New Windows Phone 8. Something to love, something to hate.
Given in to phone envy, Alun?
No, not really – although I will say it was interesting to be around so many Windows Phone 8 users at the Microsoft MVP Summit last week.
But the HTC HD7 I originally bought, which spent a half-hour in a hot-tub (syncing), then a week in a bucket of Damp-Rid, then a year (working) in the hands of my teenaged son, finally bit the dust in the middle of the MVP Summit.
Says the storage card is corrupted.
So, I can’t afford the time to take it apart, mess with the drive and possibly even discover that it is truly dead.
I have to take advantage of the “upgrade” pricing that comes with committing to another year of service from T-Mobile, and upgrade him to a Windows Phone 8 system.
Then my wife gets interested in the phone, and before you know it, we’re all getting new phones.
No problems, then – everything’s good!
Yes and no.
It’s always good to get a new phone, sure, and to enjoy the fun of new features. But you’ve got to reinstall, and in some cases, re-buy (my wife went from a Blackberry to an HTC 8X) all your apps. And the data is all gone. High-scores, messages, settings, there’s no good path to take data from a WP7 to a WP8, let alone from a Blackberry to a WP8.
Some apps, of course, save their data to the cloud – all my OneNote files came with me.
It’s not so bad in the future, because there’s apparently a better upgrade path from WP8 to other WP8 phones. Messages get backed up, as well as your app list and settings.
How’d you get your apps back, then?
The interface to reinstall has improved over the years, from the first version, in which I only found the ability to restore apps installed directly from the Zune software; to a later version, which required a bunch of different click-through pages for each app you want to reinstall. Now, the reinstall interface is so much easier. Just go to the Windows Phone "Purchase History” page, scroll down the list of apps and click “Reinstall” on each app you want to go onto your new phone. No clicking through, no re-checking boxes about allowing location, etc.
Despite the name “Purchase History”, this page lists even those apps which I downloaded for free, whether as Trial software, or because the software was free in the first place.
That’s the good part, and that’s how I got some of my apps back. But the bad part is that this list doesn’t contain all of my free apps, just a limited, and somewhat random, selection. For instance, although it lists Amazon Fresh, the Purchase History page is missing Amazon Kindle, and Amazon Mobile, as well as the majority of my other free apps. This is not good customer experience, and if I was the author of any of the apps that aren’t easily reinstallable, I’d probably raise a big stink.
So now, I have to go one by one through my old phone’s list of apps, finding out which aren’t on my new phone, searching for them in the store, finding them in the search results, clicking on them, then clicking “Reinstall” (the store knows I have already installed them before). This makes me more likely to not reinstall these apps, and since the majority of these are ad-funded apps, whose authors won’t make a dime unless I run them, I think that app developers have a strong incentive to ask Microsoft to fix this behaviour.
And how’s the podcast experience?
Oh, you knew that I’d have something to say about that. Well, this post’s long enough already, so I’ll leave that until next time. For now, I have to say I do like my new phone, but I’m really tired of this whole update process already.