Switching from Android to Windows Phone Finale: Review and roundup
Over the last month or so, we have gone through what to expect if you make the decision to switch from Android to Windows Phone. We have covered initial impressions, missing features, stock apps, the 3rd party app Marketplace, and options if you want to keep your Google services. Now, it’s time for some final thoughts.
Obviously, the most diehard Android fans would never consider this switch, but this series hasn’t been written for those people. This series has been for those who may like Android, but not love it, or for those who are flat out frustrated with the variations in UI and slow updates that are core characteristics of the Android ecosystem. Maybe you are looking for a change, you want a full-featured smartphone, but you don’t want to jump on a sinking ship like BlackBerry, and the Apple world isn’t your style. If you live in America, Symbian and bada aren’t options, so that just leaves Windows Phone, which is a platform many don’t consider, but it does offer a quality experience that covers the needs of the majority of users.
Making the choice
The vast majority of users don’t need the advanced options available with Android. That’s why iOS has such a dedicated following, and why Windows Phone has the potential to gain share in the market. As much as power-users can’t believe it possible sometimes, a simple, integrated solution with enough apps is all many users want or need. A lot of times, it’s just a question of how long you want the learning curve to be. iOS and WP7 have pretty short learning curves (and WP7 has a great built-in tutorial to speed it up more), while Android’s can be quite long if you want to get into the nitty gritty.
If you chose Android as your operating system because of the possibilities in customization, or the matured app ecosystem, or the wide array of hooks and options for app developers to tap into various functions, Windows Phone 7.5 likely isn’t for you. You could very well become enamored with the Metro UI, the subtle animations, and the cohesiveness of the system. And, if you’re not against spending a spending some money, you could certainly find a number of top quality games on the system with the Xbox Live titles. But eventually, there’s a fair chance that Windows Phone will start to feel limited or constricting, much like iOS would, especially if you love the customization options of Android.
The core Windows Phone system can certainly stand up to Android, and even surpass Google’s offerings in some key areas. Anyone going from Windows Phone to Android will no doubt miss the fully functional People app. But, the stock apps and games will only be able to get you so far, and eventually the limitations of the 3rd party apps, the Marketplace itself, and the multitasking of Windows Phone may be too much of a burden. If the thought, “I wish I could do...” crosses your mind with any regularity, there’s a much better chance that Android will allow you to do what you want than Windows Phone in its current state. Perhaps Windows 8 will change that, but we don’t know for sure.
However, if you chose Android because you have been on Verizon or Sprint, or you have been on T-Mobile and Android was simply the best or only option, depending on when you signed up. If you chose Android simply for the option of a cheap handset, and you aren’t what anyone would consider a “power user”, there is quite a lot to enjoy with Windows Phone. The limitations in the apps and in the system as a whole probably won’t matter to about 80-85% of all users, and may not even be noticeable. Additionally, if you’re someone who uses Windows Live more often than Google Apps, Windows Phone can be a far superior option to anything else.
WP7 features and future
The Xbox Live games are great, if a bit pricey, and the Metro UI is one of the most well designed offerings in the mobile world, but really the Office apps are the killer apps for the platform. The options for moderating and adding comments in Word, and the ease of using Excel is far and away better than what Google Docs can offer. Granted, there are rumors that Microsoft will be bringing the Office suite to Android soon enough, so that big advantage may become moot later this year.
In general, Windows Phone is simply very well thought out, and there are often features that you never would have expected, like how in the Zune app (Music & Video app), there is a screen with quick links to all of the other media apps on your device like Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, SuperTube, or BringCast. It’s a feature that you won’t see anywhere else, and may not even notice in WP7 at first, but it’s a really great idea. Instead of having to pin multiple apps to your Start screen, the Zune app really acts like a media hub.
The Windows Phone Marketplace may not have all of the big name apps you’re looking for, but it has options to cover just about any app you may want, and it does have the major essentials like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, ESPN, Pulse, Shazam, Spotify, and Pandora. And, the Marketplace is growing pretty quickly. Microsoft is spending quite a bit to attract developers and Microsoft has pretty deep pockets to make that endeavor work.
