts realizing this small issue who knows what could happen...

    I'm honestly hoping for a ground breaking Windows 9 sort of environment. I disliked Vista but loved 7. I'm sure Microsoft can pull it off again, if they really try.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      @ShelLuser: Re: That's not what happened...

      Now that Microsoft bigwigs have realised that cramming their desktop operating system into a touchscreen tablet format was unwise

      No they haven't. The problem was that they crammed a mobile platform onto the desktop and expected people to embrace it. You're now twisting the events around.

      It's not twisting the events at all. They *did* cram their desktop OS into a mobile format. Your response is more or less saying the same thing, in that I think you are saying they crammed a mobile format onto the desktop OS

  12. Jess

    Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.

    Microsoft have abandoned many non Intel platforms. And by abandoned I mean leaving the software unable to be run on a new system and the hardware unable to be upgraded. (whereas other systems usually have a progression where the same software can be used on different versions of a system, and often the devices can be upgraded to the new OS.)

    This suggestion would add Windows RT to the list.

    Who would risk this again and buy a new Microsoft tablet system?

    And I think the reason MS don't mind being in 4th place is because they are competing with iOS rather than Android. (Locked down to an app store.) They have taken down Symbian, and given most of its market share to Android.

    They earn money from Android.

    1. Paradroid

      Re: Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.

      I think this is a good point, not just about processor architecture. Their lack of focus and long-term product strategy is starting to hurt them badly. So many failures like the Zune devices and the infamous Kin, plus early WP7 adopters getting left in a near dead-end.

      Who is brave enough to be an early adopter on a Microsoft product any more? And that's a bit of a cyclic problem because with no early adopters a product can never go mainstream.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Too many abandoned non intel platforms from Microsoft.

        Zune stuffed people from both ends.

        People and companies who bought into "plays for sure" get stuffed when MS killed it to make room for Zune (they get all the money).

        Then zune never when any place. The hardware was not bad, but like Sony who had good sounding players, the whole package was lacking.

  13. mdc

    The problem...

    ... with all of this is that Microsoft launched Surface at roughly the same time as Windows 8.

    You see, Metro was never designed for tablets. I should know, I was one of the people who designed it; and I did so primarily for keyboard usage. not touchscreens. The "chromeless" design simply lends itself well to touchscreen use as well, which is why it was initially trialled as a replacement for Windows Mobile. As a non-core market, it was a pretty low-risk environment that was used to gain customer and critical feedback on the design principles.

    Unfortunately, this led to people thinking that Windows 8 was somehow WP7 ported to desktops, which couldn't be further from the truth. The goal with Metro was ALWAYS keyboard first.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The problem...

      Interesting post. I'd like to hear more about how Metro is supposed to work with keyboard and mouse.

    2. That Steve Guy

      Re: The problem...

      Designed with keyboard and mice in mind? Really?

      Is that why we have no right click, no start bar, and after years of clicking on icons we get invisible corners?

      As far as interfaces go, I'd say the "smart corners" are the worst aspect of it, The moment you hide functions away from the end user and behind an invisible button you are asking for trouble as without a visual clue to click here they will not be used.

    3. Magnus Ramage

      Re: The problem...

      This is a really interesting assertion (that Metro was designed for keyboard usage). I too would really like to see more details of the design principles, even just a blog post.

    4. Hooksie

      Re: The problem...

      Couldn't agree more; although I personally had fuck all to do with designing the thing :)

      Keyboard shortcuts and all the stuff that you, and in this case I do mean YOU added in to Windows 8 have been a revelation. I have railed and railed about how great W8 is and I just don't get how so many people don't get it. EVERYTHING I do with my computer is faster on Windows 8 and while I'm working I don't think I even see the Metro interface. All the programs I use most often are pinned to the taskbar or the desktop and if I do want to open something else I usually just hit win then the first three letters of the app and it's there. Less mouse clicks, less faffing about.

      I can, begrudgingly, understand why some people don't like to have the Metro interface foisted on them and if MS do, as is planned, unify the code bases and allow boot to desktop then I think that will be a huge boost. Please don't get rid of Metro altogether though because it's the most fun my PC has ever been.

