Windows Phone was once a fully integrated system. With Microsoft building all sort of functionality into the OS and updating it via GDRs and major updates, Windows Phone was a full featured OS out of the box- like iOS. However, it was slightly problematic (it has been said), that Microsoft couldn’t update system apps without requiring a major update to the phone’s operating system as well.
With the launch of Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft decoupled Music, Video, Games, Calendar, Podcasts and a few other apps from the OS so they could be easily updateable by store. The apps lost much of their smoothness and stability in the process and were now able to be updated more frequently.
Here are some of the pros and cons of this approach after a year.
Cons : As said above, the decoupled apps have lost much of their stability and speed. Two solid examples of these are the games apps and music apps which have still, one year later, not reached their previous glory. Some might also argue that some apps need to be always reliable for users, like email, music and messaging. It is also worth pointing out that for several new features to work on these decoupled apps, Microsoft still had to push out OS updates in the end, rendering the whole point meaningless.
Pros: The most legitimate reason here is pretty obvious. Microsoft has to work on their third-party app framework. For some developers, Microsoft’s APIs aren’t full featured or powerful enough to allow their apps to work as well as they can. Microsoft being forced to build apps with the same “Universal Apis” mean that they are constantly improving those tools so that third-party developers aren’t unfairly disadvantaged.
This also means that Microsoft is no longer bound to releasing software first on the iPhone or on Android as they can now launch on all platforms at once without having to wait for an OS update.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros and cons, with a year of Windows Phone 8.1 experience behind us, What do you think of the decoupling core apps? Let us know in the comments.