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Seen a Nokia Windows Phone Lately?

Every experienced reviewer knows about this app deficit. I don't know of a single tech journalist -- who isn't a dedicated Windows Phone site specialist -- who uses a Windows Phone as a primary phone for any more than a few days or weeks, at the most. They all go back to iOS and Android.

Then there are the little things that also turn out to be not as little. I'll just mention two here:

First, notifications. Windows Phone doesn't really have notifications in the same way Android, iOS or even BlackBerry does. Microsoft knows this, and has promised something new in the nondescript future.

Second, how about a decent address book?

When you buy a car, no matter how fancy it is, there are two things that every consumer is unwilling to compromise: Starting and stopping. The car has to start -- all the time -- and the brakes have to work -- all the time. There is no tolerance for compromise on those two fronts.

Windows Phone also has a similarly critical shortcoming, which I can't overlook: The Windows Phone address book is bad for a number of reasons.

Here are a few:

  1. No contacts count. When you synchronize with, say Gmail, or some other online address book, your first indication whether you're doing it right is if the number is the same on both sides. In other words, if the server side says you have 18,715 contacts, and the phone says you have 18,715, that's a calming sign.

    However, if the phone -- Windows Phone -- doesn't give you any number, you are wondering if everything is OK. In my case, synchronizing with some online address books, I sample a few entries and they're not there. So, something is wrong. This is unacceptable.

    You have the same problem if you use Outlook.com as your cloud service. It doesn't give you a number for your contact list either. It also doesn't seem to accurately synchronize with Gmail's address book. Then, when you are using two address books, neither of which tells you how many it's got, you're truly talking about the blind leading the blind.

  2. No "sort on company name." BlackBerry does this. I don't care about first names or last names. I want to sort on company name. It's what's relevant in my business.

  3. No "categories" support for Outlook. I've spent almost 20 years categorizing all Outlook entries, very, very carefully. You would think that a Windows Phone's address book would support Microsoft Outlook's field. But no. This is almost comical.

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