Windows 10 on a PC is great. In a phone? Not too much.
Microsoft launched Windows 10 on mobile devices this fall, running a similar but refined mobile experience for the company built PC. Windows 10 Mobile is currently available in beta version.
Microsoft (MSFT, tech30) seems to have built a beautiful solution looking for a problem. “Windows 10 Mobile”, as it is called now, is customizable, colorful and intuitive. I cannot figure out which Microsoft built for.
Slate phones running Windows are good, but not great, and Microsoft has a problem of deficiency of mobile applications and known quality.
So unless you are an ironic hipster, probably only going to buy a Windows Phone if you are an ardent fan Microsoft.
But even if you ask Cortana to configure all your reminders, use Office 365 to create all your documents, spend all day in your Xbox and have a sign Satya Nadella in his bedroom, still there is not much about Windows 10 Mobile Android or the iPhone cannot do.
Otherwise, however, it does not hold. There is much you can do on your iPhone or Android you cannot do on your Windows 10 for mobile phones.
As expected Windows 10 (most PC) to run on 1 billion devices in a couple of years, Microsoft expects the number of applications grows. Until then, let’s see how the preliminary building Windows 10 mobile is emerging.
Windows 10 looks good. While translucent roof tiles hanging over a background photo of your dog or child or selfie with Steve Ballmer took a Clippers game or whatever.
You can customize the heck out of it. For example, Windows 10 allows you to choose three different sizes for application tabs. You will be presented with 50 colors to set as tiles and color system (I went with guacamole). You can even set the amount of translucency their application tiles shown with crazy granularity (57%. No, wait! 58 %!)
Tiles kinda sorta applications function as widgets, showing relevant information (application time actually shows the time instead of saying “time”), although not always get to control the information displayed.
Windows also manages sounds great. Pressing the volume buttons, controls get any song is playing (smart!) And a pull-down menu to adjust the ringer and (even smarter!) Notifications. Android is becoming a similar function in their next release.
The integration of Office and Exchange is really stellar (no surprise). Cortana is a great voice assistant with some witty jokes. And you get updates faster than most Android phones.
There are even nice touches in places that cannot wait. When the phone is turned off, for example, Windows tells you that “do not forget” and its next calendar appointment.
It looks good, smart features and customization only go so far when the phone is handcuffed by a trio of blunders of applications: missing, misapplications and strangely designed applications.
While Windows applications store is smaller than Google Play and Apple Microsoft likes to note that the vast majority of the most frequently downloaded applications are available for Windows on a phone. That’s right: Facebook (FB, tech30), Twitter (TWTR, tech30), CNN, The New York Times (NYT), ESPN, Amazon (AMZN, tech30), Candy Crush, the Weather Channel … are everything there.
But there are still some critical applications. If you use Google, you basically have no business using a Windows Phone. Unlike the recent acceptance of Google on the iPhone, Google has essentially chosen to ignore Windows Phone. No Google Maps, Google Hangouts, Gmail, Google Now, Google Drive, YouTube … you get the picture.
Snapchat is not in Windows 10 Mobile. Amazon Music and Prime Instant Video are not either. Neither are popular applications such as periscope, HBO Go, TuneIn Radio or Out of Milk. And, most importantly, the murderer CNNMoney application is not available in Windows 10 Mobile either.
The fact that Windows has an application does not mean it’s a great – or even good – experience. Application of the New York Times, for example, feels like it has not been updated in years. Twitter is very, very, very behind the times, and even with his long dead tab “Discover” and lacking in any great new highlights of the social network and search functions.
Sometimes Windows itself is responsible for poor applications. Microsoft wants all applications for users to scroll left or right for more menu options rather than providing a menu button. The provision simply does not work with some applications, including MLB At Bat, Amazon and Yelp, which all take too many blows to accomplish anything.
So Windows 10 Mobile right now is mostly about the promise – the promise that applications will eventually be added to the platform, the promise that one day you will be able to use your Windows phone as a mini PC, and the promise of a third option in a world dominated by Apple and Google.