My (unanswered) love for Windows Phone

I have used Windows Phone since it's early release. I've used windows mobile, WP7, WP8 and 10. And I loved it. I genuinely loved the mobile experience Microsoft provided me. But, all good things come to an end. I switched to android last week and would like to share my experiences as a Windows user, a Windows Insider, as a Windows Insider MVP and as a person.

I love(d) it

People usually frown when I say that I love Windows Phone.
'But you don't have any apps?' or 'But it is so boring' or even 'it's ecosystem is so closed' (coming from Apple users).
And my response was, and still is, 'Yes!'. I love the simplicity, the core functionalities, the ability to personalize. There are problems, sure. But as a phone, it was -and still is- for me the best mobile platform available.

But, when my Lumia 950's battery finally gave out; I was confronted with a difficult decision. I needed a new phone, and there simply isn't a good Windows Phone option available anymore. And Microsoft's -let's call it changing- vision for its mobile branch, the lack of support, the end of Groove Music.. It felt like I was one of the last persons I knew that didn't jump -what feels like- the sinking ship.

So I once again moved to android and bought myself a Samsung Galaxy S8. Which made me miss Windows Phone even more.

Android

First of all, all credits to Samsung for creating an amazing device. I have no complains of the hardware, the edge screen is awesome, the phone is fast and reliable. So no real problem there.

But then came the endless steam of settings, getting it to work with Microsoft services, getting it to sync Facebook and Linkedin contact images.. It took me a half day to get the device to work like I wanted it to. To get the same features you simply get out of the box with a Windows Phone.

But it didn't end there. I said goodbye to Google services a long time ago and moved all my business to Microsoft technologies. I use outlook.com for mail and calendar, MS Todo, OneDrive, Groove, etc. And even though Microsoft does advertise its involvement in both android and IOS operating systems, it was quite a hassle to get my google device to work with these services..

And then there are the dazzling amount off apps, the so called greatest advantage of android. You can choose a different keyboard, a different lock screen, a different home screen, different icons, different themes.. The list goes on and on. I can't even count how many applications you can download to simply turn your flashlight on and off..
Now, I think it is good that you get a lot of choices and possibilities. You don't get that with Windows Phone. But the appearance of a lot of choices actually work a bit crippling for me. Especially if you have to change the default keyboard because the stock one just isn't good enough. I never felt the need for different possibilities with Windows Phone, simply because everything worked as it should. The fact that it doesn't on android is really shameful for the OS in general..
Think of it like going to a shop and trying to pick a tooth-paste. You get all these choices, none of which actually provide a full 'service'. Do I want better tooth-gums, less cavities or whiter teeth. That's how android feels, every possibility makes you tackle one problem but opens the door for another. If you would be able to buy a tooth-paste formula that does everything, from gums to white teeth, you'd come, in my opinion, to Windows Phone. Which has less capabilities yes, but every thing it does, it does best. You don't need alternatives, because it simply works, out of the box.

iPhone

I didn't go for an IPhone because I don't see myself as an apple user. Apple is a company that produces great things, were pioneers in the early days of Smart Phones. But I am really opposed on how they do business, how they market their products, and how they price them. I maybe a bit close minded, that's probably true. But I simply am not an Apple person.

Conclusion

So, after using android for a couple of weeks, after saying goodbye to Windows Phone, I'll list up my final conclusions.

Advantages

  • Very good performance, design and hardware. The Galaxy S8 is a very good phone.
  • More apps and better integration of those Apps. I can now use Lastpass with my fingerprint reader, spread over all the applications on my phone. It just works better than on Windows Phone.
  • Better Microsoft apps. It hurts me to say this, but the Microsoft experience is better on android than on WP.
  • More apps
  • More customization and possibilities.

Disadvantages

  • Mind boggling options and settings. Android isn't a smart phone, it's a small computer. And even thought that's cool, if I buy a phone, I want a phone.
  • More apps. More notifications. More hassle.
  • Less a phone, more a computer.
  • Basic features like contact syncing is a real pain if you are using MS services
  • More customization and possibilities. Think of the toothpaste example. I'd much rather have a phone that is at its best by relying on stock applications. With android this just isn't the case.

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Tim Sommer

I'm a Web Developer with +7 years of experience in the .Net framework, with a focus on HTML5 and JavaScript.

Belgium, Antwerp
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