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Windows Phone performs well in PCMag 2014 reader awards, but still lags behind on apps

Nokia Lumia 1520

PCMag has concluded its annual readers’ choice awards. Since operating systems play an important part in decision making for consumers on their next smartphone, we've taken a look at how Windows Phone fared against both Android and iOS. The 2014 PCMag Readers' Choice Award was awarded to (and is shared by) Google's Android and Apple's iOS, but it's interesting to see how Microsoft's mobile platform performed in the surveys.

Microsoft continues its uphill struggle, competing against already established mobile platforms. News of the platform scoring a high rate of satisfaction with consumers shouldn't come as much of a surprise. We've been here previously. That said, Apple edged in the lead with an overall score of 8.7 with Windows Phone just behind in 8.6. Android, sharing the award with iOS, came in third with 8.3.

PCMag 2014 Mobile OS
Windows Phone actually scored a higher overall satisfaction reading than Android.

So how come Windows Phone didn't run away with the award even though it effectively performed better than Android? This year, PCMag put more weight on the "likelihood of recommending" for each platform when calculating the winner. While the overall score is an important reading to take into account, it makes sense to look at how current owners feel about recommending their smartphones to others.  

Based on that decision for this years' readers' award, Microsoft is left out. But this shows just how close the top three platforms are and Windows Phone did take both the 2012 and 2013 awards. Also, let's not forget that Windows Phone 8.1 is just around the corner with multiple new features and fixes to address common annoyances.

Unfortunately, the story for BlackBerry isn't so positive, scoring just a 5.2 rating for the likelihood of recommending the platform to a friend.

PCMag 2014 Mobile OS
The results of the surveys in full. Overall does not equal an average reading.

What seemed to let Windows Phone down was the availability of apps (7.0 out of 10), yet again. Also, the quality of apps was also hit hard with just 8.0. While Microsoft continues to address this, it's been a problem in the eyes of consumers since the platform launched in 2010.

Nokia and Microsoft take AT&T

While Windows Phone itself did not take away the award this year for operating systems, Nokia and Microsoft have managed to beat the iPhone on AT&T yet again, as well as scoring the highest overall satisfaction rating (9.2) across all phone types and carriers. Check out the chart below for a run through on how Nokia Windows Phones performed in the surveys for the US carrier.

AT&T PCMag

Both the iPhone and Nokia Windows Phones grab the Reader’s Choice, with Samsung for Android coming in third on 8.5. It’s great to see Microsoft remain on top across the board with some high scores on work email and text messaging.

How do you feel about the results and do you agree with how consumers have rated Windows Phone when it comes to apps? 

Source: PC Mag

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Reader comments

Windows Phone performs well in PCMag 2014 reader awards, but still lags behind on apps

141 Comments

It means that net operators prefer to see BlackBerry go than come. How higher to score, how more the net operator likes it.

 

I think.

Is that BB OS (7), or BB10?

That makes a huge difference, BBOS 7 is so dated. The latest release of BB10 runs most Android apps and their native ones.

So what BlackBerry phones did they use in the comparison?

The Z30 is a great phone, and light years better that anything on BBOS 7

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Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see WP succeed more than the top dogs. There is something unique and likable about the two underdog platforms.

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If you finish 3rd out of 4 contenders, you failed. That's how I see it. Let's hope that more core apps will be launched on WP. Gap is huge, no question about that.

But if you look at the scroes individually, you will see that WP excels where it counts. They were on top in text, email, and browsing. Those are the main things adults need in a smartphone. Even the apps pretty much cover almost everything an adult will need. Lack of candy crush, flappy bird and whatever fad games comes along next isn't important to most adults. Teenagers and college students have more time to indulge in that garbage. From my experience at work, with most people owning an iphone, they install very little games and trendy social networking apps. They have a few time wasting games. They play them at lunch. Most will forget about them within a month. On the other hand, people of all ages text, email, and browse constantly.

Not to me because the overall score is very close to the top and missed it by only 0.1 after the iOS. AND WP won in 2012 and 2013. WP only missed it this year because PCMag changed the rules - probably to prevent WP from running away with the top prize again. WP should really be a close second based on the scores but they decided to award it 3rd instead according to the changed rules.

