The Good and Bad of the Windows Phone

Windows Phone is a smartphone operating system developed by Microsoft. Utilizing Microsoft’s patented metro-style interface, Windows Phone boasts a simple yet attractive presentation that keeps user interests at the forefront of its design.

The most distinguishable feature of a Windows Phone device is the Live Tiles pinned onto the start screen. These squares or rectangular icons aren’t just moving visual representations of apps and phone features, but are more importantly canvases through which live information can be viewed. Thanks to these automatically updating icons, users can look up weather details, read recent tweets and Facebook posts, and retrieve other tidbits of information without having to open any dedicated applications. In addition, following the release of Windows Phone 8 this year, texts and emails can also be viewed via Live Tiles.

This effortless process of sharing information with friends and family isn’t limited to incoming communication; Windows Phone devices can also handle outgoing communication just as easily with impressive out-of-the-box social media integration. For instance, on top of compiling a live feed of updates from synced social media outlets, personal posts submitted through the Windows Phone People Hub are similarly shared throughout all selected social networking accounts. In real-time, Windows Phone owners can also maintain text-based conversations with people using different communication channels like texts, Facebook Chat, and Windows Live, on a single continuous thread.

Although these and other features like Xbox Live integration, Local Scout — a tool for discovering nearby hotspots and events — and the newly added Internet Explorer 10 browser are all standout functions, Windows Phone isn’t without its drawbacks. The most glaring of which is the gaping margin of available applications in the Windows Phone marketplace compared to other major mobile operating systems. While Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android markets have over 700,000 applications respectively, Windows Phone just surpassed the 125,000 mark last October. Furthermore, although the Windows Phone 8 upgrade addressed many of the platform’s earlier shortcomings, such as low pixel density and a lack of multi-core processor support, Microsoft’s late entrance into the mobile arena has them struggling to keep up with newer smartphone standards, like reliable voice controls.

Microsoft still has some catching up to do technologically with their mobile operating system. Only time will tell if Windows Phone can ever bridge the gap between itself and the more technologically to-date competitors in the market.