Add in the partnership with Nokia, which has brought not only some quality and unique hardware to the Windows Phone ecosystem, but is also adding to the software. Nokia Maps are slowly being folded into Bing Maps, and Nokia has been able to attract a number of exclusives, which will eventually add to the overall Windows Phone app supply.
The promise of Windows 8 is also a very intriguing one, though not really something that should motivate you to choose Windows Phone right now. The idea of having apps that transcend the mobile space and connect to your desktop world is one that fascinates us about the possibility of Windows 8 and Ubuntu for Android. But, at best, that should just make you delay in making a decision to switch right now, and can’t really factor into a purchase decision, because there are too many questions surrounding the functionality. Especially since even if we assume there will be this sort of connectivity between Windows 8 and WP8, there’s no guarantee that the current generation hardware will be part of that ecosystem. The leaks seem to point to WP8 coming to current handsets, but we don’t know if there are caveats or limitations with that upgrade.
It’s always hard to recommend a platform when the current selection of devices could end up being left behind in a few months, but there have been more and more leaks to support the idea that Windows Phone 8 will be pushed to current handsets that we aren’t too worried, especially if you spring for a Nokia device, which seem to have something of a privileged status in the Windows Phone ecosystem. Still, if you value cohesion and design over customization and advanced options, Windows Phone can definitely be a great experience. If you like the design of Windows Phone, but want to keep the advanced functionality, well there’s always Launcher 7 available in the Google Play Store.
6. Credo (Posts: 657; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)
Fandroids, i know you want an 'open source OS', me to actually :) but try using Windows Phone, even if it is a 'prison', Windows Phone don't need to be open, couse its already how i want it, and a lot of other people think the same ...
22. taz89 (Posts: 1895; Member since: 03 May 2011)
I would say the market doesn't agree with you... Not hating on wp7 but for the moment the os is more limited than ios... Hopefully wp8 changes things as I am a huge fan of nokia(the only real reason I got one eye on wp)
27. Credo (Posts: 657; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)
most of them did not tryed out Windows Phone, in the beginning even i did not understand why Nokia has chosen Windows Phone over MeeGo, i only wanted a MeeGo powered device, (N9), and i have spend a little time to work with an Windows Phone powered device, and it was even a better experience than MeeGo, i think thats the problem of a lott off people, they want the same OS, (iOS & Android), but i think if they try out Windows Phone they will realize how good it is, even if it is more limited than iOS ... :)
34. -box- (Posts: 3534; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Technically it isn't as limited as ios, just that there aren't as many apps for it to make up for ios' shortcomings. WP comes with more capabilities out of the box, except perhaps on the Tango models, but those only are inferior on relation to the 4 and 4S.
24. SleepingOz (Posts: 2370; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)
Right, it's how YOU wanted it to be but everyone has different needs and preferences.
I've played with my friend's white Lumia 900. Beautiful device indeed, but I'll never trade my GSII for one.
30. thedarkside (Posts: 639; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
not a fan of WP7, im just not. i even messed around with the lumnia 900 for an hour or so and i couldnt nor wouldnt bring myself to buy one. i like both iOS and android. just not WP7... or blackberry. lol
66. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)
I just don't wanna pay 5-15$ for os if I don't have to
12. sorcio46 (Posts: 392; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Nice articole, but why someone needs to leave Android for WP?
17. demarmj (Posts: 17; Member since: 03 May 2012)
I did it. I don't think this article is trying to pursuade people to make the change. I think it's just a worth while look at the differences. Now a days with how advanced hardware is (compared to the old days when phones were running of 500 mhz processors), any phone choice is solid.
43. android_sucks (Posts: 111; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
Except android because no matter how great the processor is it will still lag on android.
59. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2604; Member since: 26 May 2011)
I'm pretty sure I laid out the reasons why someone would want to switch in the article...
14. kslaughter32296 (Posts: 11; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)
Okay, wp7 and iOS are no where near as good as android- point blank! On android the paid apps are much cheaper, and there are a whole lot of free apps to choose from also. Though my favorite is easymp3 downloader where all I have to do is search for a song, preview it, and download it all for FREE. I haven't paid a penny for mp3s in a long time. First I started with limewire, then went to frost wire, then when frost wire got sucky I went to a YouTube converter, and now that I found out how much easier this is, I use it. And the only ones iOS carries are ones that u have to go to a million websites to get to work, and which sometimes still won't work because no sites offer totally free download of the newest and hottest songs, and wp7 I'm afraid has no such thing for free music downloads.