Apps are either amazing or horrible and there are a ton of horrible ones out there.  I bet half of the store is garbage but i hear the same thing about the other app stores too.

Windows Phone app store has lesser junk when compared to Android's! Tons of useless apps that don't even open prevail in the Android App Store!

the only problem is the app store is not as curated as well as the other big two so it requires knowing what your looking for more so than just stumbling across a good quality app. 

Yes I bet if they were to just look at top 100 apps and then review them it would be a pretty tight race. I also have a xperia z1s and of the apps I use I prefer the WP versions

I have to agree with everyone; Android has more bad apps as a percent but they also have most of the official apps that people are looking for.  We will someday too.

Yeah that is right but it doesn't have a ton of garbage like Android.Though android has a hell lot of apps still half of them are shit and duplicates unlike WP store which either has abt a few apps for a particular thing in the store which means you don't have to waste your time in looking for the right app.

Just noticed Apple iOS 7 update has a user rating of 2 stars from 106 user reviews on Cnet.

Sure 8.1 will fair much better.

Surprisingly similar to how I would have rated it myself. Hopefully by next year readers, including myself, will be able to rate it higher on apps.

I checked before i switched from iOS to WP8 and pretty much ALL the essential apps that i use were available for WP8.  IMHO, most of the apps that you can't get are the more niche, installed but never used ones.  

The only apps that I used that I didn't have was the dish network and my local bank app. the bank app wasn't very good anyway and I don't have dish anymore.

 

My essential apps is the only thing stopping me from switching from my Galaxy Nexus. Does Outlook include Tasks and r u notified when tasks r due or pass due? Can u do repeating tasks?

Yes, Outlook includes Tasks and they show up in the Calendar in Windows Phone. You can set reminders for your tasks and WP will give you an alert just like a Calendar event. Outlook itself doesn't support repeating tasks that I can tell.

LOL LOL LOL! I dutifully downloaded the official instagram too when it came but up to now have used it only once!

Plus you gotta realize that all those Gen 1 IOS apps will never cone over because most of them are not even supported anymore. So whatever that number is just minus that.

I am surprised to see that Gaming ranked Windows Phone higher than Android. I would've thought that the app selection would've played into that a little more. 

Regardless, it looks like an excellent showing from Windows Phone. Hopefully it will pick up a lot more market share with customer satisfaction as high as it is.

I found that bullshit. While WP beats Android in the low end gaming front, high end Androids run pretty much all games, and have a much better selection than we do. I would know, I just swapped back to my L1020 from my HTC One and I'm missing the hell out.

I don't know why you're taking that 'tone', I want Windows Phone to succeed, I'm typing on one right now but I'm not going to lie to myself about the gaming situation we have here.

What sucks is, the reason for lack of apps, that's because of lack of interest from consumers, and the lack of interest from consumers is because of the lack of apps... Hopefully someone will give and we'll rule this next year >:D

That and the fact that everyone just says "Oh, Windows Phones don't have the apps" ...what apps exactly? Maybe if people actually said what apps are supposedly missing, developers would actually work on them, or MS/Nokia would encourage them to.

Some Apps?
What about Candy Crush Saga (I hate that game and I hate even more all those FB Request I get, but there are many people who like that- or things like that). Or some weird Quiz-App someone told my GF about and that was not available on WP, just iOS and Android.
Or Telegram (with push-notifications). Or BBM. Do I need to continue?
Small details- but that's why I can't recommend WP without reservations- even though I love WP myself and would never trade it back to Android, iOS or anything else.
 

I knew at least one person would miss the point and start listing them here. It's easy for us to know what we don't have, but how many people actually research into how supposedly large the app gap is when considering WP8? They don't. They just go with the assumption, 'It doesn't have enough apps', without any actual idea of what apps they do want, or how many apps is 'enough' apps...

People are worried that their friends will start playing the hottest new app and they won't be able to because WP gets it last.

Look at Draw Something..nobody saw that coming but when we finally got it nobody was playing the damn game anymore. So its not anything specifically you can mention or list..

