One of the fun things about my job is the ability to research and try out the latest and greatest technologies. Currently the new Windows just keeps impressing me. My latest gadget that I have been spending quality time with is a Windows Phone 8. It has been an enlightening experience that has caused me to re-think technology and really narrow in on need versus want.
My first smartphone was an iPhone. It was cool at the time and did things that were unheard of before (this was a 3s to give you some time perspective). I enjoyed its ease of use, stability and large variety of apps. Unfortunately it lacked any real customization options and became quite boring.
Phone #2 was an Android. My primary objective here was customization and LTE support. This phone (HTC Thunderbolt) offered a larger screen and impressive specs at the time. The Android environment let me do pretty much anything I wanted. Apps that had screen widgets were my favorite things ever. I loved being able to quickly check small bits of information at a glance. My issues with Android can’t really be blamed on the OS per se. For one the updates that were available were non-existent. I was stuck with the version that I started with, unlike iOS that updates regularly. The apps also seemed very “wild west” to me. I got to a point where I really didn’t feel safe downloading anything, even from the Google app store. The phone and applications also seemed to crash a lot. This could be due to not being able to keep current on the base OS, but it was still frustrating and soured my experience.
So here I am now on my third mobile OS, Windows Phone 8. So far I’m going to say it’s the best of both worlds. I have a locked OS and application store for better security, I have the ability to customize my device, and the live tiles work like the widgets on Android, and the interface is extremely slick. Something else I have noticed and have come to appreciate and enjoy, is that I really haven’t needed to download any apps to accomplish what I need to do. The phone has the mobile version of Office on it, so I can view and edit documents, spreadsheets, etc. It has native integration into social media that gets me the information I need in a format that in my opinion is easier to navigate and much more stable than the mobile versions of popular sites (I’m looking at you Facebook!) The included Bing app replaces 4 apps I needed on my older phones by including search, barcode scanning, mapping, and “name that tune” type applications just to name a few. The only things I have needed/wanted to download are USA Today, Flixter and a ringtone app. Windows phone is also just as easy to use as iOS, so those less tech-savy users won’t have any issues, and IT will be happy because it “just works” with current windows environments without any special tweaks needed.