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I’ve been using my HTC 8x Phone for about six months.  I had to get a replacement for the phone last week, due to some issues with the microphone.

After a brief call to customer support Verizon replaced it, sending me another phone via next day air.

This is the saga of my what happened when I started the new phone for the first time.  If you are expecting a angst filled post describing the #FAIL of the winphone ecosystem, then you’ll be disappointed.  The experience was first rate, from start to finish.  The windows phone OS did a great job getting me back to my apps and data in a short period of time.  The apps themselves?  Well, let’s just say that they could learn something from the way the phone handled the update.

Setting up the new phone

After unboxing the phone, I extracted my SIM card from the old phone and transferred it to the new device.  A few minutes later I turned on the phone and waited for the initial welcome prompt.

I’ve been through this process many times, with my developer phones.  This was my first time doing it with my personal phone with existing accounts and apps installed.

I entered my Microsoft account ID at the prompt, then entered my password.

A few minutes later the phone was done with setup and I was ready see what else needed to be done.

Setting up Email accounts

I use three email addresses on the phone. The OS discovered my other email accounts that I was using on the old phone and added them to the new phone.  I was prompted to reenter my password for the other email accounts when I launched the mail program, but it only took a few minutes before I was reading my inbox.

So within 10 minutes of starting the phone I was back in business with my email and people hub back to normal.

Wireless

The next step was to connect to the local wireless.  I enabled the wireless connection and added my network. 

Apps

Once that was done,  I decided to check out the app situation.  Good news!  While I was configuring the passwords for the two additional email accounts the phone had been quietly downloading all my apps from the store.  By the time I looked at the app menu all the apps were installed and ready to go.  NICE!

I noticed there were some updates pending in the Store so I open the Store app to see what was happening.  There were four apps in the marketplace that couldn’t be updated.  Hmm. I spent some time investigating why the apps weren’t installed or updateable.  After all, the rest of the process had gone so smoothly.

The reason the apps were not installed is because they were no longer available in the marketplace.  For whatever reason, the apps had been discontinued, so there was no way the phone could install them.

I’m not sure how long the apps have been unavailable on the old phone.  My understanding of the system is that in most circumstances once you download an app to your phone, its is available on that device, even it it later pulled from the store. 

Logging into Applications

At this point the phone was  nearly identical to the old device I’d turned off thirty minutes beforehand.   I decided to check out some of my favorite apps.  Here is where the upgrade story gets discouraging.

Very few apps on the phone use the Microsoft account ID, Facebook or Twitter accounts for login.  This became apparent when I opened Rowi the first time.  I had to enter my Twitter credentials before I could read my tweet stream.  This happened over and over again as I opened each networked app.  Thankfully, I use LastPass, so it was easy to lookup each apps login information.

Game progress and application settings

What about my games?  The XBOX titles were the best.  Obviously, all my XBOX achievements were intact.  Games like Wordament were no problem.  Since it’s a live puzzle game, I just started with the next available puzzle.  Some of the other games remembered my progress and started me at the last conquered level.  But sadly most of the game didn’t.  For example. Angry Birds started the game from the very beginning. 

Application were similar.  Some were great about remembering me and my data, others were less helpful.  Since OneNote uses Skydrive it had all my notes ready for me to view.  CardStar one the other hand, remembered nothing. I use CardStar to keep my loyalty card information on the phone.  Apparently they’ve never heard of the cloud, because I had to reenter all my information.

Conclusion

The phone is masterful in the way it handles my account information.  The startup process was simple and the phone reconfigured itself seamlessly to match my old device.

Once I got to the third party apps it was a less joyous story.  While all my apps were installed, I spent an hour or more opening the apps and logging into their individual servers.

As we move our lives and data into the cloud it is imperative for app developers to integrate their apps and our data into a seamless experience.  I believe this will happen in most apps eventually, but we are not there yet.


Building Windows Store Apps Essential Training
A comprehensive and through treatment of Windows 8 Store Apps
Video training on Lynda.com

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