  14. Aoyagi Aichou

    "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

    As an enraged Lumia 920 owner, I beg to differ. In fact, I have a quite long list of things I hate about the OS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

      Like what? I've got an 820 and I think it's one of the best phones that I've owned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

        " I've got an 820 and I think it's one of the best phones that I've owned."

        Then you must have owned some pretty shitty phones...

        I borrowed a 920 and it was dreadful compared to my Nexus4. The Lumia was a REALLY buggy battery hog with none of the apps I wanted..

    2. qwarty

      Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

      Less fud and more facts. What enrages you? Share some of your 'long list'.

      1. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

        "Share some of your 'long list'"

        If you wish.

        Uses cellular data when on WiFi,

        Limited settings (can't even control the annoying search button),

        No application data access management (or any way of closing some of them),

        Trying to force me to use clouds which is (for me) unacceptable (there is a workaround for this),

        Cannot install anything outside of the store,

        No file explorer (with sending files over BT) or access to the system and application files,

        No direct Outlook sync,

        No music player that can sort by folders,

        Only global volume control (plus on phone),

        Lack of any kind of patch notes,

        Can't see the amount of transfered data for the last 30 days,

        Can't uninstall things like "games" or "calculator"

        Can't download whatever I want,

        Can't send photo over BT.


        That is my "long list". More things are being added every now and then.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

          Uses cellular data when on WiFi,

          Mine doesn't.

          Limited settings (can't even control the annoying search button),

          If I want a highly configurable mobile device, I'll get a laptop, my phone is an appliance which shouldn't need ultimately granular config options. Although the search button is a little irritating.

          No application data access management (or any way of closing some of them),

          You do get told what the apps are going to access at install time, though.

          Trying to force me to use clouds which is (for me) unacceptable (there is a workaround for this),

          It's more along the lines of options, rather than workarounds

          Cannot install anything outside of the store,

          This suits me, look at the problems it's causing on Android.

          No file explorer (with sending files over BT) or access to the system and application files,

          You can browse files through Office and share them via bluetooth. Also,it's an appliance, you shouldn't be able to access the system files - Why would you want to?

          No direct Outlook sync,

          Outlook is a client, why would you sync with it? You can sync to any Internet email host or your own server.

          No music player that can sort by folders,

          Ok, but I'm unsure why you would want to do this.

          Only global volume control (plus on phone),

          There is a separate volume control for phone and bluetooth headset, enabled when the bluetooth is linked, but it's a pain.

          Lack of any kind of patch notes,


          Can't see the amount of transfered data for the last 30 days,

          I believe you can get an app for that.

          Can't uninstall things like "games" or "calculator"

          No, but it's hardly a massive issue. That said you can uninstal individual games.

          Can't download whatever I want,

          If you mean files from the Internet, I find that I can.

          Can't send photo over BT.

          Yes you can.

          1. The_Regulator

            See my reply comments separate

            Why AC??? Weaksauce

          2. AngryDeveloper
            Big Brother

            Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

            Ever get the impression these Anonymous Microsoft supporters are on the Microsoft payroll.

            Leave the spin to the politicians.

        2. jnemesh

          Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

          To be's not out of beta yet! (sorry couldnt resist!)

          But in all honesty, the OS is YEARS behind where iOS and Android are RIGHT NOW. Your list is spot on, and I am sure there are others that can be added on to it as well.

          1. The_Regulator

            Not out of beta yet and the long list...

            How many of the things listed here are deal breakers??

            I am sure there are things on all platforms that users want to change but generally they are minor.

            Separate vol controls pretty sure is coming with a future update.

            Bluetooth photo transfer even if it wasn't available is no big deal, tap and send via NFC hows that working for u iPhone 5 lovers out there? Msg, email etc etc

            Music browser by folder so artist, genre, album, song and playlists are not enough where you can search alphabetically???

            I don't need to side load apps or root my device thanks to get all the features I want. If you want this don't choose wp8 or iPhone pick up a Droid don't complain when you know this from b4 u buy it.

            My phone doesn't use data when on WiFi, check your settings there laddy sounds like you were not connected.

            You can disable cloud backup...

