Windows phone is starting to gain a much larger user base. In many opinions it has several great strengths, but also some major flaws compared to others. The ability of the Lumia camera range is well sought after, but it has a huge floor in its app catalogue depth. However two apps have helped to bring much needed features to the platform.

File Manager App

A staple of the Android OS is its ability to manage files. Moving, copying and renaming is often neglected and absent from more closed systems, a la iOS. However Microsoft have launched the Files app on Windows Phone to enable some file manager features. The ‘Files’ app allows users to open files from any location on the phone. It also includes folder creation, copying and renaming options.

The Files app allows you to access all the files stored on your phone. If your phone supports expandable memory with an SD card, like the Lumia 1520, you can use the Files app to access files on the SD card as well. You can browse through files and folders, open and search for files that are on the phone or on SD card storageBrandon LeBlanc, Microsoft

Don’t get too excited just yet though, this is only available for the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 at the moment. Meaning current Windows Phone 7 or 8 users are out of luck at the moment. It is unclear if it will be launched on older versions.

windows filemanager screenshot


Whatsapp has been mysteriously absent from the app store since WP8 update 3 broke several features. Although the developer did say the app would return while they worked on these bug fixes, it was not clear when. The app returned back to the store yesterday. Launching version 2.11.490, with many new features along with said bug fixes.

These are all features already present in both the iOS and Android version however. There is now the ability to change the chat background wallpaper as well as a custom notification tone (WP8 update 3 required). Much needed privacy setting have been improved, to control what you share with others, including profile picture and status message. And those with network restrictions, the option to enable or disable auto download of media that has been sent to you.

It is clear that Windows phone is improving greatly. The IDC improved its forecast for sales growth of the platform in the coming year. Windows Phone shipments are expected to pass 43 million in 2014, a jump of nearly 30 percent over 2013’s volumes. Whilst still maintaining its 3rd place in market share to Android and iOS respectively, the sales will increase, whilst the two others will slow.

Whilst the two new apps are not enough to bring me across from Android, they are certainly moving in the right direction. I tried WP8 a year ago and found the lack of apps the only restriction to its full time use. It has the basic apps that everyone needs, but with my useage a lot of apps were not available or have 3rd party buggy replacements. Have you tried Windows Phone or do you use Windows Phone? What makes you use or not use the platform?

Website: Whatsapp
Website: Windows Phone 8.1

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