My first experience with Windows Phone 7 earlier this year was…unpleasant, to say the least. With its steep learning curve and awful restrictions, it was very frustrating. But what really made me gave up on it at the time was when I kept getting disconnected from WiFi each and every time the phone is locked.
Imagine a smartphone that favours mobile internet connections over WiFi connections. For an OS that also did not support USSD codes for prepaid users, Windows Phone 7 looked like it was not tailored for the masses. However, we found that WiFi did not automatically switch off in the WP7.5 Mango update, and at least that was one major flaw that was fixed.
Or so we thought.
A recent tweet to Joe Belfiore (manager of the Windows Phone program, or the dude who showed off the new Windows Phone 8 OS made memorable by the beautiful Jessica Alba) revealed that the WiFi fix has reared its ugly head once more.
While it isn’t too big of a deal in the West, with super cheap mobile data rates, it is hardly the same on this side of the world, where local telcos are still charging an arm and a leg for a decent data plan. Without WiFi, imagine the amount of data we’d need if we wanted to download, say, The Dark Knight Rises app (about 1.5GB), offline maps (currently only for Nokia devices) or even streaming music online? Would we then keep using the phone until the download is finished?
What is even baffling is Microsoft’s reasoning behind this “bug”: it’s a power-saving feature of the OS, so it isn’t really a “bug”. However, everyone who’s been caught with dead batteries after prolonged 3G usage will tell you that WiFi uses way less battery than mobile data connections.
Fortunately, the tweet met a favourable reply. Belfiore let it slip that his team are aware of the issue, and will be announcing a fix. Unfortunately, there was no ETA on that fix, which is making some to speculate that we will only see it in WP8’s first major software update, which could take a while.