My Life as a Windows Phone Pariah

My Life as a Windows Phone PariahWhen it comes to my cellphone, a Windows Phone 7, I’m a man without a country. I’m fairly emotional about it and well, maybe I shouldn’t be. However, when I take a look at it from a fairly illustrated viewpoint, I start to wonder just where I rest in the battle for the best phone operating system. I know what you’re thinking and it’s probably something like “How can you take something silly like a phone and turn it into warfare?” And yeah, this is going to go deep but…

Watch me.

In this current technological climate, you have the two camps and they’re feverish and determined to gain ground against the other. They’re pitted in battle as the contenders who will break through the gates and not only destroy the other camp, but bring any supporters along with them on the death march through the cities. Every single year brings another release, another campaign, that readies the troops with their forged weapons of beta code and leaked documents that just ends up as a deep, bloodied wound that leaves puddled expectations and promises at our feet.

(Oh, I told you this was going to go deep. Stay with me.)

Then you see the camera in my brain pan away toward the most delicate little coastal island, covered in white sands and barefoot beauties as they cart vases of water from the well to their homes. It’s a quiet existence and, once in a while, a small fishing boat will make its anchor at the docks and tell the locals of the war being waged over in the cities on the mainland. While this tiny island doesn’t have the bright lights and zooming interfaces of those other cities, it does have one thing: peace. It never felt it was ever going to be a faction in the war and they were oh-so-pleased with the soft quiet of basic, day-to-day function. As this island felt, it wasn’t trying to change the world — just trying to find a place for its citizens where they were appreciated for utter simplicity. Sure, they never get support from those factions that hold onto the stalwart values and code of ethics that the Mainlanders have, but they’re at WAR! Absolute war! Who wants that?

So, that’s how I feel about being a supporter of Windows Phone 7.

About three or so years ago, you couldn’t keep a cellphone in my hands. I just didn’t care about them whatsoever. I was one of those people who could be asked for their cell number and just shrug and chuckle with a faint glint of freedom twinkling in their eyes. When I actually bought my first cellphone in years, it had no mainstream operating system at all. I could text easily and people could reach me. I started thinking that I wanted to check Facebook and Twitter, maybe even my email, and that’s when it all went downhill quickly.

I used every single operating system on the market in order to find just which one matched the kind of user I was. As a console gamer and moonlighting PC gamer, I didn’t need my phone to be my source of video games. I’m a music-loving amateur photographer who has a pretty intense relationship with social media and that, my friends, is the only thing I use my phone for. Yet, I was always hearing my buddies telling me of the new game they picked up, their latest social media app, productivity tool, or whatever else. They were using their phones as these tiny computers that they carted around in their pockets, capable of not just communication, but running their lives.

You know whose phone isn’t trying to run their life? Mine. Windows Phone 7 gets such a bad rap because it doesn’t have the kind of community and app support that iPhone and Android get, but maybe it’s because we’re not looking for it. When I went to the AT&T store to get my LG Quantum, I looked at it for the first time and I fell in love completely because here it was, a phone that finally didn’t want to be smarter than me. It wasn’t trying to be the replacement to my computer, the extra limb that I never knew I needed, or anything else that I couldn’t be without. No, my phone was simply looking up at me and saying “Live your life; I’m here if you need me,” as only a Windows Phone can. Enhance, don’t cripple.

My Life as a Windows Phone PariahI admit that the clean, fresh aesthetics are what drew me in and the fact that it wasn’t a busy mash-up of buttons, applications, and possibility. No, my phone just said to me: “Here are some colorful tiles and you can reach everything you need to get to. We have big blocks, sharp fonts, and you can sync everything up beautifully with your computer.” and I was sold. (The previews for Windows Phone 8 have me even more giddy to see how they will give me more freedom with the tile screen, like LEGO for my cellphone.) Sure, my friends would scoff at the fact that I was using something that was the most barebones OS of the smartphone market — but it did every single thing I wanted it to and it has fast become one of my favorite pieces of technology.

So why the constant battle? I never understood why people would pit their phone OS against anyone else’s but maybe it’s the same consistent battle between PC and Mac. People just want to fight, don’t they? I use my phone as a connection to the world if they need me, or a source of quiet entertainment when I’m away from my consoles — it doesn’t need to run my universe. Instead of just nodding and patting me on the back for feeling free from that kind of attachment, most would turn their nose up at my Windows Phone, say something snarky, and then shove their Android/iPhone in my face.

“But can it do THIS?”

No, you’re right. My phone wasn’t built to be a replacement to my computer. But I also take pride in the fact that I don’t have a mobile device that thinks I’m not capable of making it through a whole day without it.

