It’s been 10 years…Android 4 and iOS 6 on my iPhone 5 are up to date, but damn because I was in love with Windows Phone. And if you want a Windows Phone, you should buy Nokia Lumia.
It’s hard to believe that Android and iOS weren’t the only smart phone camps in 2012. Windows Phone was a legitimate third option, although it wasn’t quite as big as the other two. I’ve never had a lot of apps, and I’ve never had a huge adoption from users… but it was very promising and attractive to me.
When I finished my first Android phone, which I hated, I decided it was time to buy a Lumia, especially after seeing some great events to promote it. Mainly the Nokia Lumia 800 Deadmau5 event in London which I attended. She was sick, look at her:
Even before this massive promotional event, I knew I really liked Windows Phone because of the user interface (UI). It was beautiful, simple and timeless!
Right now, both Android and iOS seemed pretty awful to me. And while these two took a while to become as aesthetically pleasing as they are today, Windows Phone had a timeless look right from the start. So I wanted to give it a try.
Here’s the problem though – I was a broken kid so no Lumia 800 for me. Instead, I went to the store and bought the latest cheap Lumia phone and that was it Nokia Lumia 510. It just came out and was my only phone for the next 6 months.
Let’s take a look together at how this affordable Windows Phone 7.8 smartphone can, 10 years later, still be…
The timeless user interface of Windows Phone still exists today
First, the Lumia 510’s 4-inch screen still looks great today and was even more impressive in 2012. This is a budget phone! Other phones I’ve owned before have had horrible screen viewing angles and backlight bleeding, but this one…so good. And again – it’s a budget phone, and nothing less!
Sure, since black is the dominant color in the Windows Phone user interface, it makes sense that the screen’s backlight wouldn’t bleed that much. But here’s the biggest surprise – this is a TFT screen, a completely unknown technology with great viewing angles and black colours. But at the time, this screen could easily have fooled me into thinking it was OLED. I might be exaggerating a little…
Windows Phone’s vibrant primary colors look good, too. Every home screen app is in a tile, while the rest of your apps are just a swipe away, placed vertically and in alphabetical order. Everything is very easy! And beautiful.
For fun, let’s go to Settings > About so we can see what specs this mighty beast was running on.
And… we have 256 MB of RAM, 2.88 GB of storage, and yes, on top of that, the phone is Tesco restricted, so at least I can’t gift it to an elderly person or a child to use their SIM card.
The App Store is a vast wasteland…just as it was in its ‘best time’
The App Store is called Marketplace, which makes sense because it’s not just about apps and games, but it’s also a place to get music. Do you remember the Zune? Microsoft trying to challenge the iPod and iTunes? Zune media players were never detected, but you can still see the Zune name here and there. Actually here.
Well, the New Releases section is empty, as are the best albums, but we have a song from 2016 in the “Featured” section, along with two others. This may indicate that someone else was hired to provide music here seven years ago.
Admittedly, I couldn’t get the wifi to work very well. I’ve tried three hotspots in two different locations – no internet. The market may not be updated properly. The Google homepage was briefly opened a few times, and that’s all I can get from this phone while browsing the web in 2022.
Great battery life, this phone got me through a lot…
While I feel like mine iPhone 12 mini battery life is running out before I even have time to flash, the good old Lumia 510 is the battery hero to this day.
And in its prime, I fondly remember it took a full day of work and some unless the GPS navigation was on. And I needed this new, new GPS feature to find a hotel in London one day. Glad I did that before the battery ran out.
But with intermittent use, the Lumia 510 always delivers more than a full day of battery life. For example, I’ve been delivering newspapers daily while listening to music on this phone for at least 8 hours.
I also talked to the phone! This was another novelty at the time – asking my phone to call or text someone, completely hands-free. I know it’s common now, but back then voice commands were cool and new and exciting to me.
However, Cortana didn’t really get this phone right. Microsoft’s virtual assistant only appeared for Windows Phone 8 devices, and this phone, although brand new when I bought it, was immediately abandoned by Microsoft. No software updates, forever on Windows Phone 7.8.
So I felt – the consumer – that I wasn’t supported by Microsoft, and so did Google – the developer – maybe too, which we’ll talk about next…
There wasn’t even a YouTube app! Google and Microsoft are fed up
However, there was and still is Microsoft Word, and just for fun, look at how small this phone is even compared to the iPhone 12 mini
Yes, app placement on Windows Phone was pretty bad, especially after that Google has removed the very popular YouTube app from the Windows Phone Marketplace… twice. Both times, Google wasn’t happy with Microsoft; How it “never required browser upgrades for Windows Phone to provide a fully functional YouTube experience.”
So Microsoft has called itself and is partly responsible for Windows Phone not getting many really popular apps. It wasn’t just developers who refused to bring their apps to Windows Phone because user adoption wasn’t as cool as Android and iPhone. From a technical point of view, it seems that Windows Phone has only lagged behind Android and iOS.
Anyway, back then, the lack of YouTube was pretty ridiculous because it was already one of the most popular websites in the world and the most visited social media site. Instagram too, which didn’t appear briefly until years later – in 2016 – on Windows Phone.
So what could you – the user – do if you wanted YouTube, Instagram, or something else popular like this, but weren’t lucky enough to own an iPhone or Android phone?
You had to delve into the deep, dark, and terrifying world of third-party apps… apps made by small developers, usually of questionable quality, that claimed to give you the YouTube or Instagram experience, but were often just simple web browsers, mobile sites on YouTube or Instagram… you had to pay to use what were supposed to be free apps on Android and iPhone, with the added benefit of worrying that the anonymous developer you were relying on might steal your account passwords.
What is Microsoft up to today? Dual screen Android phones
Until recently, Microsoft seemed to have abandoned smartphones after the entire Nokia Lumia/Windows Phone ordeal finally failed. But recently, the Windows company is back with a dual-screen Android phone — which is Microsoft Surface Duo and later – version Duo 2
Of course, Microsoft seems to have given up on challenging Android and iOS with its mobile operating system, as is plausible. Therefore, it is not surprising that the new smartphones are running Android, with the Microsoft Launcher on top.
Well, these phones are pretty pricey, and I’m willing to bet none of you will ever read this one of yours, as it’s not exactly popular either, but as someone who loves unique and different hardware (let’s say Galaxy Z Fold 3), here I am looking for Microsoft. Hopefully he won’t give up as quickly as he did with the Lumia 510.
Feeling nostalgic yet?
I know I am but did you know? You can feed your nostalgia even further by making your current Android phone look like a Windows phone. There are plenty of launchers in the Android App Store that aim to make your home screen look like your Windows Phone home screen, with tiles and everything. They have been around for over a decade and are still performing today.
So we can make sure that the Nokia Lumia branding and Windows Phone look are still very popular. I hope you enjoyed this look at the only real competitor to Android and iOS in their early days. It runs on a really small and stylish budget Nokia Lumia 510 from 2012.
Will we get a new phone operating system to challenge Android and iOS again? Doesn’t really make sense… what do you guys think?
Do you also have sweet memories on your Lumia to share with us?