            So to sum up, things I agree with you on: can't control search I agree, can't separate vol controls agree. Both I put money on coming in the near future, everything else you listed as an issue is mehhh not a big deal for me. That's just my personal opinion.

            1. Aoyagi Aichou

              Re: Not out of beta yet and the long list...

              Heh, they would be deal-breakers if I didn't buy the phone in a hurry. Bad, bad decision.

              NFC transfer is nice, but rather useless when the target doesn't have it.

              Music isn't sorted by "artist", but by "album artist" tags. And how exactly does any of this help me when I want to listen to the music I have in "oldies" folder? Various artists and genres and I'll be damned if I have to create playlists for 1500-ish songs because of the OS's incompetence.

              Yep, I didn't know. I keep repeating that I expected WP8 to be at least as good as WM5.

              Maybe that cellular data idiocy is gone, it's kind of difficult to check that when there is no data counter.

              No, you can't disable cloud backup. You can, however, change the server to localhost or whatever. Not what I'd call a solution. Also this has to be done before any contacts are present on the phone.

              Not a big deal for you, reason to learn some anger management techniques for me. That goes for everything except uninstalling some of the bloatware.

              As for the AC, does it really think its post is worthy of a proper reply? Didn't think so.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not out of beta yet and the long list...

                @Aoyagi Aichou : If you want to play by folder, just create playlists, it will save you from inevitable duplication of files on your phone, but that said if you really see this as a deal breaker, don't buy WP.

                You can disable cloud backup, it's there in settings/backup.

                And as the AC, I knocked off a quick reply showing where the OP had made several mistakes about the OS.

                1. Aoyagi Aichou

                  Re: Not out of beta yet and the long list...

                  Nope, what (presumably) you did was answer with a bunch of lies, half-lies, irrelevant points and generally you are being overly apologetic over WP8.

                  What's even worse, you do it again. Exactly how is saving of "app" list, settings, text messages and photos relevant to contacts? It is not, try again. Or don't.

              2. The_Regulator

                Not out of beta yet...

                You can completely disable cloud backup, check settings.

                Creating a playlist of your oldies takes all of about 60 seconds.

                Sorting by artist is very easy, not sure where you are sourcing your mp3s but I have no issues with mine.

                Like I said, the only things missing are the phone search which I have wanted since day 1 of wp7 and the separate volume controls which to me are no brainers and should have been incorporated by now.

                Battery life for me is very good, I go a full day with moderate to heavy use without a need to charge and I just took phone w me on a cruise, with careful management I did not charge my phone for 5 days and still had juice when I got home. Granted it was turned on and off periodically but still I feel good about it.

                Major apps are arriving weekly at this point and it is just a matter of time before they address common complaints such as these, once the major apps are aligned on all platforms then we are simply talking about personal preference, if its not for you so be it but I think the majority of wp8 customers are pretty happy with the product.

                Again I disagree with the deal breakers in general as the majority of the phone purchasing public are not going to say the things you put here are a reason not to buy a wp8.

                One last thing I would like to see is a notification center under the "me tile" where I can see everything new as it happens, tweets, txts, email, fb, instagram whatever that might be, let me customize my notifications more than I can with just the lock screen apps.

                1. Aoyagi Aichou

                  Re: Not out of beta yet...

                  -Creating of an average playlist takes at least 60 seconds on a PC. I know that, because I tried this whole playlist thing to see what's so good about it. Turns out it's just that the song can be in more playlists at the same time. Not that useful for me ^^ . I see you share this philosophy with Microsoft then. "We don't care if you're used to do something differently, we will force you to do it the way we want no matter how inefficient it is". Yeah...

                  -For the last time, you cannot disable cloud "backup" of contacts unless "Email" means "contacts", which would be even more stupid.

                  -About the search button, I don't think they will actually change that...

                  -Battery life is average from my point of view (2-3 days here), but I guess I'm used to phones that don't report user's activity back to their masters. (yes, it's an assumption, but until this piece of crap OS starts showing when it's connected and how much data it transfered, I can't trust it. They're onto me, right?)

