3 Big Problems That Make Windows Phone 8 Unfit for Business
First of all, this is not an anti-Windows Phone rant. In many ways, Windows Phone is a fantastic device. The live tiles interface is intuitive and, as some are fond of pointing out, really pretty to look at.
But pretty is one thing. Functional is another. There are several reasons why Windows Phone 8 is still a poor fit for most business users. That doesn’t mean it’s unfit for all business users. Just the bulk of them. The following three problems encapsulate a lot of what’s lacking in Microsoft’s flagship mobile device:
1. Silent notifications
If you want to set up notifications in Windows Phone 8, you’re going to be really disappointed – especially if you spend a lot of time with clients or in meetings with colleagues.
Why? Because there are no silent notifications in Windows Phone. That’s right. None. No pop-up windows. No little number at the top of your screen. Nothing. Except for an audio ringtone. It’s got that!
But silent notifications aren’t just a frill for business users. They’re a necessity.
Instead of a single, centralized spot to view new emails, texts, application updates, and voicemails at a glance, we get – you guessed it – a lot of those “pretty” live tiles to scroll through. And to see what’s new on Twitter, for instance, we actually have to scroll until we find the app. Great.
Nowadays, silent, easy-to-view notifications should be a given. Even BlackBerry had them back before anyone knew what a touchscreen was. With Microsoft so behind on what should by now be a basic element of device functionality, the company has a long way to go if it wants to capture the market share it’s presumably after.
2. Common, go-to apps
Do you use Dropbox? You do? Well, you can’t on Windows Phone 8. Unless you want to use the Web browser to view folder contents.
The fact that Windows Phone 8 still lacks support for several of the most commonly-used apps in the business universe is another big factor keeping it out of the hands of businesspeople the world over. Marketing professionals who use Facebook for outreach can’t even access the social network’s latest features in Windows Phone. The app is made by Microsoft – not Facebook – so updates don’t arrive as quickly as they would for Android and iPhone users.
3. Gmail? Think again.
One good thing about Windows Phone 8 is its tight integration with apps in the Microsoft Office ecosystem. The device was made by Microsoft, so it’s no surprise that the company’s flagship apps work brilliantly on its own device.
That’s actually a good thing for business users, especially the many thousands who are tied into MS Office apps.
So, the fact that applications in the Google Apps marketplace are a bit clunky and cumbersome on Windows Phone 8 may not sound like the end of the world. If you’re a heavy Google Apps for Business user, you’re probably not going to use Windows Phone anyway.
However, what Microsoft should take into account (and include in the next iteration of Windows Phone) is better support for Gmail – not because people use it for business, but because business users often use Gmail for personal email and would like to have one device that works well for everything. The iPhone does that. Android does that. BlackBerry does that. But Windows Phone 8? Well…
That’s not to say Gmail doesn’t work at all on Windows Phone. It does. It’s just that the app is slow to load and has a hard time processing long email threads. The overall experience just isn’t that good. Others do it better – much better.
Until Microsoft starts taking these issues seriously, Windows Phone 8 will remain a peripheral, consumer-grade mobile device. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s probably not what the company is after.
About Author: Aidan Grayson writes about business technology, mobile devices, and trends in enterprise software. He’s a tech connoisseur of sorts who gets as excited about an ssh secure file transfer client as most people do about Christmas. Don’t judge, though. He’s the guy who knows how to fix your computer.