I have downloaded the preview for developers version of the new Windows Mobile 8.1 and have been playing with it for the past one week. Though it seems a ‘dot’ in the evolution of the windows mobile OS, it is actually a big leap from WP 8 (black update). There are many changes and upgrades in the new system by I will speak of 6 major updates
My review is purely from a user prospective and will give you an understanding of what you can expect from the platform compared with Android and IOS.
Action Centre is probably the most important and dearly missed feature of WP platform. This is heavily borrowed from Andriod and bring in the all important ease of operations. Now you don’t need to peep into every app tile all the time to see the information. There are short cut toggles and they are handy and neat. You can also customise what you want to see as notifications in the action centre.
Action centre is a important step forward but it lacks the fineness and style of IOS and the efficient and dynamic nature of Android. I am sure with time this feature will develop into a more all round functionality of the platform.
Though in its Beta mode, I am impressed with what I saw. IOS introduced Siri, Google Now improved it and now Cortana is taking it to the next level. It is a vastly improved version of personal assistant and it also maintains a diary as a good personal assistance does. It keeps things private unlike Google Now and is stronger than Siri. I have been using it by giving same command in different ways and it is quite accurate.
The app is well integrate and am sure with time it will get more intelligent. I am not sure why Microsoft is only launching this app in US as with my Indian accent also I did not find any problem in communicating with it. The faster it is released worldwide the better it gets with time. I quite like the way Google Now is integrated in Moto X and if something similar can be done with Cortana it will be a killer as the future is touch less interface which is beautifully conceptualised and presented in the latest movie HER.
Amongst all the three sense application the Storage and data sense will be more widely used as Wifi is not a very widely used internet connector in India. Majority people rely on cellular internet data. With storage sense you can now store apps directly to SD card. This allows you to keep your limited phone memory clutter free and hence get optimum and smooth performance from the phone. This will allow people to install heavy applications on their phones without bothering of the space. It is also good for developers as they get the flexibility to develop graphic intensive applications and games. I have installed Asphalt 8 which is a 1 gb game on my phone and it is running without a glitch. Data sense is important as in India people use cellular internet services more than Wifi and it keeps track of your usage and is accurate.
The home screen is now more dynamic with the transparent tiles as it give more personality to the phone. The live tiles in windows phones are its USP and I one have always like the way they are. In Andriod you can heavily customise the way your phone looks by installing 3rd party launchers and you do not have to rely on the stock launcher. I, IOS you already have the parallax effect with the IOS 7 and it does make the OS fun. Similarly WP with this functionality is moving towards a customer oriented UI which is fresh and intuitive. People can have three rows of tiles though useless in smaller screens it will use the canvas better in large screen phones. We all have a kid inside us which wants to play with different toys and this helps in satisfying that basic need.
According to most tech journalist, this is WP’s biggest drawback . But if you ask me I do not agree as you will get most of your app requirements fulfilled. The applications are of good quality and well screened by the company. i Store and Google play does have edge in terms of the quantity of apps but now the gap is reducing. With Microsoft now merging mobile, tablet and PC platforms you will get more apps in the future as developers will not have to make separate app for the three platforms.
The overall look and feel of the store has been refreshed and now it looks more user-friendly and app will be easier to find. Microsoft should focus to give more app (at least the basic version) free which will be important for markets like India where seldom people buy apps.
Windows Mobile 8.1 like all WP previous versions is smooth and stutter free. It is a stylish platform and is a great substitute to an era where people want more from the money they pay. IOS 7 is by far the most matured OS in the market by is not meant for the massage. Andriod performs well again with higher end devices with the exception of KitKat which is designed for low end phones also. WP 8.1 brings the smoothness of IOS to common masses. It is also a good alternative for people who are looking for a good alternative for Blackberry OS 10 for the corporate point of view.
Nokia Lumia 630, 635 & 930 will be the first three devices to officially launch the OS update in the world markets. From my experience of using the OS for about ten days now, Lumia 630 and 635 will not do justice to the full potential of the OS. I am not say that from the usability point of view as it is work fine on my 620 but from the future prospective in mind. Microsoft now have bought Nokia should focus on becoming a major player in the mobile market and showcase it is strengths. This OS need front facing camera to take full advantage of the Skype integration another acquisition of MS. The devices should have at least 1 gb RAM to give developers to launch their best apps in the market. With every passing day the OS war is intensifying and software will be the future of mobile phones and on hardware from we have hit a glass ceiling.
Over all you are going to have a ball of a time with the new OS from Microsoft. If you do not want to wait to get a taste of the OS then you can download the developer preview but there is a disclaimer that your device will be void of warranty and you cannot go back to the older OS so easily. If you wish to have Cortana on your phone then you have to choose your region as US and download the US English language pack. There are various articles as to how you can do it.
For me I am loving and till now I have go no problem it the OS. Let me know your thoughts on this article and your experince with the OS.