I’m an unapologetic fan of Windows Phone 7. I like the aesthetic, the consistent UI design and concepts, and the personal nature of the Start screen. I think it’s a solid, stable, fun-to-use platform, and it’s my operating system of choice when it comes to smartphones. It has been something of a love/hate relationship, however. As much as I like the software, I haven’t liked the way Microsoft has managed it. In particular, the decisions the company has made around patching and updates have left a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s fair to say that the smartphone market has not embraced Windows Phone the way I have. One can speculate about the reasons why. In truth, there are probably lots of little reasons rather than any major one; uneven advertising, a reluctance by sales personnel to push the platform (whether for financial reasons or unpleasant associations with Windows Mobile), some lackluster hardware, missing operating system features (especially in the initial version), an initially weak app ecosystem, and a continued lack of apps are all contributing factors. Having a radical new UI probably didn’t help much, either; although it works very well in practice, it makes in-store demonstration models hard to relate to, especially for buyers more familiar with iOS and Android.

That polarized relationship looked set to continue with Windows Phone 8. There were promises to make some things better—for example, Microsoft has said it will provide a way of installing updates even without carrier approval. Unfortunately, this has been coupled with making other things worse—a hush-hush approach that gave us hardware launches where we couldn’t use the hardware and an SDK that came out just a few days before the platform went on sale. That gave developers scant time to ready their applications for the new operating system.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/ml7UT17Z23U/