I just recently ditched the Android platform, which I have been using for the past few years, and made the move to Windows Phone 8 for the very first time. I have no idea why I didn't do this sooner. In this post, I am going to go over a few things, including making the move to Windows Phone, what I miss from Android, and other thoughts.
So you are probably thinking, "Hey Ron, you write on a Windows oriented website yet you are just barely getting your hands on a Windows Phone device? Why?" Well, the answer is pretty simple. Android has been dominant in the mobile market space for a few years and since Gmail has been my primary email service since it made its debut in 2004, it only made sense to use an Android smartphone. I've owned a Windows Mobile 6 device (Motorola Q9h) prior to Android and didn't really care too much about the operating system and was not impressed by Microsoft's offering.
Android has been good to me over the years but I got tired of a few things. First, the same old look of having rows of app icons. Every time I upgraded to a newer Android smartphone, I would gaze at the beauty of the device's exterior design. When I turned it on, it looked just like what I had before. Android was getting stale for me. My Motorola Droid Razr Maxx was nice but I was no longer impressed with Android. I got tired of waiting for upgrades to come out for my Android device and the deterioration in responsiveness that occurred after using a few apps. It was time for a change.
Moving to WP8 with Nokia Lumia 928
I have been holding out for a Nokia Lumia on Verizon for a while now, waiting for a good Lumia device to come along. When Nokia unveiled the Lumia 928 exclusive for Verizon, I already knew this would be the smartphone for me. I even read that the Lumia 928 was responsible for giving Verizon a boost in sales for the month of May. In fact, the Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia 928 handset earned third place in top sales for Verizon in the United States as of May 2013.
I snagged one, unboxed it, turned it on, and was immediately impressed. I have seen videos, tutorials, and even played with demo Windows Phone devices, but actually owning one and spending time with it was amazing. I won't go into my opinions about the Nokia Lumia 928, rather, I will talk about the operating system that powers it, Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone 8 is simply amazing. I love the live tiles and the ability to move your tiles around and customize their sizes and colors. Windows Phone 8 is simplistic and I love it. One feature that immediately stood out was the Bing homepage lockscreen wallpaper feature. I dont know about the masses, but I actually love seeing a brand new visually appealing Bing.com lockscreen wallpaper on a daily basis. It just looks stunning on my smartphone. Everything on Windows Phone 8 just seems much more organized compared to what I was used to on Android.
However, like every platform, Windows Phone 8 isnt perfect and could use some work to make it close to being perfect. For example, I don't really care too much about the way Internet Explorer is designed. There needs to be a better way to switch between or open new tabs. I find myself fumbling around with the tabs more than I want to. I would also like to see an option to where I can control the top bar's visibility (the one that showcases the battery level, carrier signal, and more). I am not really liking the fact that it isnt locked to the top of the screen, well except for the time. Either show everything or show nothing. I'm also not too impressed by connecting my Gmail accounts to Windows Phone 8 and having the mail app showcase my Gmail emails. Windows Phone 8 really needs an official Gmail app for those of us who still enjoy using our Gmail service.
What I miss about Android
It has been a week now since I have left Android for Windows Phone 8 and there are a few things that I miss. The very first thing that I miss is the ability to see what apps are running in the background and having the ability to swipe them closed. Windows Phone 8 really needs that ability. We've seen leaked screenshots of an early build of the new Notification Center for Windows Phone 8, but we need one to be finalized and released soon! I also miss Google Now and having the ability to see traffic times on your notifications area in Android. Google Maps was also pretty useful. Looks like its time to begin using Nokia's Here suite and begin learning how to use those apps properly. I also miss having quick access to WiFi and carrier settings via the notifications area in Android, but I guess I can settle with installing an app on Windows Phone 8 to emulate this feature via tiles. I also miss the blinking notification light that most of the Android smartphones have. I'm not too sure if this is more so a device thing or a Windows Phone thing.
Tips and Tricks for Windows Phone 8
I learned a few new things in Windows Phone 8 by doing a little research on the internet. First off, I visited the official "Get started with Windows Phone 8" website and reviewed all the tips and tutorials Microsoft provided. One cool trick I learned deals with the phone's volume. Once you hit the increase or decrease volume button on your phone, you will see a bar pop up at the top of the screen showing you the volume level as well as if the phone is on vibrate or ring. Simply tap on the top right part of the bar to easily switch between vibrate+ring or just vibrate. Also, I enjoy using the Windows Phone app for desktop, which lets you sync files and make adjustments to your phone via your Windows desktop.
Got any more tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments below!
Now, don't get me wrong. Android is great in itself. Android is awesome for those who use most of Google's services. However, for me personally, making the move to Windows Phone 8 was a good choice. It compliments my Windows 8 PC and my Surface RT device. I have high hopes for Windows Phone 8 right now. I may have shied away from Windows Phone in the past, partly due to its low market share. Windows Phone is still behind Google's Android, Apple's iOS, and BlackBerry in terms of market share, with a 1.21% share as of May 2013 according to data from Net Applications. But Windows Phone 8 has potential and it will only get better as Microsoft is already working on the next update to Windows Phone 8. I'm happy to make this change and I am looking forward to what Microsoft has in store for the platform!