State of Windows Phone

Warning: This is a rant. You have been warned!

While building app packages for Kodi Assist, I accidentally ticked a small checkbox that resulted in app not being allowed on SD card. This update went live in the Store and I was completely oblivious to the folly I had committed. A couple of days later, I went on to check reviews and lo and behold – single star. And not just one isolated incident. There were many. Apparently, people really hate it when they are not allowed to install an app to SD card. One of the reviews went like this:

Not installable to SD card? No stars! Previous version was OK but I ban every app that prevents installation to SD card.

The app is merely less that 1 MB in size. I don’t suppose it makes a lot of difference as to where it is installed. Moreover, I am easily reachable via many communication channels like Twitter and Reddit. Had this been brought to my attention, I could have avoided the bad rating. But ban? Ban? Just because of a tiny error? Yet, needless to say, I quickly pushed another update that allowed installations to the SD card and replied to the review. I am yet to hear back.

In another incident, I was requested to enable some sort of haptic feedback on button presses on remote. It actually makes is easier to operate the remote without looking at the phone screen. Admittedly, this feature is subjective and some people may find it annoying. Apparently, people do find it annoying. While I had plans to add a setting to disable this feature, I could not finish it in time and update was pushed out that forced everyone to put up with vibrating remote. I knew some users are going to be unhappy about this. Sure enough, I got an email very next day that started out like this:

Hi, I am disappointed with new addition to remote…

Accepted. Guilty as charged. But my crime was to have forced a feature, not failed the faith of humanity! The option to disable vibrations is being added as we speak.

Two small incidents, but they shed light on a bigger issue. Allow me put things in perspective here. For the most part, the app is handled by a single person. (Although, I have had help here and there) The app is free. All the source code is free. It doesn’t have ads. It fits under 1 MB. If most of the ratings and reviews are any indication, it’s a quality app. And yet, one small mistake, one mistaken keystroke and pitchforks get pulled out. This is depressing for me as a developer. Not only that but It is bad for the platform as a whole, especially when there aren’t many Windows Phone developers out there.

With that said, not all users are alike. I have had opportunity to interact with pretty awesome user base Windows Phone (or any other platform, for that matter) has to offer. I have had words of praise and encouragement from all over the globe. And as long as there are those users, development will continue.