By Taylor Martin | July 30, 2013 7:37 PM
If I were to guess how many times I’ve given Windows Phone a fair chance, it would be somewhere in the lower double-digits.
I’m a sucker for an underdog. I pulled for webOS in its darkest days, and I held onto my BlackBerrys well into 2010. I’m also currently pulling for Jolla’s Sailfish OS and the YotaPhone, though the odds are certainly not in their favor.
And I’m a fan of using multiple platforms and not cornering myself into a single ecosystem. Yes, using an Android tablet and an Android smartphone or an iPad and an iPhone offers very deep integration – integration you can’t get with using an iPhone with an Android tablet … or vice versa. At the same time, it’s a bit redundant, and you’re stuck with any shortcomings of one platform not only on one device, but two.
But, for whatever reason, I have not been able to dedicate myself to Windows Phone. That may stem from the poor experiences I’ve had with the Windows desktop platform in the past, but after at least a dozen different times of picking up and using a Windows Phone device for a couple weeks, I could never get into it.
To date, I’ve written several times about how Windows Phone needs a hero device. And many of us thought the Lumia 900 was going to be just that. I knew it. Alas, that wasn’t the case. It was bug-ridden at launch, and didn’t have much value proposition. In short, the Lumia 900 wasn’t the flagship it needed to be.
Nor was the Lumia 920. It’s a great phone, but it doesn’t offer anything wildly different or better than its toughest competition.
If you ask most people why Windows Phone hasn’t really gained much traction in the mobile space, most will probably quickly blame the application support. Some might say the interface is too different. And others might blame how invested people are in their current ecosystem. And those people wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.
However, Windows Phone has been missing one thing I’ve been saying it has needed since day one: truly awe-inspiring hardware, a differentiator. Bragging rights.
The Lumia 920 was the closest thing to that. With optical image stabilization, it could take better low-light and night shots than practically any other smartphone at the time (excluding the 808, of course). But the rest have, more or less, been half-hearted attempts from Android manufacturers to get their foot in the door, just in case the platform ever took off.
Since the launch of Windows Phone, I’ve been patiently waiting for that sort of flagship. And while I don’t think the Lumia 1020, specifically, will launch the platform forward, it’s the solid foundation the platform so desperately needed.
Last Friday, I picked up the Lumia 1020 for a painful $700 (after taxes) and dove back into the platform head-first. I’ve been snapping pictures left and right, rearranging the tiles on my home screen, and searching high and low for all the applications I need.
It only took me a few minutes to realize nothing had really changed. Windows Phone was the same ol’ platform I’ve never been able to fully fall in love with. It’s still missing vital applications, such as dedicated apps for all the Google services I regularly use, both for personal and work – Hangouts, Google+, Drive, Dropbox, etc.
That said, I haven’t been so quick to write the platform off this time around.
Yes, that’s primarily due to the camera – it’s amazing and I love it. But there’s plenty of evidence of that already, and that’s not the entire point. Windows Phone – more specifically, the Lumia 1020 – now offers something you can’t get on any other major platform, a truly unique feature and experience that no other phone can currently hold a candle to.
Granted, if I didn’t have the ability to supplement with other platforms, there simply isn’t a way I could devote myself 100 percent to Windows Phone. There are too many things the platform is missing and not enough great alternatives or third-party clients to fully make the jump.
No less, the Lumia 1020 is a major leap forward for the platform. It’s exactly what the platform needed to start turning heads, even if most of the people don’t switch to Windows Phone for another Lumia generation or so.
This is the closest I’ve ever been to actually loving the platform. What I needed all along was hardware I could love, too.
Tell us, readers. Will you switch to Windows Phone to get your hands on the Lumia 1020? Or is a fantastic camera simply not enough to make you switch? Will you instead wait on a comparable Android phone?