Do you think you’re one of the elitists out there who will go to war, mace in hand, to defend your phone’s OS, or are you a supporter of leaving processing speed and graphical interfaces to the computers we use?

Article Written by

Mouthy with a broad vocabulary and a large imagination, I come in from a rather lengthy (7+ years) stay in video game journalism. While tech, gamer and geek culture has always been my strength, I tend to be right at home with whatever topic is thrown my way. I'm a mother, a multi-tasker and a maverick. ♥

  • mr.sour

    I completly aggree windows phones isn’t something thats trying to run your life but mearly an addon that can help you run yours.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      I think Microsoft did well with making a phone that focused on those key things a phone should do, you know? Like.. make calls? Haha.

  • Matthew Arevalo

    I enjoyed my time with the Nokia Lumia 900. I look forward to seeing where else Microsoft is going to go with their platform.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Honestly, did you see the Dark Knight Batman variation of the Lumia? Gorgeous. I would’ve loved to have had my hands on that phone.

  • Andrew

    Literally everything you say is what I have been wanting to say for so long! It might not be a well populated island, but that coastal island is just so nice to be on!

    The only problem now is that everyone else is so engrossed in playing with their phones and battling over them that they don’t have anything else to talk about. Still, at least I can get on with my life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Right, Andrew?! Let’s just stay there!

  • Bugger ALL

    Sort of pointless with Windows phone 8 coming out and MSFt changing what your phone can or more likely cant do vs Phone 8. Are they still making this windows phone 7? No way in Hades will I buy a Phone 7 now…….

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Well, the Windows Phone 8 is seriously looking fantastic — but it shouldn’t mean those WP7 units shouldn’t get any love.

    • Andrew

      No, I’ll admit now isn’t the time to buy a Windows Phone because WP8 will be released imminently and arguably there will be some great launch devices, but that doesn’t make it a great operating system already. Similarly, now is not the time to buy a new desktop/laptop/tablet, because Windows 8 will be released imminently and any sensible person would wait…doesn’t mean that WIndows 7 isn’t a great operating system…
      Existing Windows Phones will not suddenly just stop working – they’ll continue to be great companions to their owners for as long as those owners want to keep them, and they still remain the best choice for someone who just wants a smartphone that just works every time, all the time.

    • http://twitter.com/andreabarbera Andrea Barbera

      You’re right, but same situation happens on other platforms also. I mean, would you buy into an iPhone 4S with a 2 year contract right now knowning version 5 is coming out in a couple of months?

      • CarneAsadaBrito

        Awesome. Amusing how Apple somehow gets away with this in consumer minds, but WP gets burned at the steak for it, isn’t it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001455788183 Russell Sattari

    WP has the potential to be the greatest OS so far. It is simply “hassle-free”. What I like most is that I barely need to run any apps to check on something. It takes a while to get used to not opening different apps one after another to see if anything important needs to be done…. but once you get the hang of it, you start realizing how trouble and hassle free a cellphone can be. I have actually noticed that I spend less time nowadays with my cellphone… simply because it is so simple!

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Isn’t that absolutely refreshing though? I notice, when hanging with my friends, that I am always the one dealing with apps far less. Sure, I may text like a fiend, but I’m not knee-deep in my phone’s “function”. I like that.

  • Keith Barrows

    I don’t think of myself as pro-Droid or anti-iPhone or even a Windows lover. Whether it is my phone, my laptop, my tablet, my computer or even my car I want certain things. So far, I can a little bits from all 3 camps but I cannot get the complete package from any one camp.

    I think the things I want are just to far into the future to bundle now.

  • Keith Barrows

    I don’t think of myself as pro-Droid or anti-iPhone or even a Windows lover. Whether it is my phone, my laptop, my tablet, my computer or even my car I want certain things. So far, I can a little bits from all 3 camps but I cannot get the complete package from any one camp.

    I think the things I want are just to far into the future to bundle now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      See, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being choosy. Not everyone needs to be entangled in one company, do they? Pick and choose, I say.

  • cvanp

    This conscientious objecting can’t last! Join the battle my friends and FIGHT!!! ;-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      I can’t even like this statement enough!

  • http://www.facebook.com/piero.montas Piero Alberto Montas Almonte

    Samsung Focus S and i love it

  • Brad C.

    I think with the new windows 8 ecosystem that is coming out on oct 26 this will bring more developers to the windows store and windows mobile app store and they will grow. The problem is that android and Apple are way ahead of the game for years so you can’t expect windows to jump in and take 30-50% of the market. It takes time but I admire your loyalty and uniqueness by staying away from the cookie cutter phones that most of us use. Just use whatever makes you happy. No war just love @facebook-100000637378270:disqus

    • Andrew

      But you see, what you don’t understand about Windows Phone is that 90% of what most people need doesn’t ever need an app – it’s all just there in the system, and there are more than enough apps to cover at least 9% of the rest.

