Sorting it all Out's [unoficial!] Windows Phone 8 World-Readiness Report Card

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2013/03/13 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

Now I wouldn't want anyone's mid year review to be materially impacted by it, but I have to talk about how World-Ready I found my Nokia Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8 to be....

Let me start by saying when Joe "JoeB" Belfiore and Terry Myerson talked about how Windows Phone 8 was based on a Windows 8 core, it wasn't just marketing.

it was the naked truth! :-)

The text rendering, the fonts, the locale support, everything is starting from a Windows 8 baseline.


Now I'll start with feature that lets you take a screenshot of whatever is happening on the phone?

Not a World-Readiness feature per se, but it makes the art easier!

I'll give it a


The coolness of the feature itself is offset by the need to simultaneously hit the Windows button on the front and the power button on the left. Since both buttons have other actions taken when they are pressed, it was really hard to coordinate.

I'm hoping Microsoft and/or Nokia can improve this in future versions....

I took several dozen screenshots, but it took over 100 attempts to get them! :-(

Okay, now with that said, we'll start with the language+region user interface:

I was not in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip when I took that screenshot. :-)

Now I freely give the Regional format list a grade of


Because even though it wasn't what I expected, I have to admit that my expectations were based on over 15 years of the bad user interface in Windows.

Which I have even been the development owner of at various points in the past.


When a region has only one supported language, you don't need to spell it out, right? :-)

Now there are still some issues here.

Like the ease of changing between Amharic

and Cherokee

was offset by the fact the change required a phone reboot each time! :-(

That reboot on changing regional formats issue?

I give that a


It would have been worse (since on Windows 8 like in all prior versions, the change was immediate), but the reboot was quicker than on Windows. :-)

The vertical support for Japanese

and Chinese (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macao)


All get an


in my book.

Culturally appropriate vertical text is awesome!

Of course they did screw up Traditional Mongolian

by making it horizontal, which from a cultural perspective is practically a geopolitical issue.

So I give them a


for their horizontal Traditional Mongolian.

But on the other hand we have the same bug in Windows, so I shouldn't be too bitter.

It's just that they were so much better in every other way!

Now the Phone User Interface Language List

is interesting, but there are almost certainly ways to extend it -- their supported language list is impressive.

But then, we get to the Keyboard List.

The full keyboard list has some surprises and some disapointments:

Contrasted with the ~180 keyboards in Windows 8, with our stated goal of allowing you to type anything you can show, this small list is pretty disappointing.

I give it a


which is a passing grade, and this is a huge improvement over prior versions, but if you're not going to be exhaustingly complete then you at least need to be easily extensible, and Windows Phone 8 is neither. :-(

This was the conclusion we came to earlier in the Why aren't there any Cherokee keyboard layouts on Windows Phone 8? blog.

However, when you take the whole package, Windows Phone 8 has a lot going for it, from a World-Readiness point of view.

And it is only going to keep getting better in the future.

So the official Sorting it all Out's Windows Phone 8 World-Readiness grade is


And I'll be looking eagerly at what improvements come next! :-)

Cristian on 13 Mar 2013 8:24 AM:

The touch Romanian virtual keyboard is mediocre, just like the Android one.

Let me explain what mediocre means: it does its job, but no more than that. The five extra letters of Romanian alphabet can be entered like: long press A => ĂÂ, long press S => Ș, long press T => Ț, long press I => Î. For all of these when the long press menu appears the user has to move the finger and select the letter. If the user releases the long press nothing happens. Notice that A is used to generate Ă and Â.

Romanian Programmers non touch keyboard uses AltGr + A, Q, I, S, T to generate Ă, Â, Î, Ș, Ț. When Windows (Phone) 8 came out I was expecting something like the Romanian Programmers but having long press to emulate AltGr. It would have been a small variation of an already existing standard.

Typing Romanian text with the Windows (Phone) 8 touch keyboard just sucks.

Ken Sadahiro on 13 Mar 2013 9:01 PM:

Thanks Michael. I wanted to make sure your readers had a chance to read John McConnell's blog entry about the global reach of Windows Phone 8.

Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Mar 2013 4:38 AM:

I was going to lead into it in a follow-up blog!

Mike Dimmick on 14 Mar 2013 11:31 AM:

United Kingdom (Extended) is missing. If you're going to have one it should be the extended one! Although press-and-hold on 'e' shows eëéêè as it should, press-and-hold on 'w' resolutely just shows w. It should also show ẃ. y offers ÿ and ý, it's just ẃ that's missing.

In fact the set is quite odd, with t offering thorn, t' and t-cedilla.

Oh, and the US keyboard comes back when you reset the phone...

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