Yeah, stunned the hella outta me, but I had someone make comments to me about "WP is trash it doens't even have instagram!" This was about a month and a half ago... Wow.

The App-gap is not about the amount of WP Apps missing, but about the fact that new Apps come out on iOS and Android (both at the same time) first and then- when no one gives a rats ass about it anymore- on WP. And ususally the WP Version is crappier than the ones on the other platforms.

I had Windows Phone since it was called Windows Mobile (with a short detour via android) and saw the first version of WhatsApp arriving (of course with much less features than the other versions), even Skype was late and full of bugs on WP when it came out- while the Android-version worked just fine (drained the battery insanely- but it worked nevertheless).

The App-gap is real and it's not about the numbers. It is also about quality and delays.

I am surprised about the "needed repair".  WP is the highest.  Nokia makes great phones so I am a little surprised with that.  I did have to send back my HTC 8X twice but HTC shouldn't change the numbers too much.

Surprised also, I've had 4 Windows Phones and have had no issues. All the Mac hardware I've had be it phone, iPod or laptop has needed repair...one of the reasons I dumped crApple.

Yeah, my wife has had really good success with iOS devices compared to my 8X having issues.  I will be buying Nokia / MS products going forward.

How do you figure that since he obviously said that from his experience! Anecdotal is usually hearsay, or didn't you know that?

The comment I responded to did not say that.

You can't comment that just because you and your eight friends had a certain experience that it flies in the face of another persons experience or actual numbers.

I have dropped my 520 a lot of times, in a lot of different places, Like in trains, my house, the street, in wet mud. It survived all of them. Niether was there a manufacturer defect. It is not at all annecdotal. So, don't be judgemental.:/

Yes, that's the definition of anecdotal. Your one experience does not speak foe the millions of devices Nokia has sold.

As an example, I met a friend of my mom's tonight who had a 520 with a cracked screen after she dropped it once. Is that indicative of all 520s? No. That the difference between your and my opinion..you're acting like your few experiences are representative of all Nokias.

I was one of the repairs. My Lumia 928 camera button didn't work, I presumed it was the actual plastic button missing the tab that made contact. I had to return it to Best Buy to get it exchanged.

My family bought 3 Lumia 920's and 1 8x when they became available. Two have been replaced. One was a lemon out the gate and wouldn't hold a charge. One made it 11 months before locking up and wouldn't boot. Mine should have been replaced but didn't get to it before the year was up. Front facing camera is filthy, ear piece is going bad (most likely from blowing out the ffc), the battery shifts around like unstrapped cargo and it likes to reboot when connecting to Bluetooth. Very disappointed in Nokia quality. Also have friend with a 1020 that the battery barely lasts 6-8 hours (we've tried all the tricks including full resets and turning off all of what makes wp great) a day. Trying to get him to replace it before the year is up.

I'm on my fifth model of Windows Phone. Only had to return one Lumia that bricked during an update before the 'unbricking' tool arrived from Nokia. Surprised by this as all my phones have been rock solid

I'm surprised that WP came out first in text messaging, work e-mail and specially web browsing categories.

Not that WP isn't capable when it comes to those tasks, just that iOS and android users constantly brag about how feature rich those three things are on their phones, mostly browsing.

Its not about top aps, its about WP having the potential new hit apps. We simply don't get them until much later.

Dude, wut?

See, it's a moving target. First it's sheer number (which is just dumb), then it's the "most popular". Now you come with this? It'll never end because someone always has a different standard that MS has to live by.

Look I hear ya man, I just switched back from my One to my L1020 and I'm in the same boat as most everyone here. I think we hit a positive threshold at about 100,000 apps as 'enough' but now our next challenge is getting hit apps quicker.

Despite the Instagram debacle it has been getting better. We got GTA San Andreas a couple months after the other platforms, I've heard other platforms announce apps available on all platforms too.

I believe windows phone has a lot of potential, but how can developers be attracted to close the existing apps gap compared to iOS and Android. My opinion: affordable cheap phones to proliferate the OS and in the Windows 8 as well. Overall has a lot of potential. Love it.