                  -"Major apps" are not what I'm interested in. Or workarounds using "apps". Not only am I interested in sending my data to yet another place, but all of these things should be on OS level. Remember Symbian S60? It has most of it.

                  -Yeah, well, I've never claimed I was the majority :P . And frankly, I couldn't care less about the majority. Hell, the majority uses Facebook.

                  -The notification thingy would be good, but again, it would need to be optional so I could get rid of it.

                  Well, we'll see how will MS deal with the whole thing in the next update. They can do three things: extend the functionalities (and by that I don't mean further social integration, I mean real functions), close the OS even more or don't change anything except few design changes. That's ascending probability, the way I see it, heh.

        3. The Original Steve

          Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

          Some of those are valid points and things that annoy me, although some have been resolved or at least are good enough to hardly warrant inclusion on a list.

          Cellular data on Wifi...? Well don't all smartphones by their nature? Network operators only allow access to some resource (say payment of apps by your mobile bill) via their own infrastructure. Download of apps, syncing emails, browsing the web, streaming media etc. all happen over Wifi when connected.

          Don't want cloud, don't use it. My mates have WP handsets and don't use Skydrive or Facebook. They don't have any accounts setup on their handset other than the mandatory Windows Live account. (Apple ID / Google account)

          There is a file explorer. Not quite the whole system but all user data is accessible via USB share.

          You can sideload applications if you want. Sideloading keys are on MS's website. We use them at my workplace for our in-house applications.

          Well yeah, there's no syncing between Outlook client and the handset directly.... but wasn't that always a bit shit? Personally I think it makes more sense to have the handset sync with the mail server, and your desktop also sync's with the server. No dicking about with clients for various mail apps (If MS did one for Outlook would you then be complaining about Thunderbird not having a client). Bit of a non-issue as you can easily setup what you WANT regardless if there is a direct sync or not. In this day and age I would suggest more people keep their email on an email server centrally (e.g. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! etc.) and therefore clients that talk using IMAP or ActiveSync to the server is the most logical step.

          If you want to know what data you've downloaded then try the Counters app from Nokia. There's dozens out there that will do what you want for free.

          Well true - you can't uninstall the calendar or calculator - but other than rooting your Droid what handset can you uninstall SYSTEM applications from? You can remove any application outside of what MS have baked into the OS, so any crap from your network provider or 3rd party guff. Compared to Android it's a breath of fresh air.

          I can download whatever I want. No idea what you mean.

          I can send photo's over Bluetooth fine.

          Rest of the points I agree with.

          1. Aoyagi Aichou

            @The Original Steve

            Thanks for a rather constructive comment :) .

            As for the cellular data, it may have been fixed, I have to check that out (somehow). But when I'm connected to a WiFi on N95, it doesn't download a byte from cellular data source. It doesn't even connect (something WP8 doesn't bother to show). I added a question mark to this point in my list :D .

            Have your friends check whether they have their contacts listed there. I bet they do.

            Accessing via USB (to the shared storage anyway) is the basic of basic, but I'm used to manage my files on phone, send them to other phones (without having to go online and use 3rd party) and delete stuff that needs to be deleted.

            I don't know what "sideload" means, but considering this word turned up with modern "smart"phones, it doesn't mean "I download an installer package with my phone and open it in the phone" like I can do on N95.

            The thing with outlooks is synchronizing local contacts and local calendar. Some people use that.

            Is there a counter that doesn't require me to give them any information? I'll check that, but I doubt it. And that still isn't exactly ideal, this is, again, a pretty basic feature.

            But calculator or that XCrap "apps" aren't really system apps, no? ^^ . But that's really the smallest issue, unless the programs run in background, which I'm unable to check.

            Try downloading anything the phone doesn't work with. "We can't download this file, because Windows Phone doesn't support this file type.". Stupid, stupid.

            Yep, turns out you can. See, I wouldn't expect the option to send over BT to disappear entirely when I turn it off and I just realized that the OS isn't as clever as S60. Oh well, my bad, that's one list entry to go.

            I still hope the OS will evolve to be more power user friendly...