70. AliNSiddiqui (Posts: 254; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)
New is always better - Barney Stinson
32. jellmoo (Posts: 354; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
So, let me get this straight... Android is better because it's easier to illegally download and/or pirate music with it than with iOS or WP7?
Wow... just wow...
63. nosybummer (Posts: 17; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)
@ jellmoo ..wake up almost everybody downloads pirated music..
but pointing it as an disadvantage..wow
i think you work for the billion dollar studios of hollywood
and pushing for sopa implementation
65. jellmoo (Posts: 354; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Who pointed it as a disadvantage??? I just said that stating a platform is better strictly because it's easier to pirate music is extremely questionable at best. If somebody wants to argue that Android is the best platform, there are plenty of strong arguments to be made that aren't tied into illegal activity.
And just because I don't believe in piracy doesn't make me a supporter of SOPA or some kind of Hollywood stooge. I just don't believe that the excuse "well everyone does it!" is valid.
64. webOSlove (Posts: 101; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)
@kslaughter32296 Not everyone will want a phone for music. I have webOS & if i had to switch , id choose windows phone because well, it mocks webOS better than Android. Yes android copied swipeable notifications & card multitasking, but it still feels extremely unintuitve. WebOS had potential (well still does with Open webOS) & Windows Phone is in my opinion, more attractive than Android
35. -box- (Posts: 3534; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
@Michael H.: you mentioned using Pandora on the Windows Phone; what app did you use, and how did it work? I'm curious because of the current lack of an official app for it
48. -box- (Posts: 3534; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I'll check that one out. I've downloaded Pindora (notice the I, not an A), but am hesitant to use a third party for login info that can lead to financial info (I paid for the no-ads version)
39. android_sucks (Posts: 111; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
When you talk about Android, the Drones come out fighting!!! LOL!!! And they say that iOS has sheep!!!
40. android_sucks (Posts: 111; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
I have used so many android devices and they ALL LAGGED!!!!!! They suck!!!
41. Mube1 (Posts: 153; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
I think u all forget that 101 reasons not to buy a windows phone 7.5
49. -box- (Posts: 3534; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
You should read the rebuttals and comments about those 101 reasons. A significant number of them were wrong, irrelevant, or out of date, and it came down mostly to subjective perception, not objective realism.
That being said, I must applaud Michael H for trying to be open-minded about the switch in these articles
44. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
I've made my decision. I'll wait for Windows Phone Apollo. Thanks Michael!
45. eman99 (Posts: 181; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)
windows is barely in its early stages no way to compare its like going from android to a 1990s phone, march on green army march on
50. -box- (Posts: 3534; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Try an Android phone pre-FroYo (2.2). It's not great. You see the seeds of the excellence that comes in later versions, but Donut and Eclair were far from pleasant to use. Try Blackberry (even the current OS versions). It's not exactly intuitive, but it gets the job done, albeit clumsily and eventually. Try Windows Mobile, or Palm OS, or pre-s^3 versions of Symbian. Try iOS (still the same boring app-launcher) They're all inelegant, choppy, and a little bass-ackwards in places, if we're honest. No OS is perfect. The point I'm making is that those were/are OSes that were in their initial stages of development, and eventually got better or died out, or remained unchanged due to stubborness or heavy investment (ios, Blackberry). In terms of OS evolution and development, WindowsPhone blows all those out of the water, and is arguably the most innovative and easy-to-use mobile OS (possibly even electronic screened-gadget OS) yet, and it's still being improved and developed. Yes, it doesn't have all the capabilities of Android (yet), and it won't have all the same options one would have with Android or Symbian (ROMs, complete OS modification, user-viewable file folders, etc), but for most smartphone users, those that want the phone to be a bit more than a phone but a bit less than a computer, it'll be great, and already is good. Intuitive, straight-forward, uncluttered. Nothing to mess up or break, nothing that will cause the system to go haywire by accidentally enabling or disabling it. A highly polished app ecosystem and UI/UX for ease of use and understanding, which, while small, is still growing at record-breaking rates.
