Most of you know me as “Joe the Android Guy”. (For those of you who don’t know me: “Hello! I’m Joe the Android Guy!”) I picked up my first Android-powered smartphone several months after T-Mobile introduced their G1. Prior to that I’d been a “Windows Guy”. My love of PDAs (and eventually smartphones) started with Apple’s Newton MessagePad, then Windows CE after Newton was executed by the late Steve Jobs.
I’ve owned Handheld PCs, Palm Sized PCs, Pocket PCs, all the way up through Windows Mobile 6.5. The common thread between them all? They each ran Windows CE, they all ran my previously purchased apps, and they all were able to sync with my desk calendar. Unfortunately for Windows Mobile, the UI stagnated. In the end they tried all kinds of things, including interlocking hexagons (that made it impossible to find what you were looking for in your app list) and messing with the Today screen (which some liked, but others did not). The iPhone had already changed the game and Android had joined the party. Ultimately I jumped ship.
What I Like About Android
I love Android’s homescreen that can accept icons, folders, shortcuts, and widgets. I love that these can show indicator information (unread emails, etc.), contact pictures, social network activity, upcoming appointments, weather, and more — it can also do all of those in a scrolling box so I can see more than what fits on the screen without opening the app. FAST!
I love Face Unlock and Pattern Unlock with weather and calendar information right there on the lock screen. CONVENIENT!
I have all the apps that I need and they all work as they should — and they are all still there when I upgrade from one Android to another.
And most importantly, I love the developer community that not only writes awesome apps, but also unlocks other apps that someone somewhere decided I shouldn’t have because of my carrier, device, or eye color. I love the fact that I can run Custom ROMs and can change the entire look of my device, over-clock it, under-clock it, and give it new life well after my carrier and the device’s maker wanted me to buy a new phone.
Why would I ever leave?
The Rise of Windows Phone
It has been more than a few years since I switched to Android. In that time, Microsoft has brought Windows Phone to the table (and put it through a couple much-needed iterations). Unfortunately this came by cutting off compatibility for all previous Windows Mobile apps, getting rid of many “enterprise” features, and rolling out an entirely new UI and homescreen.
I like the side-scrolling UI of Windows Phone apps, but I think they could be faster if they worked more like Android with “tabs” across the top of the screen to quickly jump to the screen that you want rather than forcing you to flick across several of them to get where you’re going.
I “sort of” like the homescreen, but with all its unnecessary “motion”… let’s just say that I get easily distracted. Before I could go to Windows phone I’d need some setting that let me “turn off” all that “distraction” and limit it to just important updates (new mail, missed calls, upcoming calendar events, etc.). You know, stuff that actually needs my attention.
I could probably do without Face Unlock and Pattern Unlock — but why should I?
If the OS does everything I need (and most of what I want), I might not need the developer backing and “hackability” that Android brings with it.
If every app that I need (and most of the apps that I want) are available (regardless of device and/or carrier), Windows Phone could be a viable option to me.
It’s a high bar that Android has set. I don’t know when Windows Phone will be able to surpass it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great phone — however, at the moment it’s not the right phone for me.
What about you?
Enough of my yammering! What do you love about Android? What would it take for you to jump ship from Android and be happy with a Windows Phone? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Pixar’s Up via memegenerator.net, Android Stickers