            1. Hooksie

              Re: @The Original Steve

              I have to say my friend that I think you just haven't given the phone or the OS the time it deserves. You're going to have this thing for about 2 years and you've come from a completely different OS and way of doing things. It's like an experienced ZX Spectrum user trying to boot up on an Amiga and wondering why things aren't working.

              I saw your list and I'm afraid most of it is either nonsense or stuff that you can't do on any other platform hence not really valid in this discussion (though perfectly valid to you as a reason you are unhappy). I too went through some pain initially and I completely agree with you about the volume rocker, it's a complete pain in the tits having a phone on vibrate but still pumping out full volume when you try to load a game in the toilet! :)

              Yes, there are files you can't download. I found that too with a relatively simple mp3 file that I had to download on my pc and then transfer over. Not a huge problem but one that should be looked at.

              The OS needs work but then it's still better than iOS. Windows Blue should solve a lot of your problems but in the meantime may I respectfully suggest that you avail yourself of some of the tutorials online or even the Hints and Tips app that's built into the handset.

              p.s. why in the name of the wee man would you want to uninstall Games or Calendar? Games is a portal link and nothing more (a glorified folder) and calendar is kind of integral. Just wondering.

              1. Aoyagi Aichou

                @ Hooksie

                Yes, I've come from completely different OS, which coincidentally bears the name Windows. What are the odds, right?

                I'm afraid that without pointing out specific "nonsense" I have no way of defending my own arguments. However, I can assure you that most (if not all) options have been there in a mobile OS. In fact, I believe that all "smart" OSes I've ever come to contact with (except for iOS) are more flexible (and therefore have only few or none of the mentioned issues) than WP8/7... Symbian S60 / Belle, Windows Mobile 5/6, Android, Meego/Maemo... So yeah, please tell me which of the points are either nonsense or even never seen on any of the mentioned OSes.

                Downloading - not a huge problem for you, enough of a problem for me to carry an actually smart phone or a laptop with me.

                It probably needs years of work and maybe then it will be at least on a "usable" level. But I seriously doubt this kind of work. MS has clearly chosen the iOS way of totally closing things and making it pretty, "app" centric, social centric, sharing centric, who-knows-what-other-crap centric. I wanted something I could work with, personalize it to hell and know what the heck is going on with the phone. This bloody thing doesn't even bother to disclose when it's connected to the internet or how much it downloaded and no, using 3rd party "apps" for elementary things like that is a horrible, horrible solution. All tips I've seen so far were rather useless (knew the things before or they were irrelevant)

                But yeah, I'm waiting for 8.1 and after I read the release notes, install it, then I will decide whether to sell the phone to someone more tolerating or give the phone one more chance (till 8.2 that is).

                I'd want to remove games for the same reason I removed N-Gage from N95 - I don't play games. I might want to play them, but I certainly don't want to use some "XBox" thing that probably sends who knows what who knows where and doesn't have any other purpose. I can't check that, because the phone doesn't show internet connection...then I mentioned calculator, not calendar (which is actually useful as long as it keeps all its entries on the phone and doesn't send them to some cloud or wherever) and that's simply because the calculator is too basic for my tastes, no need for it to take up space in application list. Speaking of which, that thing needs search. Same with settings, which seem to have completely random sorting.

                Hmm, too long again :(

      2. Matchstick

        Re: "[WP8] is well liked by its users."

        Shall we start with the lack of choice of syncing option - if you want you google calendar to have push sync every other google option (contacts, gmail etc) has to be push enabled too.

        Secondly how about an app store that only checks for updated apps once a day on the phones own schedule ?

        If you happen not to have an active net connection when the store wants to check, tough luck.

        Individually these sorts of things aren't complicated or serious but they combine to give a REALLY strong impression of a rushed and incomplete piece of software.

        1. Aoyagi Aichou

          @ Matchstick

          I don't know who are you replying to with the syncing, so I can't really comment on that....

          Are you saying that the "app" store checks for updates at some predetermined time and doesn't bother to find out whether it's actually online or not? Hard to believe :D

  15. Neil B

    Totally agreed. I have a 620 and it's the dogs knackers. It's a beautifully designed OS.

