Windows Phone 8: View from the eyes of an Android Freak (Day 1)

The battle for the “Best Mobile OS” has been going on for quite a while now, with iOS and Android hogging the lead and leaving the others so far behind that they cant even begin to see the dust yet. There are many who have tried to challenge they’re dominance, others who are content with staying behind. One company that’s been battling endlessly with Apple and Google is Microsoft. Apple and Google started entering the smartphone market around the 2007-2008 time period and by 2009 they had revamped the entire concept of smartphones and touch screens. Microsoft on the other hand was still lacking in the mobile department, they were probably too preoccupied with the “Vista” problem. Microsoft’s mobile OS was  basically a smaller version of windows xp. It was hard to use, you couldn’t really figure out how to work it that well even if you were a huge geek and the worst thing was the resisitive touch screen, that was just terrible. Fast forward to October 2010, Microsoft announced a completely revamped ‘Windows Phone OS’ with a completely revamped “metro” interface and it was beautiful. I was lovestruck. Sadly though as with all new software, it had it’s issues. Jump forward to 2013. Microsoft’s been in the market for 3 years and they’ve had time to fix their issues. So is Windows Phone 8 a worthy competitor for the No. 1 spot?

 

My first day with windows phone 8 has been a blast. As with every new phone, I spent endless hours downloading new apps, customizing it (as much as windows phone would allow me to) and tinkering with it in every which way. I picked up the Lumia 520, which is the lowest end and ‘cheapest’ Windows Phone device in the market so obviously my expectations were low, surprisingly it blew me away. From the minute I turned it on the phone was fast, fluid and mellifluous. I really was not expecting such performance from such a low end device. Multitasking and opening apps were smooth, there was no input lag whatsoever.

The biggest Complaint people have about windows phone now days is that it’s app collection is terrible. On the contrary, I was able to find a replacement for my 5 most used apps quite quickly. Keep in mind I don’t use as many apps as I used to since I’ve been really tied down at work. My most used apps on my nexus are Falcon Pro, Instagram, Feedly, PocketCasts and Whatsapp. What I use on windows phone; Twitter, Instance (not that great but instagram should be coming soon), Nextgen reader, Podcast and Whatsapp. See, no trouble. One thing however is that some alternatives for free android apps were paid on windows phone. Just a small annoyance. My favourite thing about windows phone is the brilliant sync integration. I literally just had to sign in to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and immediately it started populating my entire device with my data. The photos app had my facebook photo’s, the people tile was an integrated feed of my facebook, twitter and linkedIn and the me tile had all my information already. Other than that you can even use facebook chat through the default messaging app, that’s brilliant!

One of the biggest gripes I’ve had however is that there’s no unified notification center, so I tend to miss a lot of notifications and only become aware of them when I scroll through and see the tile. That and the fact there are no quick toggles for settings like WiFi and bluetooth, altough I’m certain you can pin those settings to your start screen, you still have to open the app and switch the toggle.

Apart from that, I’m quite astonished. I’ve never been this satisfied with a phone of this pricepoint before. Devices at this price point have always irked me more than they have impressed me. Keep in mind I haven’t even had the phone for a full 24 hours yet and I plan on using the phone for at least two weeks or more before I give you my full and final opinion, which will most probably be in the form of a YouTube review so stay tuned folks and make sure to subscribe or keep coming back so that you don’t miss anything.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Why living in different ecosystems suck.

Have you ever looked at someone who had a Mac, iPhone and iPad and just thought to yourself, damn that guys a fanboy. Well I used to think that way myself, but the truth is, it’s much easier when all your devices and services come from the same company. look at it this way, say I had an Android phone along an iPad and windows 8 laptop. I would have to buy an app on the windows 8 store and then pay again for that same application on the App Store and on Google Play. Where is if I was using a phone a tablet and a computer from the same company then I would only have to pay once to get the app on all my devices. In other disadvantages that some maps only work on iOS or some apps only work on Android which means if you had both then all your apps wouldn’t be able to work. Also if all your devices come from one company, then you get additional features that allows them to live in harmony such as apples iTunes and iCloud which allows you to back up and keep all devices, etc. In sync, same is the story with a Google account for android and a Microsoft account for windows. Let me give you a real world example, today I set up a Plex Media Server and wanted to download the Apps for my mobile devices. I had to pay $4.99 to get it on my phone, another $4.99 for my iPod and $2.99 to get it on the windows store for my laptop (the windows 8 metro app). Now if I had say a windows phone 8, a microsoft surface and my laptop, I would only have to pay once. That’s the drawback of living in separate ecosystems. Another problem I had is with App support, yes that counts. I recently started playing a game called letterpress, but it’s only on iOS. And I really like using this app called Younity, but it’s only available on iOS. This is why companies work hard to make sure all their products can live together in perfect unity by setting up an ecosystem, HP went on to call their ecosystem “Synergy”. Take Apple as an example, all their products from the iPod to the Mac even all the way to the Apple TV! They also make sure that if anyone has only one of their products, they’re gonna make sure you want all, by offering some features that can only be had if you own more than one of their products.