      This obsession with numbers of apps is exactly what’s wrong with iPhone and Android…the endless competition means endless more apps doing the same thing, but a little bit worse every time…

  • http://twitter.com/DanielWEJones Daniel

    Oh how I love living on the quite elegance that is isle of Windows Phone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Isn’t it beautiful here?

      • Bill King

        Same. I personally think it’s a sign of maturity to be honest. You just want it to work, and work well. No fiddling, no convoluted hand positions. Just works. I think MS (and nokia) have outclassed apple here.

  • James

    I actually use windows phone and I really like it and then I dont… A bit of a love hate relationship I’m afraid

  • mamacita42

    Love this article. I couldn’t agree more!

  • http://maartuhh.tumblr.com/ Maarten van der Blij

    I am, like you, a very big fan of windows phone and own a Lumia 800. When my friend look at the phone and ask “Can it do this?”, I sometimes have to say no. Like you said, the other camps are very competitive and try everything to convince you that their phone is better. I kinda try to find an argument why mine is better.
    I like you idea better, though. Be at peace and go with it. No need for fighting. And windows phone is very non intrusive to your life. It’s there when you want it to, but it’s not screaming for attention.
    Very good blog post!

    • Andrew

      Usually when someone asks me “can it do this” the reply is “no, but I don’t need it to…when did you actually do that last?”

      • http://maartuhh.tumblr.com/ Maarten van der Blij

        That has been a lot time. Windows Phone has gotten all the big apps, luckily.

  • http://netsperience.org decibel_places

    Ifeel your pain, Chris ‡¡‡

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1531907810 Joseph Kinney

    Personally, I’m an iPhone guy. I try to stay out of the war though. I just like what I like and it works fine for me. My mindset is whatever helps the individual with their needs is their business. I always laugh at those people, standing on their soap box with the “Mine’s better” argument like a some whiny, fat, eighth grade bully. My answer to their argument is this: what ever OS you use (Windows Phone, iOS, Android, etc), while you’re spending all that time showing it off and putting down others, the rest of us are USING ours and getting things done.

  • PaulWharmby

    Great article. Windows Phone is the smartphone for people who don’t think they need smartphones. Microsoft and the manufacturers should make that point to the sales chain. If a customer walks in and doesn’t want to root or jailbreak their phone, 9 times out of 10 WP7 (and why would they need 8?) is the perfect phone for them. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 the salesman will sell them something else.

  • Pingback: Why We Love Windows Phone

  • http://www.facebook.com/capsloc Chris Tamayo

    I’m actually a warrior for Windows Phone. Been a fan since day 1 almost two years ago and now I’m even more excited to get a WP8 handset :D

  • http://twitter.com/xmesaj2 Maciej Klimas

    4 reasons that I dislike WP:
    1. Low amount of apps, then even lower of free ones,
    2. Devices price/performance aren’t powerful as Android (even if WP run well, they’re not futuristic),
    3. No variety of custom softwares (like with Android),
    4. Unconfirmed future of WP7 phones when WP8 will come out.

    Reasons I do like:
    1. MS Visual Studio makes programming for it comfortable and easy
    2. Support for XNA, meaning DirectX games, meaning great graphics.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rturja Reko Turja

      2) Java needs power – tons of memory and as many processor cores you can throw at it – and it still is slow and clunky. For me, rather a system that is written well and executes things speedily in simpler environment, than system that doesn’t run that good despite all the fancy hardware…

    • Bill King

      Higher clock speed = lower battery life. Give me performant wp7 on a lower clock rating and more than a days usage time than power hungry android on multiple cores and 8-10 hours “normal usage”. I hunger for the days when less than 3 days was considered “go back to the drawing board”.

  • http://jarbird.tumblr.com/ Jarbird

    I can an definitely relate to some of the sentiment you share here. Sometimes I look down at my Windows Phone and just plain appreciate it’s simple beauty. I often wonder why more people don’t see what I see in it, but your island reference really captured that feeling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Gill/100000107343887 Donald Gill

    Absolutely impressive writing (and which I couldn’t agree more). Well said sister!

  • Matt

    Very well written and articulate. Kudos.

  • Skyler

    It’s strange that you would consider a device that is capable of doing more is better than a device that can do less. It would seem that you’re painting stereotypes of users in order to defend your device because you can’t come up with any legitimate virtues of your choice, which is probably why your entire piece sounds so nonsensical.