  16. Gary Walker

    I was one of many who moaned about win8. But having actually used it for a week, while it's clunky in lots of places, I like it. I get to most things much quicker now I'm forced to search. I would like the start menu back, just to see things installed but long forgotten about. Otherwise - not bad, even on a non-touch PC.

  17. Eeeek

    Microsoft got the concept right, but the impelmentation wrong.

    Look at the trends of late... Netbooks came out to give us cheap and light laptops with a long battery life because technology progressed to the point where you don't need the high-end desktop processor to do daily tasks.

    Then tablets came out because super-cheap phone CPUs had progressed to the point where you could do most of those daily tasks but you really needed a bigger screen. These have largely replaced the netbook market.

    The laptop folks took what they learned from the netbooks and gave us full powered light and powerful laptops in the form of the ultrabook. A portable that can handle more than those daily tasks at a reasonable price.

    Newer generation high-end tablets are now trying to rival the ultrabooks for power. What they lack is an operating system that can handle the more open access needed to run the higher end, more complicated applications. This is what Microsoft tried to do.

    That next step, which we are starting to see in "convertibles" where the ultrabook gets a detachable screen, or the tablet gets an attachable keyboard is the next logical step. But... if it uses the current incarnation of phone/tablet operating systems, it will be too crippled and fail. On the other hand, if it uses the current incarnation of desktop operating systems, it will be a horrible user experience and very awkward to use (the desktop relies on the use of keyboard and mouse).

    Microsoft is trying to find that fusion of fully usable operating system and new user interface that works both for touch on a small screen and keyboard/mouse on a large screen. Nobody else has put anything like it out in the mainstream yet. They are building the future and in a few more iterations, I expect we will see something that does work for both.

    I've used Metro (or whatever it's called now) and I don't like it. I've used Android and I don't like it either. I've used Apple's iOS (and Cisco's IOS but that's not really relevant here) and it is far too restrictive. I see the first steps towards the future in it.

  18. Stephen Channell

    No, Windows 8 needs to be *more like* windows phone

    My Windows phone 7.8 has a 4in screen with room for 8 full size “live tiles”. My Windows 8 PC has 28in screen with tiles pretty much the same size as the phone. If it was more like the phone, the “tiles” could be VGA sized.. but at that scale they’d be big enough for a full display and not just a “live tile”

    .. so if W-Eight was more like WinPhone, the widows would be resizable dockable, and only “tiled” when minimised to the tilebar!

  19. Mark Allread

    As predictable as night following day

    Whenever The Register posts an article about Windows 8, Phone 8 or Metro, the comments section is filled with mongs saying they don't like it, whilst at the same time showing that they don't understand it or have massive holes in their understanding. They moan about being unable to do things that in fact, they can. They moan about missing features that are in fact, present. It's incredible.

    1. Aoyagi Aichou

      Re: As predictable as night following day

      You sound like an MS bloke. "(...)they don't understand it or have massive holes in their understanding" reminds me of Ballmer's "they don't get it".

      And I guess this whole phenomenon is a sign of a great, functional and efficient product, which is, of course, misunderstood. Right?

    2. hplasm

      Re: As predictable as night following day

      Funny, the comments seem to be mainly from mongs who say W8 is soooo much easier than older versions; ie "My old computer was too complicated for me..."

    3. Gareth Gouldstone

      Re: As predictable as night following day

      Much like articles about Apple products, then...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As predictable as night following day

      Yes, I agree, I wish you could have sensible discussions about these sort of things here. Instead, if you even so much as suggest to someone that they've said something that isn't the case is, in fact the case, you get a billion downvotes rather than a "thanks, I didn't know that."

  20. Flywheel

    Windows Update

    I'm just wondering if phone buyers will still be stuck with the horrendous cycle of Windows Updates that desktop users have to put up with? How will this fit in with expensive data plans, especially when roaming (and can't find a WiFi connection)?

    1. Hooksie

      Re: Windows Update

      Sorry dude but what the fuck has that got to do with jack shit of what the article is about? If you read, you'll see that Windows Blue (8.1) is coming around soon and that prior to that Windows Phone 8 will have GDR2 and GDR3 as incremental updates which only download over wifi.

      Hope that helps.

