bryan_gb: (helm)
...for varying values of "fun".

I've been lent a Nokia Lumia 820 for some software reviews I'm working on, and I must say it's a lovely piece of kit. Excellent screen, very responsive, feels great in the hand, and the Nokia mapping software is almost excellent. Windows Phone 8 is remarkably responsive and smooth too. And yet, I keep hitting niggles.

First, many of the apps seem to be stateless, so if I go back to the main screen to do something else and then re-enter the previous app, it dumps me back at the start. And I can't see how to pull up a list of recent apps like you can easily on Android, or with Alt-Tab on desktop Windows. Add in a more limited tweakability than Android, and frankly it just feels like a slightly better designed iPhone.

Then I discovered that back in January this year Google removed Google Sync access for everyone except certain categories of Google Apps users. So although I can sync my Google account and email to WinPhone, only the primary calendar comes through and not the 3 or 4 others I have linked to my account. The suggested alternative is the GCal web view, which is excellent IF you have a network connection, but about as much use as a chocolate teapot otherwise.

Seems to me that Google wants you to have two choices: dump your WinPhone for Android, or dump Google for WinLive. For many people the second route will be cheaper, albeit more work, so Google may just have shot itself in the foot out of spite.

And lastly, there's apps... Yes, there are lots in the WinPhone store, but most of the ones I use regularly are missing, for example there's no Catch Notes, no official Dropbox client, just third-party ones that are only free for the read-only versions, and no Untappd or RateBeer - do WinPhone users only drink wine?! (There is a third-party app that pulls info out of the RateBeer database, but again it is read-only.)

If any WinPhone users out there can suggest fixes for any of this, I'm all ears!

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bryan_gb

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