Wow! Fair enough. This means that if the market share keeps on the rise the apps situation will improve. It won't be long for Windows Phone to be a top contender. Looks good to me.

Makes perfect sense for me. Although WP is getting more and more apps some of the most important are very basic and lack a few functions that are available on other platforms. Very good results anyway.

No, we need apps to be released at the same time as iPhone/Android for this problem to ever go away. Until then we'll always be considered a second rate app platform.

You put Android and iPhone together and separate them with only a slash but you forget that Android already way surpassed iOS already in 2012 but it was only last year, 2013, that apps were released at the same time in Android as in iOS. It's no different with WP, as user base increase, releases will also accelerate and gain parity in timeliness with iOS and Android.

Nope. Apps are released generally on IOS first. See Instagram, Vine, Instagram videos, Jawbone Up24, and many games.

What I don't understand is why they're comparing iOS, Android, WP.. and BBOS instead of BlackBerry 10. It's liif I compare a Lamborghini Aventador to a Pinto...
I use WP and BB10 and I know a bit about it

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The best smartphone OS that no one cares about all because of apps. Even the apps arguement to a degree is overblown especially with many of the baked in capabilities of WP8 itself.

There was a time when I didn't think Windows Phone would be more that BB's replacement as the 3rd mobile platform. I'm starting to think now that Windows Phone will eventually pass Apple for market share and move into 2nd place. However, because Android is free and can be molded into whatever any OEM wants it to be it will never be unseated as the #1 mobile OS. In the mobile era Android is Windows.

I like the way this guy thnks! ^

Also, passing android will become more of a reality when people start looking at it in terms like, "WP is currently outselling every android OEM except for Samsung" or something like that.
 

Which isn't very far off, IMHO.

You made me say "huh?' for a moment but then realized that individually LG, Sony, HTC, et al, are not selling that many phones. So yes, I agree, MS/Nokia could easily become no. 3 phone OEM in the near future.

I think there are two reasons my sister wants an Android instead of a Windows Phone: app availability, and general marketing. I, on the other hand, have an HTC 8X and love it!

So does yer mom. 

(kidding)

It's easy to want android when;
a)  you don't know any better
b). you walk into a carrier store and get bashed in the face with walls and cases filled with android shit.

Windows needs to mature a bit. 8.1 is the start of ageing. Remember android at a couple years age lolol it was woeful.

Talking about quality of apps, there's something wrong with Instagram Beta app. After just minutes using it, I can toast bread with the back if my phone. So hot it gets.

I think half the problem with recommending Windows Phone lies in the fact that there's not much to recommend. Windows Phone does a few things very well. iOS/Android do WAY MORE STUFF (albeit not always very well) It's hard to say "You should switch to WP because it's really nice that everything is so integrated in hubs. You'll have to throw away your $300 smart watch and/or dozens of iAccessories, though"

The only people I can recommend WP for are the new or light users of smart phones. If you're expecting it to be compatible with ANYTHING other than wireless chargers... walk away. Either it isn't compatible or no one has made an app to make it (whatever it is) work with WP.

The app gap will never go away until we get a much larger market share. And we won't get more market share until we get more apps. And, hence, our circular depression.

I feel the app argument is outdated... We have better than 90% of RELEVANT competing platform apps. The only ones left are completely niche. Other than that it's just business functionality like VPN which will be addressed shortly in 8.1.

Windows Phone came out on top in many of the categories. I wish stuff like that would get more exposure and coverage. I'm highly satisfied with my two Windows Phone's.. So is my spouse with her two.

Windows is coming close to the two Giants finally and just so in short time.I wonder what will happen after wp8.1!

ha ha ha. exactly. I love WP but seriously, I can accept it for what it is: niche and basically playing catchup all the time.

I love how they perform a poll, get a result that they don't want, then change the requirements to win so they get the results they wanted all along. They must use the same pollsters as Putin.