  21. RonWheeler

    Still fugly though

    It is still ugly and blocky with garish nasty colours. The Lumias quite appeal as GPS is important to me and I find low end Androids a sluggish mess, but the pure uglyness of the Windows offering puts me off every time I consider a (say) 620.


  22. Tom 35

    Stuid, impossible not bold

    "In response, the early strategy was a bold but simple one: encourage third-party developers to create a new library of apps using a central Metro programming interface, allowing the software to run on Windows 8-powered PC desktops, ARM tablets, x86 slabs, laptop hybrids, smartphones and more without a rewrite for each targeted device."

    Such a system would limit you to software that works on a tiny screen, low power and low RAM.

    Yes your full screen calculator phone app will work on a desktop (but suck since no one wants a full screen calculator), but are you trying to say Office should run as is on a phone? Even the crippled RT version would not be usable on a phone.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    ha ha

    one more pathetic article by the Reg.... your analysis is crap, you cannot draw those pathetically poor conclusions from what was said by MS. Your bias is so strong, you cannot see anything else. The percentage of time that I am disgusted by what you call tech journalism is rising all the time. This loser site is a waste of my time.

    1. Davidmb

      Re: ha ha

      Such a waste that you log into the forum, write a comment and post it. If you devote this much time to loser sites you must indeed be a busy person.

      The El Reg analysis is based on an historical pattern that Microsoft have tended to follow. It seemed fairly even-handed to me.

      1. Hooksie

        Re: ha ha

        He probably did that because TheReg USED to be a good tech site but slowly it has descended into madness and they do seem to have a bias against Windows 8. NO idea why. The article was actually one of the better ones believe it or not but it did categorically fail to point out the Microsoft had to publicly rebuff the FT for printing an article that has little or no relevance to the information Microsoft gave to the press. It was sensationalist claptrap that talked of U-turns and New Coke despite Microsoft simply telling people that they are listening to feedback and making appropriate changes. Unlike the great fruity one who piss on people and then people thank them for it because it's warm. Idiots.

  24. Dana W

    Now if they can just fix it so it stops being Windows!

  25. W. Anderson

    Microsoft "capture" Mobile - laughable!

    Article writer Andrew Orlowski is obviously not living in the real world as a Microsoft propagandist, like many of his compatriots at ZDNet by stating "How Microsoft can capture the mobile market - properly". Even though Microsoft has improved it's mobile smartphone marketshare from 2.x 5 it has six months ago, both Apple iOS and Android mobile OS are "ALSO GAINING" market share and together control more than 91%, according to at least two of the larger and more reputable Market Research firms.

    Does he mean by "capture" - gaining the similar dominance Microsoft controlled in the PC desktop sphere? If so, he is not only dreaming, but delusional and loony, and should be allowed to publish in any media that considers itself viable and relevant.

    Very unfortunately there is a growing awareness of the increase in Microsoft dupes who disregard any facts or reality in order to support the company propaganda mantra. This is not only sad but sick.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just make a WP mode for Windows

    Any idiot could have told Microsoft 2 years ago to put some Windows Phone compatibility/emulation software in Windows 8. If they did that, users would have a nice touch interface for tablets/convertible devices and also be able to run Windows Phone apps on their desktops/laptops in a pinch. (I know many of my iOS apps look and work better than similar software for OS X.) There is nothing inherently wrong with having a touch layer in a desktop OS as long as it's not mandatory.

    But of course the Windows division predictably decided to reinvent the wheel, making it incompatible with everything and also semi-mandatory. Pretty much the stupidest, least-efficient route they could possibly have taken. I expected no less from Microsoft personally.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is just fine for a phone, even at 5 inches. Just because some devices do 1080p doesn't mean they need to. Retina got a lot of publicity because it was a big and easily noticeable change - 4x more pixels at once. But that doesn't mean that more is always better, and that going from 720(ish)p to 1080p is necessary. It certainly wouldn't cost MS anything to support 1080p in the future, but it is hardly holding back WP8.

    What is holding it back is probably apps, lack of phablet sized phones (which is Nokia's fault, not Microsoft's) and most importantly consumer perception of Windows. A lot of people (even, or perhaps especially) Windows users don't like it and/or Microsoft, or may in the least actively seek out alternatives to see if the grass is greener on the Apple or Google side of the fence.