Put all your other mobile devices away for a couple weeks, try a Windows Phone for that time, and you might be surprised at just what it really can do. I'm a long-time Symbian user myself, and I've used 2 Android phones for quite a while, and recently acquired a Nokia Lumia 900, and honestly, the ONLY things I miss from the prior ecosystems are the physical call/disconnect and menu multi-use buttons from the Symbian/Nokia phones (great for using the phone as an alarm clock, don't have to look at the screen, just go by feel!), being able to set my own ringtones/alarms/notifications (though there are ways around that, just more convoluted than Android or Symbian), and that the game manufacturers don't yet have their full portfolio on Windows Phone (Zynga most noticeably, as Electonic Arts, Glu, and GameLoft are pretty well represented). That's it. Yes, I don't have the ability to put on a custom ROM and fiddle with the phone more. Yes, I don't have any wallpaper behind my LiveTiles. Yes, I don't have a super HD screen. But honestly, that's OK. The phone works, it doesn't beg for any tinkering. Having a background image would mess up what the LiveTiles do, especially the People Hub, Music Hub, and XBox Live tile. HD screens look great, but use up processing and battery power, and I haven't yet missed the differences.
60. jroc74 (Posts: 3621; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Windows is barely in its early stages....and yet MS has been doing mobile OS's looong before Apple and Google.
WP7 has been out since late 2010. In that same length of time....Android has soared in popularity.
Did we all forget that once upon a time Win Mo was 1 or 2 in market share? Or are most of yall 2 young to know or remember...
Thats says alot about Android...and MS, WIn Mo, WP7....
51. Mozarrt (Posts: 287; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)
I'm a huge fan of Windows Phone at the moment, I prefer it's smoothness and slickness to what you can find on Android and Symbian (used the Xperia S and E7), I know it does miss some apps but the quality of many of the apps does beat what I can find on the other platforms. It has won me over, but if I find something I prefer more I'll just try that.
Android users complain about "iSheep", but at the moment some of them are sucking up to Google's Opensource OS more than most "iSheep".
52. MartyK (Posts: 665; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)
It not that we are sucking up, it's just with every release of Android things gets better and better. It's like every release is a birthday gift for people who loves to push and tinker with technology. Android was a gift from the Technology Gods. what I mean is this, you can get the same phone from the same carrier and they will be different (UI wise), I have the sprint version of the GS2 and even tho it's GS2, it's 100% different from other Sprint GS2 (UI); Android is only limited ( UI) by your imagination, you can add items from different Android phones (Moto-HTC-Samsung) to your android phone, and this is the beauty of Android, no two android phone will look like each other no matter of the Manuf.
Now, Android user we do argue/tease each other over Carrier/Manuf/Roms and stuff like that, but it's out of love and fun..this is why the Green Army will always March on!.. :0
Verizon suck btw...lol
69. android_sucks (Posts: 111; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
Thumbs up for the Verizon comment!!! Lol!!!
54. parkwaydr (Posts: 572; Member since: 07 Sep 2011)
Good article Michael, PA really needs more writers like you.
55. Mohamed_Abdulkareem (Posts: 42; Member since: 15 May 2012)
Its really hard to switch from droid to WP. may b after 3 years from now. WP is grwoing slowly but healthily. it still a child but it will be a strong man after. Droid is now the strong youngman with IOS.
56. ryq24 (Posts: 428; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
android will beat apple simply because its an open system. Except for nokia and apple, of course, (duh!) all major and small phonemaker uses android. But the ability of apple to influence how smartphone are made is something that cannot be ignored like design of unit(samsung galaxy s2) to non-inclusion of micro sd card and non-removable beattery and use of micro-sim card were all started by apple.
67. denied911 (banned) (Posts: 361; Member since: 31 May 2012)
"According to information provided by Microsoft and Nokia, due to hardware limitations WP7 phones like the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900 will not be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, which is expected to be released in late 2012. Instead, Microsoft might be providing a feature upgrade to mimic features introduced with WP8 on WP7 phones."
68. androidornothing (Posts: 141; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)
I love Nokia that's probably the only reason I would get wp7. But if Nokia makes Android that would be sickk
71. Stevey (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)
I like both phones actually. I like different functionalities in the phones, but everything is great for what I use them :)
I found a really informative article on Ozeki Phone System Xe's page, I think it can help if you need to choose.