Microsoft’s Windows Phone has never had much luck with big updates. Unlike Android, iOS and BB10 which started out
pushing massive feature updates at every opportunity, Windows Phone picked up major updates after a year and a
half – all of which had a major caveat in them one way oranother. The innovation done in the OS was mostly on the
hardware side, and when Microsoft took control of the fullstack, that too stopped to coincide with the next Windows
Phone release cycle. Now Microsoft has prepared the next major release ofWindows Phone, but it’s not calling it Windows Phone or even Windows Mobile (entirely). Instead, Microsoft refers to its new OS as simply Windows 10 on new devices. While some may point out that Windows 10 mobile is the official branding,that is as much branding as is Windows 10 Home andWindows 10 professional.
It’s hard to discuss Windows Phone without talking about Metro. The interface formerly known as metro first appeared
on Windows Phone 7 taking cues from Zune and Windows Media Centre. Windows Phone 7 users (of which I only have a
passable knowledge of) launched with a large live tile interface, large fonts and apps based around a UI of pivots
and panoramas. Windows Phone 8 continues on this traditional interface, only adding extra live tile templates.
The first minor interface change came in Windows Phone 8.1. The large fonts were reigned back to a more manageable size and Microsoft dialled back on panorama and hub interfaces –hard. Overall, the user interface remained broadly the same, just smaller and more refined. Of note is that the UI paradigm
created in Windows Phone 7 remained.
In Windows 10 Mobile,
as Microsoft’s goal was to create universal Windows apps that have the exact All these have been fixed in Windows 10, and even if the “purity of design” of the old OS is lost, this new design is better overall. Now apps aren’t builtfor mobile, following a trend in design, they are built for “screens”. An app is meant to look good on all screen sizes and resolutions, and while this may result in some “misses”, I’ve encountered more hits UWP wise. In terms of scaling, I used Windows 10 Mobile on a variety of devices, from 5.7, all the way to 4.5 and I believe it looks good on all. There are still some issues with the design language, though. Take the hamburger menu for one, while Microsoft as claimed that the UI tool would only be used for little-used settings, it has frequently made use of the button as a key navigation tool. Examples of this can be found in the Office, Music and File explorer apps. The implementation of the hamburger menu also differs according to whoever is implementing it. In Windows 10 OneNote has one hamburger menu, the other Office apps have a different type, the MSN apps follow a different rule and so on. The inconsistency is somewhat understandable if you view the apps as being “team” based rather than produced by one OS maker, however it is still slightly maddening.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone was once built on communication and “putting people first”. While that aspect has taken a back seat to Microsoft’s current #AcheiveMore and #DoGreatThings campaigns, the social aspects of Windows 10 Mobile still remain almost as developed. The People Hub has been replaced by the Microsoft People app which essentially has all the functionality of the People app and more. It allows you to view your Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other contacts all in one place. You can still view all your social updates there, but there are small UI changes which affect the UX in big ways.