Switching smartphones has become a normal task for me with the reason being that I tend to get a bit overzealous with the amount of choices on the market, and impulsively pull the trigger more often than not. Traditionally, I find it hard to say "no" to anything new. I also attribute it to wanting to know what makes each device unique, and testing to see if they can live up to the hype. There's also a part of me that wants to know why certain people identify with specific features, whether they be hardware or software driven. But most recently, I've needed a simpler approach to mobile computing. I need something that's reliable and consistent, with an emphasis on efficiency and simplicity.
But lately I've been stuck in an Android rut and I'm strongly considering jumping ships to a competing operating system with some new hardware. By lately, I mean the past couple of years. For quite a while now, I've lived, breathed, and dubbed Google's mobile OS my favorite. Sure, I've had short forays with other devices like the HTC Windows Phone 8X and BlackBerry Z10 for a day, but none of these endeavors were truly done without having a fall-back plan. I anticipated scurrying back to an Android, or iOS device. What this meant was that I never went into either device thinking it would replace my handset.
Since Nokia's latest Lumia devices, I have been completely caught off guard by how interested I've become with Microsoft's mobile OS, and Nokia's build quality. Windows Phone 8 might not be the most popular, but I'm ready to give it a shot especially if Nokia's hardware is involved.
Why would I decide to jump over to a competing operating system when my time with Android has been nothing short of spectacular?
Well, that's not an easy question to answer. I feel it's partially driven by my recent purchase of a Windows 8 Ultrabook, and somewhat derived by how impressed I am with Nokia's Lumia 925. It's probably related to my inability to commit to a single device, and likely a result of my desire to constantly push myself to learn new interfaces.
As far as Windows 8 on the Ultrabook goes, Windows 8's dual-desktop approach has surprised me. Nine times out of ten, I prefer the Metro UI instead of the traditional desktop, and I'm to the point where I want the same experience on my smartphone. The hubbub surrounding notifications and a task manager are likely to bother me initially, but I am enamored enough by Live Tiles to give Microsoft's OS a go without discrimination.
And on the smartphone front, while I have yet to hold and use a Lumia 925, I know it's going to give me what I'm looking for at the moment: a simplistic approach to mobile computing, an impeccable build, and a great camera (since I use my smartphone as my primary camera).
Then there's my desire to get the most out of every gadget I use, and Microsoft's mobile OS looks to be a very easy interface to maximize to its full potential. Whether it's due to shortcomings of the operating system, or the user's ability to easily get what they need when they want instead of digging into various settings, I feel there's an advantage to this simplistic approach. And I'm ready for something simple.
It's easy to label Android and iOS as the be-all end-all choice for mobile OS due to their popularity. Both have polarized my focal point of recommendations to the point where I worry that I'm becoming biased just because they offer the most features. But I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't impressed with what Windows Phone 8 means for the state of mobile, and for myself as a tech enthusiast. It will also be seeing an update in the coming months as we lure Microsoft's BUILD Developer's Conference in.
You have probably noticed that my thoughts have lately centralized around Microsoft's position in the mobile realm over the past month. I have written no fewer than three editorials in three weeks related to Windows Phone 8 in one capacity or another. Whether it be how their plan of attack in emerging markets could be their claim to fame, my desire for a large-screened device running Microsoft's mobile OS, or a couple ways in which the OS has begun to emerge from the depths of criticism and truly identify with a target market, it's been an eye-opening experience for me.
What I find so unique about Windows Phone 8 in the mobile realm right now is their tenacity in delivering what they want regardless of what competing softwares are doing. Obviously, it's lacking core software functions (ecosystem, notifications, task manager, etc.) that shouldn't go unmentioned when looking at Microsoft's OS from a macro perspective, but what I've noticed with my time using Android and iOS is that not all functionality is useful. I don't use many apps that aren't available in Windows Phone Store, nor do I need to tweak my kernel to save battery life. My home screen is always comprised of the same apps, and most of the time I'm using very few widgets on Android. On the iPhone, all the apps on the front page is an option for a Windows Phone device as well.
So, am I really going to miss Android, or iOS? Most likely. Will a Windows Phone be less enthusiastic and rewarding as compared to competing operating systems? Who knows. But can the way I communicate with people using a Windows Phone be improved by a simpler approach? Absolutely, and that, my friends, is a risk worth taking in my hectic life.
What made you switch to a smartphone running Microsoft's mobile OS? Likewise, what is stopping you from jumping ship? What features would you need to see implemented? Is there a certain Windows Phone device you prefer over another? I'm looking forward to chatting with you in the comments below!