“My Current Frustrations with Windows Phone” by @Rigathi

The following is a conversation that I, Latiff Cherono (NairobiWP), had with fellow WinPhanEA, Kevin Gachagua Rigathi, on our Facebook page. Kevin’s owned a Lumia 900 for several months and took his time to document his frustrations with the Windows Platform. Latiff Cherono (NairobiWP) responded to his frustrations and offer solutions  for an improved user experience.

The original post can be found on the WinPhansEA Facebook page (post date January 3rd, 2013)

lumia-2

WinPhanEA and a #Lumia900 owner Kevin Gachagua Rigathi made the following post earlier today on our community stating his top frustrations with Windows Phone 7 so far. I thought it would be best to repost his concerns and answer them accordingly. I hope this will anyone else who has had similar frustrations switching over to Windows Phone.

Kevin writes:

“After owning the Lumia 900 for a month I think there are few things I should put up here for any prospective buyers. Things I wish I knew beforehand. Basically, things you should know about windows phone (7.5) before you get in;

1.            If you’re a Bluetooth dependent then keep in mind that while it has Bluetooth it doesn’t support file transfer. Go figure. It does have some of the most excellent contact transfer though”

WinPhansEA Suggestion: Nokia Lumia owners can get the Bluetooth Share app with which ” you can send and receive image and audio files between your devices.”

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD BLUETOOTH SHARE APP 

2.            You’re tied to using Zune to manage your content. While I have 16GB (about 12 usable) I can’t access any of it except through Zune. So, no, you can’t use it as a flash. Also, Zune can be a pain especially if you don’t want it as your main player. You have to load the music or video into the Zune library before you can put it into the phone, you can’t bypass it by just dragging from the folder straight to the device like with an iPod and iTunes (Which I thought was bad enough). Its personal preference but I’m not a fan of the whole concept”

#WinPhanEA Suggestion: With WP7, Microsoft removed the ability to file access and hence the ability to use the device as Mass Storage Device. The reason for this was twofold: A. To keep the file system secure B: The SD card is formatted in a Secure way so it cannot be removed and rewritten by another device.

Instead of carrying a flash disk with me, I use the power of SkyDrive. I have 2 laptops and 2 Windows Phone devices. Using SkyDrive ensures that I have access to ALL the data that may need, wherever I may be. How do I do this?

  • I use SkyDrive on both laptops to sync my important data between both laptops and the cloud. I then use the SkyDrive Windows Phone app to allow access whatever specific data I may need at that time that I am away from my laptops. The SkyDrive app on the phone will only pull the data you want from the cloud, saving data costs.
  • An added bonus, I use Office 2013 which allows me to save my documents directly to SkyDrive, further negating the need for a flash disk. And with my data being in the cloud, I know it will never get lost or damaged (unlike a flash disk).

Using Zune as the only way to sync multimedia content to your device certainly has its pitfalls. However, it works smoothly and I personally prefer the Zune music software more than iTunes, Media Monkey and even the new Xbox Music. The one benefit of Zune is that you tell it to sync items to your phone even when it’s not connected. Then when the next time you attach you phone, these items automatically sync up.

I have been using Smartphones and PDAs from 2004. I thought that being able to drag music folders into my device offered me the best control. However, since using Zune, I have come to prefer letting the Software do the heavy lifting for me.

3.            The dialer can’t search for a contact using their number, only their name. It sounds like a small complaint but it becomes huge because of the next point”

#WinPhanEA Suggestion: Although Windows Phone doesn’t incorporate a “Smart Dialer” (where as you key in the number of the person, the contact choices get  filtered accordingly), there are several 3rd party apps that perform this function well.

RAP dialer is the best one of the lot (IMHO) plus its free. CLICK TO DOWNLOAD APP   

I have never found a need for this particular function as I have stopped bothering to remember numbers. My preferred method for calling a contact is to either to use the Voice Assist to call the person (long press the Home button then when prompted say “Call John Doe at Work), or go to the people hub and use the search function to find the person.

For this to work well, you need to ensure your contact details are well maintained. It is a pain to get all you contacts organized, but the once you do, you don’t have to worry about it ever again as the info is always synced to the cloud and kept current.

4.          9 out of 10 times, you won’t know who is calling or texting you. This is because it treats a number with a country code as separate. This means you have to save the number twice, once with the code once without, under the same contact so it can recognize it all the time. Sucks if you have a ton of contacts. Made worse when you’re trying to find out who texted you because of point 3.”

#WinPhanEA Suggestion: When I came back to Kenya, I found this slightly irritating as I was used to all contacts Phone numbers being formatted like this: (123) 456-7891. In Kenya the normal way to format number is (1234) 567-891. (This presents another problem with web browsers being able to automatically detect numbers on local websites, but that is a story for another day) Not only that but Kenyan carries include the Country code when displaying numbers.

Looking though my current contacts I have some numbers saved as +2547XXXXXXX and some as (07X) XXX-XXXX, yet as long as each number is saved to a contact, I never have any problems with WP telling who the message is from. Please check and see if you are on the latest software version (currently 7.10.8779)

5.          Your WP 7.5 device won’t get WP 8. We get WP 7.8 which looks like 8 but doesn’t have its app compatibility. Meaning all the new WP 8 apps aren’t available to you. Considering the small no. of 7.5 devices sold …don’t count on too many new apps. There’s not much incentive for developers to add to the already scanty selection of apps. Basically, Microsoft shafted us.”

WinPhanEA Suggestion: The reason current Windows Phone devices will not get WP8, is due to the complete re-writing the aging CE kernel to the newer NT kernel that Windows 8 runs on. This new kernel support multi-core processors as well as high resolution displays that the CE kernel could not.

Current WP7 devices will get the WP7.8 update which includes the new Customization Start Screen as well as several other enhancements. Now this does not mean that immediately all owners of the Lumia 900 and 800 are left with Junk phones, or that developer will stop developing applications for WP7. Quite the contrary, with 150,000 WP7 apps already in the store, developers will continue supporting WP& due to the large user base already in place.

Now, if you’ve got this far and still want the device, here are the stand-out features you may not have heard of.

1.            Nokia Drive. This app is brilliant when getting to places you’ve never been. It’s accurate and the most helpful GPS direction app I’ve ever used on any platform.

2.            The voice commands work magnificently. Anyone who has used voice commands knows they’re usually just tolerable at best

3.            The Bing app allows you to search for music and QR codes as well very easily crushing the need for other apps. Does it well too

4.            The Lumia 900 can take punishment. Seriously. My kid cousin has dropped this thing so many times…but it lives and not a scratch on it.

5.            Most of what intrigued you about windows phone is mostly true if your account for some exaggeration. The first half may sound like hating but its info you should keep in mind. Its stuff that’s hard to ignore”

#WinPhanEA Suggestions: I don’t have anything to add to these last comments, but just to say they are all spot on.  🙂

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