Can we all just agree that Microsoft has given up on Windows Phone? Let’s take a moment to look at indicators of the health and vitality of the hardware of the platform. Go ahead and go to WindowsPhone.com and look at devices (I’m looking at US devices only) and we can go through a few.
Nokia Lumia 830
The newest device to come out of the new Microsoft owned Nokia. It is a pedestrian midrange (at best) phone featuring a 720p screen, a 10 mp camera, and Snapdragon 400. The Lumia 830 is a device that is forgettable in every way on paper. I know that some may say that with the way Windows Phone handles resources will help it to feel better than say an Android device with the same hardware but that is not really my problem with this phone. I will never recommend a midrange device to someone unless I know they just can’t afford better. You can’t be a serious contender in today’s market without a flagship and with Microsoft owning Nokia, expecting a Nokia flagship is not an unreasonable expectation.
HTC One M8 (for Windows)
A rehash of a nine month old phone from a desperate company that will do anything for a chance at relevance. This literally the same hardware as the Android version of the phone. If you are a hardcore Windows Phone enthusiast and don’t have gargantuan hands, this is probably the device you are going to be buying. I would probably recommend this phone despite the camera’s shortcomings (and I have always been one to say the camera is better than people give it credit for). Ultimately though, when I think about this phone and consider that this is the closest thing to a new flagship for Windows Phone, it’s kind of sad. It’s still a good device, great even, but it has been surpassed and has very strong competition for Android users.
Nokia Lumia 1320
A 6” phone with a 720p display resolution. Apparently a key feature of this device is having pixels so big you can sit on them. Don’t worry though, apparently Nokia was able to scrounge up some 5mp camera sensors to throw in the back.
Nokia Lumia 630 & 635
Bottom of the barrel phone is bottom of the barrel. It’s not really even fair to talk about these phones but I include them because these are the products Microsoft uses to fill out their devices webpage. These devices make the Moto G look like a flagship. I would fully endorse these phones if they were sold at Goodwill stores in brand new condition from the factory.
Nokia Lumia Icon
Finally a Nokia phone that I have used and can actually talk about. It’s a pretty cool device. A little fat in some places and no stunner but a good screen and camera with a classy understated design. Unfortunately, it was put to pasture by Verizon well before it was over a year old. While we’re here let’s also mention that the Lumia 930 that came out later and is basically the same device is not listed on the site. I would probably have recommended this device over the HTC mentioned above if it were still available.
Nokia Lumia 1520
The 1520 has specs very similar to the Icon and we recently reviewed it. Personally, I don’t view the top end of screen sizes as “flagship” despite the fact they have flagship internals. That’s a personal decision so feel free to count this as probably the nicest Windows Phone flagship on the market today but with a 6” screen, no special hardware like a stylus, and comparable to the last generation (Note 3, One Max) of Android phablets. Our review may speak highly of the device but it’s still a year old.
Samsung ATIV SE
Finally another device from someone other than Nokia (not that I personally have a problem with Nokia). It’s basically a Galaxy S4 with some rejiggering. I was pretty unimpressed with the S4 and feel basically nothing about this phone. It exists. I guess.
There are more on the Microsoft website but it’s a smattering of old devices that did indeed exist at some point. There’s no point in going through them.
Please, don’t jump to conclusions about me or my motives. I’ve have tried Windows Phone at every iterative step of the way. I used an HTC Trophy to try Windows Phone 7, an HTC 8x for Windows Phone 8, a Lumia 928 for a GDR update or 2 and a different taste of hardware, and I used a Lumia Icon to try more powerful hardware and Windows Phone 8.1. If anything, I have been pulling for Microsoft to get some real traction with the platform and I have wanted to move to Windows Phone full time. So please, take these snide remarks for what they really are: disappointment. If you can’t look at this list of devices and see that Microsoft has completely given up on the platform then you are fooling yourself. There are no real 2014 flagships. The hope for a follow up to the Lumia 1020 is dead. Hardware manufacturers have no problem openly saying the platform is a money pit. Even Blackberry has devices out or coming out that are newer and at least show some indication that they haven’t thrown in the towel yet.
In closing, let’s pour one out for Windows Phone. It was a classy alternative that always seemed to be 3 steps behind and we would all be better off if we just ignored the platform until it gets put out of its misery.