This is why you see people who own a lot of products from the same company, sometimes its brand loyalty and sometimes its just because it’s much easier and hassle free! Most companies have set up their Ecosystems very well, some of them choose to make hardware first and then tie it in with software such as Apple and RIM, and some companies started making software first then started producing hardware when they saw the scope such as Google, Amazon, etc. This is why many times you’ll see people saying they bought an iPad “because of the ecosystem”. Now of course ecosystems don’t only mean Hardware and Software, although that’s the majority of it. When used in a consumers point of view, the ecosystem also refers to how popular a product is and 3rd party reaction to it, for example iPhone’s and iPad’s have much more and much better cases than Android devices, strengthening their ecosystem. So all in all a strong Ecosystem is essential in making consumers feel more comfortable with their products and also have a heavy influence on consumer decisions.

Best Looking phones (end of 2011 issue)

I’m not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for buying phones that don’t have the right specs, but look freakin awesome! So heres my list of the top 8 best looking phones, in ascending order.

8. Blackberry Curve 9360

7. HTC Sensation XE

6. Apple iPhone 4/4S

5. LG Optimus 3D

4. Samsung/Google Galaxy Nexus

3. Motorola Droid Razr

2.  Motorola Droid X2

1. Nokia Lumia 800 (The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Especially)

New Phone Time?

Is that phone in your pocket rotting? is it time for an upgrade? can’t decide which phone to use, because of the dastardly large number of new phones releasing each week? well you’ve come to the right place, cause I got the perfect guide for you!

instead of making this a top 5 phones thing like I usually do, I’ll split this guide into priorities and what you need out of a phone, such as simplicity, power or nerd-gasmic experiences. that’s right, I made my own word, nerdgasmic.

Let’s start with the most thought about factor for teens and the working adult:

Communication 

BlackBerry Bold 9900

yes, it’s a blackberry. no, I’m not high. With a 1.2GHz processor coupled with Liquid Display hardware acceleration, a 2.8″ HVGA capacitive touchscreen display and the best keyboard on earth, the blackberry bold 9900 takes the no. 1 spot for communication. why? well because blackberries are excellent communication tools, with the best email integration, BBM, and heavy social network integration, BlackBerries are excellent devices for keeping in touch with your friends, families or co-workers. sure the apps aren’t that great, but honestly who needs apps? well everyone but still, you probably have a tablet or media device for those… Other than apps, the only limitation I have found on this phone is the terrible 1300mAh battery that juices this device.

WOW- Factor

Apple iPhone 4S

Sure it looks exactly like the 4 and many were disappointed with this release of the iPhone, even I was at first but it’s really starting to grow on me now. I loved the design of the 4 and was glad to see them stick with it, although I do wish they had gone with a 4″ Display. Other than that it sports very welcome updates such as a dual core processor and bumped up camera, this phone is perfect for the every day user, with its amazing ecosystem of apps, integration with your life and for the love of God, Siri! This phone is perfect for the every day user.

NERD APPEAL

Google Galaxy Nexus

That’s right, everything about this phone screams AWESOME to nerds like me, possibly the only real Android phone (read here for why) The 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, Android 4.0 and that brilliant 4.65″ Super AMOLED HD 720p display, that’s right, 720p!! it’s like having a theater in your pocket! this phone should be crowned king o’ the geeks!

All Rounder 

Nokia Lumia 800

Yes, know what you must be thinking, didn’t nokia die? well no, and yes this is the best phone out there right now, according to me. Other than the completely sexy unibody polycarbonate design (look at how sexy it is) The Nokia Lumia 800 is one amazing phone. Packed with a 1.4GHz Qualcomm chip, 16Gigs of memory, An 8 Megapixel camera, 3.7″ clearblack AMOLED and windows phone mango, this is the real deal. The focal point of this phone is the OS, windows phone 7.5 is a brilliant blend of easy to use software and beauty. It has a minimalistic feel to it, so you feel elegant and classy when using it. Best of all it’s practical, it does everything you need it to, and makes day to day living just a tad more elegant. To know more about windows phone and it’s awesomeness, check out the youtube vids. One things for sure, when I go to university, I’m definitely getting myself a windows phone.