The Catastrophe that is the Windows Phone App Store.


The Catastophe that is the Windows Phone App Store

I never actually thought I’d own a Windows Phone (or any phone to be honest) but thanks to an uncle i was given a slightly old one with a broken sim card slot and a faulty battery. However my experience has been quite sour the second the first time I opened the app store. I used to complain about Google Play yet this is far worse (Note I’ve never owned an Apple product), heres a list of the most noticable things:

1. Lack of Apps

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Its a mess even if you're very specific

You’d think that something supposedly based on Windows would be a tech lovers paradise but truthfully nothing i wanted seemed to be there. The best thing to use an an example would be Emulators, things that let you play really old console games. Unlike Android with emulators covering almost all the old Nintendo consoles (and even a Gamecube one stuck in Beta) among tonnes of other ones Windows Phones find themselves stuck with a what seems to be tonnes of different versions of the same thing. Its so bad that a PS1 emulator being made for it is seen by sites as amazing when they’ve existed for Android for a long time. I know Windows phones aren’t used much but it is very annoying. I assumed that this was the case of almost all of the categories but i couldn’t tell because of problem 2.

2. The Search is Terrible

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Can you spot the odd one out?

While some people might like to just dive into a category i personally like to get specific things or at least see if they exist. However i found this pretty difficult, its probably partially the fault of the App developers too (on top of Microsoft for letting them do it) but not only do some things not turn up in search unless you already know what it is but theres also alot of cases of apps that shouldn’t be there at all, for example a My Little Pony game obviously has nothing to do with Anime (I watch stuff on the Mobile version of the KissAnime website btw, so much better than apps). It almost seemed to be this way for everything you search and it didn’t help there were loads of ‘paid’ versions of free apps instead of just having a remove ads button like any sane non-retarded developer would have (is a problem of its own but its common on Android too).

3. Almost everything costs money.

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This screenshot isn't very relevant 😛

It may sound like I’m simply being bad by having this as a complaint but there are plenty of things on the store that shouldn’t cost money, for example who would want to pay for an emulator when the ones on Android and PC don’t cost anything at all (although the android ones have ads usually). Not to mention the paid ones aren’t even the best ones and even if there was a free version it usually takes away everything you’d actually want from the app including another problem (see 5). I guess people would say to use the Trial feature Windows Store seems to have but i know from personal experience that most trials aren’t that trustworthy anyway.

4. Almost all free apps have Ad spam.

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Too lazy to screenshot game, have an amusing store search instead.

I’m an incredibly poor person that can’t afford apps/games (if you didn’t already know) so I’m always downloading free stuff and i know the (legitimate) developers do need some pennies for it so ads should be entirely ok. However every game I’ve played so far pushes the amount of ads they can have to the very limit and actually puts me off playing anything. Its usually after every single level or every time you die in a game and if its the sort of game where each level lasts less than a minute it starts to drive you insane. Luckily there are some app developers that actually care about the customers like Lazyworm Applications Ltd that actually have an unrestricted file and use the buy option as a way to get cheap donations instead (and as you can see by the screenshot it works).

5. Most apps are heavily outdated.

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Yes, the app still uses favourites...

If the above hadn’t already put you off owning a Windows Phone then you probably wouldn’t want to hear of how outdated somwe of the apps are. What i mean by that is when the Android and Ios have the same app but a highly updated version while the Windows store seems to have the first one or something. A good example of this is Spotify which offers you a very bare bones version without the new-ish ‘Running’ feature you see on the other mobile versions. On top of this they even need you to be a premium memeber to play songs whenever you want unlike the other mobile versions. Missing content makes sense when its something like the PC and the console versions of Minecraft but it shouldn’t be the case for phone types.

6. Its very easy to find blatantly illegal apps.

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People are legitly trying to sell copyrighted sounds for money...

When i talk about illegal I’m obviously not talking about drugs or murder but copyright infringement and nobody seems to care about it on the store. Tying in with “Almost Everything Costs Money” there are alot of paid apps that would get you in alot of trouble, or at least i feel something would of been done by now. For example I stumbled upon a Legend of Zelda soundboard that costs money which is nothing more than sounds ripped from the games which the guy obviously doesn’t own no matter how much effort he puts in. I’m not saying these people actually made these things simply to make money but its sadly the case for quite a few things (even on other phones app stores like Google Play). Although the main problem is really the fact that you are selling something you do not own and that it should at least be free, I’m not a legal expert (only did Business Level 3 in college) and I’m pretty sure that its still illegal (especially with ads) but it wouldn’t be so bad this way and a donate button could be ok. Whats the worst thing about this is there is no ‘Copyright Infringement’ option when reporting apps so ‘developers’ seem to get to do what they want either way. The last problem connects to this one.

7. Fake Apps and Pointless Crap.

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There isn't a WordPress app... It's fake.

While ‘Fake Apps’ ‘Pointless Crap’ could actually fit quite alot of stuff on the app store there are some that literally have no reason to exist. A good example is the ‘YouTube’ app by Windows Mobile which is literally just an internet bookmark to the mobile YouTube site while MetroTube is what people had to get instead (which is free and awesome, background play ftw). Do note there is however a strong belief that Google got the official app taken down.

However this isn’t one of the worst things on the store, like the Pandora Radio App i helped get taken down thanks to a few people there are alot of apps that aren’t just bookmarks but are simply sites loaded into a frame with alot of ad spam. This is alot like the above problem where its blatantly illegal but at least the ones above actually put a tiny speck of effort in while these sorts of ‘apps’ are made by money greedy assholes. An example of a website put inside a frame is the so called WordPress app so you might as well just use Internet Explorer.

Thank you for reading, if you own a Windows Phone yourself perhaps tell me your opinions down in the comments below and perhaps tell me thing i can do to improve my experience (like apps you like).

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