By Barry Levine / Mobile Tech Today. Updated November 20, 2012.
In online forums, users are reporting a variety of issues with new Windows Phone 8 handsets. The complaints include spontaneous reboots, problems with e-mail syncing, random freezes and battery issues, and appear to mostly affect two of the most prominent phones for the new platform -- the HTC 8X and Nokia's Lumia 920.
When Windows Phone 8 launched at the end of October, the HTC 8X was handed out at the event, and the Lumia 920 has been considered Nokia's flagship device. But now these two highly visible handsets are the source of a variety of complaints.
At the Windows Phone Central users forum, for instance, a commenter named nicooke posted last week that the 8X undergoes a "random reboot about once a day," adding that "other than that it is a great phone." Numerous other postings on that site recount variations of the same problem.
Facebook, Skype or...?
On Microsoft's own Community forum, users are reporting multiple reboots -- as many as eight a day, or three times within 20 minutes -- on either the 8X or the 920, and Nokia users also complain on that company's forum of lockups with the 920. In addition, there are reports of e-mail accounts on the 920 being stuck in endless loops.
For the Lumia 920, random freezes appear to be a more commonly reported issue. Some users have reported that freezing appears to happen when using Bluetooth peripherals in conjunction with the phone, and at least one customer said their 920 locked up within 10 minutes of leaving the AT&T store on launch day.
Various fixes are being attempted by users for the two phones. Some are uninstalling the Facebook app or the Skype preview app, with varying results. One owner suggests the e-mail problem may be related to a merging of Hotmail and Skype contacts, and others point the finger at such apps as Words with Friends or even possibly the camera function on either device.
Windows Phone 7 Update
Others have disabled the tap-to-send near-field communication (NFC) feature on the 920, which appears to improve battery life. There is some speculation that Nokia's firmware is constantly pinging for nearby NFC-compatible devices, causing some of the problems.
Some users have tried wiping their device clean. The wiping route appears to have solved the e-mail problem for some, while others are stuck on the opening screen. At least one user also reported a reboot problem with a Windows Phone 7 device, but most complaints concern Phone 8.
Microsoft has issued a statement that it is "currently investigating reports of these incidents." Similarly, Nokia has said that it is "currently looking into the situation and will provide guidance when we have more information," while HTC has not yet issued a statement.
The success of Windows 8 is critically important for both Microsoft and Nokia. Microsoft has yet to get a major foothold into the mobile space, and Nokia is abandoning its Symbian platform for Microsoft's.
But Nokia may also be hedging their bets a bit in keeping Phone 7 going for a while. Over the weekend, a Nokia executive reportedly told a developers' conference in Singapore that a Windows Phone 7.8 update would be released shortly, and that there might be another update after that one.