My issue with Windows Phone 8... trust

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I joked earlier in the week with Steve and Rafe that I was going to write about how much I wanted to upgrade to Windows Phone 7 from my current handset - which is a Nokia Lumia 820. And while it's unlikely that I will be personally retiring my WP8 handset from Nokia in the near future, right now this Lumia is not one of my favourite handsets for a simple reason. Trust.

It's a pretty simple arrangement. When I bring out my smartphone from my pocket, pick it up from the table, or extract it from my sporran, I want to know that it will do exactly what I want it to do. Right now, the 820 does most of the things that I want, but it's failed on me at a number of moments during the last ten weeks, and that means my confidence in the handset has taken a knock.

Lumia 820 bottom

To be fair, 95% of the time there are no issues, and the core functionality of calls, texts, emails and web browsers are not affected. Those have worked as advertised, albeit sometimes with poor coverage in Edinburgh, but any handset would have that issue.

I'm talking about the moments when the handset does not work. They are not regular, and they are not predictable, but I am finding that there are enough moments that lead me to be slightly suspicious of my Lumia 820 in a way I was not with the Lumia 800,

Put it this way, when I head out to Austin for SXSW in March, I can only carry one handset in the Texan evenings. It's unlikely I'll turn to the 820, and that's a shame, because the promise and the capability of the handset, and to a certain extent Windows Phone 8 as a whole, is one that I want to see filled.

The joke around upgrading to Windows Phone 7 was around my issues with Windows Phone 8, and how they seem to have been introduced between the two versions. While the developer in me can appreciate there is a cut off time and at one point you simply need to stop coding and work on testing, the consumer in me laments the changes to the music player and the music ecosystem.

Screen comparison 2

My biggest issue is with media, you see. When I put a track on my smartphone, I expect it to show up in the music player. Most of the time this happens, but there are times when the track will show up five times in the album listing, or a track will be seen as 'unknown album, unknown artist' at the top of the list. What's even more annoying is that this can happen with tracks that are already on my phone. When I hit the sync button to put on one album, I do not expect to see an error message that says a different album cannot be copied to the phone... when it's already on the phone!

Trust. When I hit sync, I want it to sync. I don't want my music collection to be damaged, requiring me to do constant delete/sync cycles (or in two instances having to reset the phone and losing all my application data). I don't want to be scared to sync.

When I went to install Zuma's Revenge midweek, I was told I had no more storage space on my handset. Really? Really? Even with a 16GB storage card for music and media, and less than 1.5GB of apps on the handset, I've got just 650MB left for data? After some investigating online and looking at my phone, it looks like Windows Phone 8 is not clearing cached data and temp files... so I have almost 4GB of temp files that are so permanent they're causing my phone to limp along.

Irrespective of the why, the point is that it happens. And if I can't load a 150MB game (the aforementioned Zuma's Revenge) can I really trust the phone? In case you were wondering, the advice from Microsoft's technical team was to reset the phone. Which isn't helpful at all until they have a proper backup and restore system in place.

Trust. I want my phone to do what it should be able to do, use the space it has, and make the best use of the storage available.

Picture Hub

I want to trust Windows Phone implicitly. Right now I can't do that. Looking around the current choices of smartphone, there are handsets and operating systems that I trust at various levels, but I've yet to feel the same connected way as I did with Nokia's Symbian-powered N95 8GB. Along with millions of others, I'm still happy to use Windows Phone, but I find it a fragile relationship that could easily be undermined by another platform. As Windows Phone approaches the critical point in the two year contract cycles and people are looking to renew, it's this trust that will see help renew with the platform for another two years - or move on to something else.