Bittersweet love. What’s missing from WP8?

Windows Phone 8 is still pretty young OS, but already managed to get hearts of a lot of people.Its smoothness, nontrivial design and reliability are few among many pros the system have.

Despite our love, there are few lacks in the system that are quite (at least to me) painful. Let’s start counting:

Serious Stuff:

Other Storage
The dreaded Other storage is kind of temporary memory all of the applications use for their files. Even when your photos are saved to SD card, they are first saved to temporary storage and then moved to SD. When you install the game, its installation files are first sent to the storage, then installation begins and game settles down on the APP storage. Unfortunately what has been left in the ‘Other’ stays there even if unused. And it stays there as long as system decides it should. The clean up procedure starts when you run dangerously low on memory, which causes a lot of troubles – difficulties in installing bigger games, aborting recorded movie because running out of space and so on.
The only way to clean the memory is either fill it up and hope system cleans enough

(which it often does not), install app that fills the memory for you (Shrink Storage does that, but it rarely frees more than tens of MBs) or do a phone reset. That’s right, there is no way to manually clean the memory, you’re at the OS mercy.

Amazing memory handling

Anyway to help this?
As mentioned above, Shrink Storage or reset are your best bets right now. However after 3 months Microsoft informed that they are working on the fix.


Call blocking? Only in China!
For most of the users there is NO application that would let you block those annoying people calling you. Phones are able to use this functionality – the Chinese version of Lumia phones have the application to block the custom numbers installed by default, why rest of the world is left behind? It makes me very puzzled why Nokia released the app for one market and left it unreleased on the rest?

Can we do anything about it?

Want to keep track of your data usage? Lol dream on!
Windows Phone 7 has application provided by Nokia that counted approximated usage of the data plan. It is a good and simple app which I was using on my L710 for a while. Surely more advanced Windows Phone 8 has one too? Yee right.
Right now there are two applications enabling count of the data usage – one built-in into Nokia Xpress. Application is good, but forces people to use it in order to do the browsing and not everyone likes that.
Another way for WP8 is Nokia Counters – but again it is only available for few markets. And to spice it up, only to those Carriers that decided to support the app and put some effort into it actually working, and we can totally imagine all of them Carriers doing that right?

Fix? Nokia Xpress or Nokia Counters.

NFC? Ye right!
Next one on the list – no built-in application for NFC. Your phone may have newest tech nfc there is, but there’s nothing that would let you make best use of it. Lack of the app forces you to install (and often pay for) third-party app since the only official Nokia NFC app is available on only few chosen markets.
With those 3rd party apps you can program your NFCs but there is no option to make them write protected. Also, even though some applications do provide multiple information types being saved to the NFC tag, WP does not recognize that and only processes first action from nfc token, ignoring second one completely.

Again 3rd party apps like: Nfc Interactor orΒ  Nfc Launchit.

File handling
This issue is closely related to the forsaken “Other storage”. No matter what you wish to install, and how you do it, it is still going directly to the Other first.
How is that an issue you ask? Here’s and example:
Recently Gameloft released a game called Real Football 2013. On the installation page it says it requires 809MB, which is amount taken by the game when it is installed, we still have to go through the installation, and that’s something someone of weak heart might not be able to go survive. When you start downloading the game it firstly downloads 800~ MB big installation file, after that, it requires another 809MB for the game which in total is 1.6GB for the game to install… in theory.
In practice the game requires about FOUR GIGABYTES to install successfully which is a total gamekiller for phones with smaller built-in memory (like my Lumia820 with 8GB). I can only suspect that after being downloaded the game is unpacked and then installed from the unpacked files that causes it take such a huge amount of memory.

809MB? Riiight!

Is there any workaround that issue?
No, there is none. I have tried installing the game from external SD card and guess what? πŸ™‚ It seems to have copied the file from SD to Other and then start installing from there, again requiring about 4GBs of the storage, fun.


What year it is? 2000?
Yup, WP8 misses a lot of features from the past, those two I’m going to mention here are connected with lack of proper application for desktop devices, so phone itself has only 50% of the blame.
First thing – lack of possibility to send SMSs typed from the PC. I remember having my 8~ years old Nokia, you just plugged it into USB and ran Nokia Suite (or w/e it was called), it then synced calendars, contacts and stuff, but whats even better – you could type SMS from the computer, press enter, and it was then sent via USB to the phone and sent to the recipients!
Second – no syncing via wifi, something WP7 has. If I was to ever buy a wireless charging thingie I would still need to keep my usb cable near by because WP8 lacks the option to sync via wifi it is connected to.

No, at least I was unable to find any decent application that would do this.


Lesser Stuff:
Oversimplified camera application:
Default camera application is pretty dull and simplified. It lacks a lot of options Windows Phone 8 API enables, like changing shutter, manual focus and other.

Not my keyboard, but almost just as dirty πŸ™‚

Fix?ProShot, amazing (albeit bit unstable and sometimes sluggish) application delivering tons of options for your camera that you never imagined it had!

Custom button actions
You can’t change what is being ran after pushing hardware buttons – mostly notable when you would like to use a custom camera application to be available under the cam button.

Haptic Feedback
Aye, this is a little thingie, but annoying and impossible to turn off (at least on my Lumia 820), the touch buttons for “back”, “start” and “search” cause phone to shake delicately. Annoying at first, but I managed to grow used to it.

So we can see that the grass is not too green on our side of the island, especially comparing to Androids. However one must keep in mind what Microsoft promised us continous upgrades that should come in more frequently this year, and that’s where my entire hope is allocated in – that with more frequent upgrades we slowly get more and more features and WP phones will not only be pretty and fast, but also full of features.


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