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TheStreet Open House

Windows Phone 8 Review: Good, But Not Good Enough

Stocks in this article: MSFTGOOGAAPL

Software: The Drawbacks

The downsides of Windows Phone are also material, for many users.

1. The Number of Apps

Superficially, the number of apps sounds great: 120,000, including allegedly 56 out of the top 60. The problem is that it simply doesn't match my own reality. Among the 25 or so top apps that I use the most, there are sufficient holes that Windows Phone 8 just does not work for me right now. Perhaps later, but not with the missing apps.

Just to give you a flavor of what Windows Phone 8 is missing: Sirius XM (SIRI), OnStar, ChargePoint and the whole Google suite of services: Reader, Voice, Talk, etc.

Someone may argue: "But when you switch to Windows, you're supposed to get rid of all of your Google services, and use Microsoft's equivalent services instead." Yeah, good luck with that. I use Google Chrome, Drive, Reader, Voice, etc. on Apple's iOS products (iPhone, iPad, etc.) in most cases, just like they are built into everything Android.

The fundamental problem here is that with a few exceptions (OneNote, Skype), Microsoft is becoming a platform island to a greater degree than Google. Apple may be just as bad as Microsoft, but all this does is to argue for Google's multiplatform compatibility.

2. The Quality of the Apps

This one is tricky. What I mean here is that some of the Windows Phone 8 apps don't work as well as they do on Android or even iOS.

Gmail: Yes, Gmail. The email client on Windows Phone 8 is both beautiful and good, but once you go beyond the beauty, it doesn't perform any better than the Gmail client on Android/Nexus. Refresh the list? You can't pull down to refresh; you have to find/press a button.

Twitter: Again, an aesthetic beauty. Too bad it just doesn't work as well as it does on Android/Nexus. Pull down to refresh? No.

Browser: It seems like an OK browser, but it's not Chrome. Why can't I run Chrome on Windows Phone 8? I have Chrome on all of my other devices, so that I can access all open tabs from any device.

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