    Microsoft marketers seem to live in a bubble where they believe everyone who owns a Windows PC actively made the choice for Windows, and all they need to do to be successful in the mobile market is come out with products that have that familiar Windows name on them. At least the Xbox team was smart enough to not damage it by attaching the Windows brand to it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win 8 can still beat the incumbent XP fairly if MS make migration painless before they kill off XP

    I've been dual booting XP and 8 on my netbook for a while. So far XP is winning hands down because:

    - it has a *complete* set of working hardware drivers from the vendor (dedicated keys, disable tap to click, turbo), note that this is the reason I installed 8 as a dual boot to try out first instead of upgrading XP to 8.

    - I haven't found an easy way to make sure my Windows 8 user and my XP user can *both* access files created by the other, especially those of *my* documents which are regarded as "application data" (a complete set of browser and mail and calendar and chat and smartphone and music profiles and so on).

    - I haven't finished migrated everything I use so that it still works when the C: and D: drives boot as D: and C:

    - I can just start the applications I use all the time, switch between them, find other applications, update windows, and shut down, all without having to stop and think about it first.

    Apart from all that:

    - No I don't miss the metro apps at all when I run XP, why are they all trying to show me stuff I didn't even ask for, and why are they so pernickety about screen resolution?

    - Of course I appreciate but I can live without the other Windows 8 improvements (faster, leaner, safer, smoother wireless and display handling)

    - No I am not going to just start typing, not unless I can see where the characters are going and I can correct it before sending.

    - I'm not quite ready to migrate to newer application versions that don't run on XP and risk creating data that won't work on XP any more and won't easily downgrade again back to an older application version.

    My migration will ultimately happen. Windows 8 will win sooner if I buy a new machine or manage to locate individual component drivers and put enough effort into tackling the data migration, or by default later when XP goes end of life and is no longer a safe alternative.

  29. David Simpson 1

    "Windows Phone 8, Redmond's operating system for mobiles, is truly a jewel, and by contrast to Windows 8 desktop, it is well liked by its users."

    All five users of Windows Phone 8 do love it but they are only allowed crayons.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      While you're at it...

      How about these, similar, offensive generalisations...

      People who eat liquorice for pleasure are paedophiles.

      Nobody who drives an Alfa Romeo should be trusted with sharp objects.

      People who prefer Star Wars to Star Trek torture small animals in their spare time.

      Pepsi drinkers are intellectually sub-normal.

      Anyone who likes Strictly Come Dancing is a sociopathic pyromaniac.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes times have changed

    Just when they got rid of the desktop on the phone with win mob 6 et Al so the power and form factor of the latest gadgets would almost flip that thinking around and say bring the desktop (with a few slight changes such as the little Google Chrome zoom on mobile) back to the phone and not the phone to the desktop.

    Seems they went arse about face.

  31. Hooksie

    An idea wo good Microsoft already had it

    Windows Blue is, I believe, Microsoft's attempt to do what they didn't have time to do before which is to integrate the 3 code bases so that you can write an app for one that will work on the others. I do agree that RT is a bit dead in the public consciousness but I see no reason why Windows Phone 8 wouldn't work very well on smaller tablets (8" form factor and below). BUT. I want a Windows 8 tablet. I have an iPad and I can't do everything I want to do with it. Equally, I don't want an Atom powered 1366x768 screen, I want a 1080p screen (for videos, not for working on before you say anything) and just for giggles I'd rather have an attachable keyboard. So, basically, I want the Surface Pro, Asus Transformer Book, Samsung Ativ PC Pro or one of the other devices that will be coming out soon. I want to be able to work and play on the same device, not have to take both.

    Just out of interest, since so many people slag off Windows 8 for being unintuitive (it kind of is but once you get it, you get it) hands up who knew about the 4 finger swipe to change apps, four finger swipe up to see current apps and the 5 finger grab back to home on the iPad? Was that intuitive? No, you had to be told and then once you were told and got used to it you thought it made sense. Same with Windows 8.

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