Monday, February 8, 2016

Not Another Windows Phone Post, But This Time, It’s Windows 10…

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I hear quite a bit of complaining about Windows 10. Everything from, “Where did they move this to?” to “It’s just different, I don’t get those tile things.” I even get the, “Why did they ever get rid of Windows XP?” pretty often. It’s a whole ton of craziness rolled up into a few masterfully written complaints about the newest version of the OS, but how much of it is founded on real claims, and how much of it is just dealing with people that are never happy? Here’s my 5 minute take on where Windows 10 is at and where it needs to be.

Number one on the list has to be the fact that Windows 10 really does work well, for the msot part. There are very few glitches that made it through the Insiders program before it was released. It’s not like the phone side of things, which before anyone starts complaining – if you don’t have a Lumia 550/950/950XL, you are still running beta software, there’s no full version of Windows 10 for Mobiles avaialble as an upgrade yet, so don’t complain too much if you are testing it via the Insiders App. On my Acer Netbook, Windows 10 works like a charm. I do have to engage the wireless adapter occasionally, and sometimes the touch pad, but other than that, unless I am clean booting the system, I haven’t had any glaring issues at all. My Venue Pro isn’t quite so lucky as it is still plagued by the ‘wireless adapter going missing’ issue that has been there since with Windows 8 update. I’m pretty sure it was there in Windows 7 as well, but I probably forgot about it since it was so long ago. My other two home PC’s work just fine on the new OS as well. Of course, my work PC is probably the biggest problem child of the bunch as I continuously get a wireless adatper error and also the display driver error. Microsoft’s stance on that is that the driver needs to be uninstalled and it will find the correct one to replace it, but when I force that change, I lose the touch feature of my HP desktop. I think I’ll put up with the failing driver a bit longer, rather than lose touch.

Moving forward, the quality of the indvidual pieces of Windows is moving forward nicely as well. The Mail App has moved from something I couldn’t stand – and couldn’t wait NOT to use – to something that I enjoy using again. I still wish they had taken more of a Windows 8 mail look, well honestly, a Windows Phone 8 mail look, but I understand the changes they made and how they work, so I’m good with it. The 800 hundred pound gorilla in the room is still the Edge browser for me. Most of the time, it works fine, but there are quite a few times that it just stops working. Clearing this or that or resetting the App seems to do the trick, but what a pain. Spartan was supposed to kill IE in performance and all I’ve seen is just a mediocre experience at best. When it works correctly though, Edge is pretty snappy, again, that’s when it works correctly though.

Moving on to Groove Music, it’s a decent music player. I still find myself using the 1995 based Windows Media Player for most of my musical enjoyment due to the fact that it seems to cast easier to my Sony speaker system and that I can create playlists that will sync to my Android or Windows Phone devices. If you are all in, Groove will sync to your Windows Phone, but going to another mobile OS stinks with Groove – and no, I do not want ‘another’ music App on my phone. The social media Apps like Twitter and Facebook are also getting on board with Windows 10. Both of the major social media platforms work very well and no longer require me to open them in a browser for simple tasks. I also still love the OneDrive App. The full integration that the App offers is amazing and the fact that you can select which folders to sync – though it’s not as easy as it should be Microsoft! – is brilliant. I also like the ‘save screen shot to OneDrive’ option. That’s a lifesaver for bloggers.

Finally, the last piece of the Windows 10 puzzle, and my favorite, is Cortana. She’s still pretty darn buggy in her Android form, but what do you expect from a beta project? I know she’s not technically still in beta, but they are learning daily from what users are suffering through and fixing it pretty quickly. To me, that means she’s in beta – still. That said, I’ve tried using Google Now, and it’s OK at best. Cortana knows me, knows my computer and works very well. This is one area that makes me miss Windows Phone on a daily basis – how well the synergy worked between my desktop and mobile. Unfortunately, it seems that the Windows 10 App is making huge strides to become more powerful while the Android counterpart continues to roll features out to make it more reliable. News flash here, features sell, stability doesn’t. It’s a backwards way of thinking, but Android has NEVER worked correctly. Don’t destroy the feature set of your App because one stinking beta tester with a 3 year old Droid is saying that something didn’t work right. Get the features back in there and work on the integration between platforms. It will be all good at that point.

From all of this, where does Windows 10 sit with me? Honestly, I moved to Verizon Wireless over the Black Friday weekend and did three things that were completely uncharacteristic for me. First, I purchased a Samsung Note 5 – which violates two of my rules: it’s not an HTC device and I placed the camera as the number one feature I was looking for in my new phone. Now before I get flamed for this one, I got my Note for $176 without a contract – NEW. Yeah, that’s a tough one to beat isn’t it? The second is I went back to a bigger carrier after being on MVNO’s for the last 4 years. We’ve saved $1000’s over that perioud of time, even buying a few phones here and there. Honestly though, Verizon’s price is only a slight bit higher than what we were paying and we just don’t use enough mobile data to worry about overages and such. It was the right deal to get some really great new hardware and better coverage. Now the issue – Verizon currently has the Lumia 735 in their lineup… That’s it.

This is why Windows Phone is losing that market share. When it was at it’s best, WP had the 920/925/1020 on AT&T, the 925 on T-Mobile and the 928/Icon on Verizon. They also had a bevy of 520 verisons out on just about every GSM network in the world. They had devices available everywhere. Now, AT&T has the 950 and 640. T-Mobile has the lower end models as well. Verizon has a mid-range step child in the 735 and Sprint is still rocking that aged lower end stuff as well. World wide, people are so confused by what is new and old, it’s impossible to sell anything. This is where Windows 10 loses me… As much as I want to love it, I miss how easy and smooth Windows 7 was on my PC’s. Windows 7 was a finished product though, it was sold in a box in the store and it worked. This new, put it out and fix it later thing, isn’t my thing. I want, and expect, my PC to fire up and work – not give me continuous errors. Someone in marketing needs to be shot if they actually proposed the ‘Windows as a service” idea as something that was a good thing. For me, Windows is NOT a service and never should be. Windows is a lifeline to everything else we do. Windows runs PROGRAMS not Apps. Windows is what we use when that other stuff fails us. Windows isn’t a send it out and fix it later deal. While Windows 10 is making huge strides with every patch, correction and fix, it’s my opinion that they shouldn’t have been there to start with. I’m sure by year 3 they will have most of the kinks worked out, but until then, Windows 10 is only a mediocre success in my book.

This post was sent from my Windows 10 powered, Dell Venue 8 Pro using Open Live Writer. Yes, I used about 3/4 of the features I listed above to write this – and no, the drivers didn’t crash once while doing it.

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