LOL so you noticed that too? It would have been more honest if they did away with the poll and simply just announced directly: "The PCMag Editorial Board awards the 2014 Grand Prize to iOS and Android". And it's so ridiculous too that Android which got 3rd place overall was awarded co-winner with iOS. Their bias would have been less obvious had they just simply awarded the grand prize to iOS alone.

On the contrary, PCMag actually was very UNTRUTHFUL when they declared Android co-winner, when their own poll which allegedly was the basis for this so-called "Readers Choice Award" has WP in a tight second place with iOS! It would have been more honest, with their bias showing less, had they just declared iOS as winner. Better still, they should have just done away with their poll and declared iOS the winner with Android as co-winner.

I know your next comment would be that WP fans spammed the polls - if that is true, the other fans did the same too, so things still evened out. It just doesn't "sit well with denyers" that Android is a bloated OS and doesn't run as smooth.

For your added information, WP won that award by PCMag in 2012 and 2013, and just narrowly missed this year too. It would have won again this year had PCMag not changed their ruling for fear that WP would once again run away with the prize.

As an audio/video/home theater lover you never see WP centric apps for any of the new receivers, TVs or Blu-Ray players out there. Android and iOS support are all pretty standard on these devices. To me that's a major issue. But at least we have a thousand photography and camera filter apps. (sarcasm)

Those so-called "thousand" photography and camera filter apps are actually good apps. If you are to make that kind of sarcastic comment, cite fart apps at least we would get the sarcasm. Oh wait, both iOS and Android have tens of thousands of those compared to WP's "'thousand' photography and camera filter apps". LOL!

Nice to see the unbiased folks doing this article only had to invoke one post-facto new scoring system to be able to ding WinPhone. Its a Reader's Choice poll, and I think the iSheep and Fandroids there couldn't stand the idea that WP is as good or better than their personal choices, and the idea of it happening three years in a row was too crushing to contemplate. Poor Dears, so hard to keep being beaten up by WinPhone.

Biased much?

Oh the applications. Its only time and patience. We did well on the more important aspects of a smartphone. I'm happy with that. The apps issue has beaten itself down. They are coming. Just need to put the phone down more often and go skating, hiking, surfing, or run.

Thats bs. WP8 beat Android in overall satisfaction in games? When so many games only support 1 gb versions, cost more, get updates less often? When most games don't come out at all? WP8 is miles behind Android in gaming ( yeah i know we got a version of Halo, not a FPS though). So bs. 

I just wanted to point out that to make Android beat Windows Phone, the editors had to add an extra question, "Reader Recommendation."  And in order to make sure Windows Phone lost, they had to give "Reader Recommendation" a HIGHER weight than the "Reader's Choice" score!  How can they even call the award "Reader's Choice" anymore?  That is so unbelievably biased.  When Android came in a distant 3rd place, which is not hard to imagine with all the cheapie/laggy handsets they sell, they had to put their finger on the scale to make sure Windows Phone lost. 

Everyone here should go over there and let PC Mag know what you think of their scoring system. 

Clearly, there is relevance to the app gap argument. It has improved but niche apps do contribute to how a device may be used and many people use that as a measure for how much they value their smartphone. With that said, who is to blame? I would say that it is as much the fault of consumers as it is the development community. We are far too willing to accept sub par support for this platform. Many will continue to services and use service providers that don't support the platform. For example, I'm pissed that United released an iOS app for access to media streaming. If they didn't have an app for ticketing on Windows Phone, I would probably ditch them for another carrier like Delta. I was REALLY reluctant to buy an AV receiver with iOS support built into the hardware. I did anyway but it still irks me. I will go out of my way to write service providers and rail them for their lack of support for this platform. Those comments do add up. Your paying for services that they use to support other platforms! There is no way IN HELL that I would buy a car with iOS on board unless it was purely optional. If it was, I would go out of my way to find one without it. Hell, I would pay MORE for a car without iOS or Android. Point is; the consumer controls platform support. We allow them to exclude Windows product support out of the equation because they are still getting our money. I have completely looped Comcast out of video rental services and instead opt for Xbox Video. They are missing out on upwards of $40-50 per month because of their pathetic support for Windows and I've told them as much. All it takes is a vocal minority to change things.