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7/24/2013
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Windows Phone Users Wait Impatiently For Updates

While Ballmer talks up the goal of rapid software releases, some Windows Phone 8 users tire of waiting for new features.

8 Free, Must-Have Windows 8 Apps
8 Free, Must-Have Windows 8 Apps
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With Windows Phone 8, Microsoft is surging past BlackBerry to become the third major smartphone platform.

Customers are growing impatient as they wait for new features, however; whereas Windows 8 will soon receive a substantial overhaul with Windows 8.1, an equivalent upgrade for Windows Phone 8 isn't expected to arrive until 2014.

Last weekend, a user complained in a Microsoft forum that GDR2, a relatively minor Windows Phone update that began rolling out this month, doesn't add any of the features that customers have demanded. The criticism provoked hundreds of responses and even compelled Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore to chime in.

"We're listening to you folks," he wrote, promising there is "more coming later this year, and still more after that."

[ Are there enough mobile apps to make Microsoft's smartphone worthwhile? Read Windows Phone Scores More Key Apps. ]

GDR2 enables Data Sense, which tracks data usage. It also adds FM radio support, the ability to set third-party apps as the default camera controls, and better synching between Windows Phone 8 devices and Google services.

A more substantial, Windows 8.1-like update is rumored to include a notification center and multi-tasking improvements. Similar functions will feature prominently also in Apple's iOS 7, which is slated to reach iPhone users later this year.

There have also been indications that Microsoft is readying a personal assistant app in the vein of Apple's Siri, though details have been scant.

In the meantime, Microsoft hopes that improved Nokia hardware will deter users from jumping to iOS or Android. By most accounts, the new Nokia Lumia 1020 sets a new standard in smartphone cameras. Microsoft has pushed compatibility with its Office software as one of the prime advantages of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but because neither platform can compete with iOS and Android when it comes to mobile apps, consumers have been largely indifferent to Microsoft's pitch.

The Lumia 1020's camera, though, offers a different sort of appeal. It's a potentially killer feature that mass market users might actually care about, and that no Android or iOS device can replicate.

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rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
7/26/2013 | 2:35:11 PM
re: Windows Phone Users Wait Impatiently For Updates
I'm an iPhone user but I'm ready for a new phone. Since I've moved my iPhone to a pre-pay provider, I'm hesitant to do a new two-year deal contract just to get a new smart phone. I will consider the 1020 but I'm very concerned about two things:
ONE: The 1020 is an AT&T exclusive. This crap has to stop. I can get the latest iPhone or Samsung device on any carrier. This is an absolutely HUGE disadvantage, especially if I have to do a two year contract. This kind of crap needs to stop. Customers want flexibility, not lock-in. The market has clearly spoken on this and Apple's initial AT&T deal was a one time thing because it truly redefined the market. Newsflash Balmer -- that won't work anymore and it's a huge missed opportunity to grow your platform. I know Nokia is your sock puppet so don't even try to say you don't control the OEMs.
TWO: Microsoft isn't adding features fast enough. Since you cannot force more apps to be written, Microsoft needs to make sure app support is WP8's ONLY objective disadvantage. That means it must meet or exceed ALL the features of its competitive platforms and the only way to do that is to release updates as fast as possible. As a software developer, I can appreciate the complexity and risk of rapid improvements but Microsoft's third place status is so far from the leaders, it's almost a joke. They need bring the full capabilities of the organization to this problem. Time is something they do not have. (And that goes double for tablets).
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