By Stephen Pate – The long-awaited upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to ship within the next two weeks.
Renamed Windows 10 Mobile this is a complete rewrite of Windows for smartphones. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Windows 10 Mobile is not ready for prime time. Even on Microsoft’s new flagship Lumia 950 and 950 XL Windows 10 Mobile is a buggy and problematic operating system.
Installing the update on older and less powerful Windows phones that are successfully running Windows Phone 8.1 will likely create more problems than it solves.
Along with reports that you can read on various sites dedicated to Windows phone let me share with you my experience of running Windows 10 Mobile for the past six months.
By October 20, 2015 the situation was so desperate I wrote the article Windows 10 Phone Is Like Waiting For Godot. Godot was the man who never arrived in the absurdist play by Beckett.
At that point it did not seem likely that Microsoft was going to be able to ship a finished version of the operating system by its announced November release date.
My guess was right because when they shipped build 10586 on November 18, 2015 it was not a finished version of an operating system you could release to the public. For the next four weeks anyone who had installed 10586 was anxiously waiting for any hint of updates.
By early December 2015 I had purchased and received the first of Microsoft’s new high-end phones the LUMIA 950. shortly thereafter I received the 950 XL both of which did not have a final version of the operating system and both of which were horribly riddled with bugs and issues.
By the release of the .36 build of Windows 10 Mobile 10586 things had more or less settled down and both phones were at least working. However I decided that I was a fool to pay $800 to $900 for any phone that did not work properly. First I sent back the loan me a 950 and by the end of December had returned the 950 XL.
I don’t think anybody who bought a new Samsung Galaxy S6 or an iPhone 6s would’ve accepted the issues that I experienced with the two new Microsoft phones.
While the Nokia Lumia phones had a great reputation for their camera these new phones could not focus nor could the 950 XL stabilize the image with OIS. Both phones had battery problems and the 950 XL would get so hot that he could not keep it in your shirt pocket. I won’t go into all the little software bugs, issues, and annoyances.
I’m not sure why Windows 10 Mobile does not work smoothly on my 920 all I know is that it is not pleasant. The phone is slow, aps open and then close unexpectedly, sometimes you’ll type and wait 15, 20 or 30 seconds to see it on the screen. It’s a painful experience.
In the meantime, my wife’s employer issued her a new iPhone 6 and I had the opportunity to play with it. It works like a phone should work. It’s fast. It’s smooth. Apps open quickly. When you type something text appears on the screen as you type.
I signed up for Samsung’s Galaxy Edge Ultimate Test Drive program last week. While not a big fan of Android, that’s a pretty fantastic phone and it makes either my 920 or the 950 XL look really bad.
I am probably going to restore Windows phone 8.1 on the 920 and I’m not going to order another Windows 10 Mobile phone because I don’t have confidence that Microsoft is going to release anything remotely resembling the competition.
Does Microsoft have the capacity to fix this problem? After laying off almost all the Nokia employees who built these phones last year I doubt it.
I think the market has spoken to Microsoft that nobody believes Windows Phone is a real player in the phone business. In the past year Microsoft’s share of the market dropped in half. Unless they can pull a Hail Mary course correction with Windows 10 Mobile there is nothing to indicate 2016 will be a breakthrough year for Microsoft in the smart phone market.
Personally I don’t need the drama of waiting for Microsoft to get it right. I just need a phone that works.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network