Google Maps has become the go-to maps option for most modern users, so it's natural to fire up a Windows Phone 8 handset and expect it to be present. No dice. Google's service isn't available as either a native or web app, forcing you to rely on alternate options for directions and the like.
While Bing has some mapping functionality, the Lumia 810 actually defaults to the manufacturer's own Nokia Maps, which thankfully includes public transportation information and can kick you to the Nokia Drive+ app for turn-by-turn driving directions, including voice instruction.
Nokia's own offerings don't stop there, though, as it pre-loads the Lumia 810 with its Nokia City Lens, which lets you hold the phone in landscape view and see waypoints for nearby restaurants, stores, and more displayed atop the image from the back camera. Nokia Transit offers more detailed public transportation schedules, on the other hand, supplementing the Maps offering.
The Nokia Music app offers free streaming radio and access to a digital storefront to purchase music, and T-Mobile even has a few apps of its own to supplement the media offerings, such as T-Mobile TV and Slacker Radio.
Microsoft's stock Windows Phone 8 apps are built into the Lumia 810, as well, such as Office and OneNote, though if you're looking to dig into third-party offerings, good luck.
Calling the store's app offerings "weak" seems especially generous. Anyone already deeply familiar with the iOS or Android app selections will no doubt be startled by the serious lack of headline apps and games and the difficulty in finding quality options, not to mention the fact that Facebook and Twitter and sluggish and feture-lacking compared to counterparts on other mobile handsets.
Major creators just aren't flocking to WP8 development in droves, and it really shows in the selection. Google's apps are entirely missing, aside from the base search app, while big names like Instagram and Flipboard are nowhere in sight. Searching around the store reveals a mass of lazy knock-offs of better-known apps from other platforms, making it hard to believe there's any quality control at play.
And though Xbox Live integration is a huge perk of WP8, the game offerings are hugely disappointing. While a big new release like Angry Birds Star Wars is present, it feels like the only huge recent title that's made the jump, while most of the other notable titles are months or even years old elsewhere. A small handful of exclusive gems can be found, but the store doesn't make it easy to find them.
It's a shame, but app selection continues to be Windows Phone's biggest weakness. Casual users might not miss the options, but anyone already used to the apps seen on other smartphones may find it a reason to hold off on taking the WP8 plunge.