  • Arkan Hadi

    i own lg Optimus 7 and an HTC desire for my main driver, i love both equally but in a different way, love the simplicity of the WP7, but i just feel its missing something and its still cant be my daily driver, but my biggest issue with WP now is the keyboard, got so used to swype, and there is no way am going back to regular keyboard.

    still havent decided on my next daily driver (my htc desire is acting up lately, served me well for 2+ years). Jelly Beans seems sweet, but will have to see what nokia will come up with, with the wp8

  • Bhavin Panchal

    I like the perspective that shane have shown here and I totally agree at how people try to see a phone as carrying a mini computer with them.
    I am a windows phone user. Mostly, I use it to talk, text, track my run, listen to music, surf the web and at times “Search for something spontaneously” and I am pretty happy with what windows phone 7 offers and also, looking at what the windows phone 8 will bring to the crowd, is just beautiful.

  • CarneAsadaBrito

    Couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand why my Android and iPhone “friends” want to constantly pick fights with me once they see my Lumia. I chalk it up to a bit of jealousy with aesthetics and simplicity.

  • Lightbulbit

    Well @facebook-100000637378270:disqus. I guess your little island is not as lonely as you thought :-)

  • umesh

    i really love my nokia lumia 900… by the way. i’m the first user of lumia 900 in srilanaka :) and i love bcose of having this lockergnome site in my lumia.. :) grt job WP + NOKIA

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerry.bandy59 Jerry Bandy

    My little HTC Arrive will still be smoothly connecting me to the things that I want to see and know for a good amount of time after WP8 is out. And lets be honest about lack of apps. Isn’t 100,000+ (and counting) apps enough? If only I could get that disappearing keyboard fixed (thanks alot Sprint).
    And if the truth be told here, I would venture to say the reason that some of these guys are agreeing with you so wholeheartedly is because you’re a little hottie Candice. Oops! Did I say that out loud? :p
    Actually, I did like your article too.

  • Raygun

    I love my Lumia 900 and I love it when iPhone users or Android users peak interest when I use my phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/CeeGee-Borela/100000183782060 CeeGee Borela

    May 2011 when i bought my Samsung Focus I917 and slapped a 32gb msdhc on it… more than a year later its the main phone aside from the other phones I had the past year: LG Optimus T, Optimus 3D and my old HTC HD2 that I’ve sold and now im simply waiting for an “Odyssey” to arrive

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1347061444 Kevin Auch

    Absolutely agree with it !
    A WP7 user from France.

  • David Davidson.

    Android user here, I’m not concerned with iPhone vs Android or Windows phone vs iPhone, I am however a massive fan of Android – Disclaimers out of the way, I can see why Windows phone would appeal to people, it is quite pretty and it works really well for the stuff it’s designed for, however I like the power a Droid gives me – I can be in work, and quickly check the status of a torrent that’s downloading on my main computer. I can just come into the house, open up XBMC remote and start some music playing on the surround sound system wirelessly. I can quickly Google questions that bother me, browse the internet, watch Youtube videos, pretty much anything I could ask of it, it does. I don’t see my phone as a replacement for a computer – Not at all – I see it as an augmentation and supplement, and I love it. (Huawei g300, if you’re interested). I’m just not a Windows phone person and iPhones are not exciting to me at all.

  • tangina

    love my htc mozart (i got it for bargain on ebay), i had two iphones before this and also used an android for a bit, just bought this to test wp7 and ended up getting stuck with it, can’t really get rid of it, the way i set my start screen everything’s really just a glance and go for me, can’t wait for wp8!

  • Allen Wagner

    I think I’m feeling lightheaded!

  • http://twitter.com/Out_Lived OutLived Classifieds

    :/ humm, I prefer iPhone for too many reasons – much more apps, quality, brand, user oriented, app price and much, much more

  • bryan chin

    I have a Nokia Lumia 800. If I had to put Windows Phone as a personality, it would be a man who is straight to the point, down to earth, but is still very interesting to talk to. He would be smart, but not so smart that you can’t understand him in any way. He doesn’t say “I want things done MY way” but he fits your understanding of everything and just flows with it. And he is probably multitalented, in the sense of what a phone can do.

    I guess that’s how Microsoft have put the UI of Windows Phone. That the phone fits with you more than any other phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Wortman/100002910815772 Chris Wortman

    I like Windows Phone OS, it is smoother than Android and works very well at being a phone first. I have used every version from as far back as Windows Mobile 4.0, what can I say about it other than it works very well at what it does. When referring to what it can’t do or won’t do is another discussion entirely. I prefer the UI even to iOS. It does what it does perfectly, but leaves a little to be desired in other cases.

  • http://twitter.com/kuda188 Kudakwashe Nyangoni

    IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THIS BEING BETTER THAN THAT. Honestly, if I wanted my computer to be a 4+ inch screen then I would get one. Otherwise, a phone should do what a phone should do.