Switching from Android to Windows Phone Part 1: initial impressions and missing features

Making a change or choosing a new mobile platform can be a big step. Our mobile devices are more and more important in our daily lives, so the choice we make for our hardware and software dictates a lot of how we interact on a daily basis...
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21. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

That definitely is an issue. I'm a pretty big dude, so my hands are just not designed for a 3.7" phone. That's why I loved Swype so much. It wasn't just faster, but faster using one finger. The WP keyboard is very good though. The stock ICS keyboard is on par with it, maybe a bit better because it doesn't have the wonkiness with autocorrect.

30. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

are u using the keyboard in portrait or landscape? If your using it in landscape, i urge you to force yourself to use it in portrait. The auto correct works really well that way. If my uncoordinated thumbs can speed type on WP7 in portrait, so can u!!! :)

47. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

mostly, i've been using it portrait, and still having the issues with autocorrect.

48. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

is it just not choosing the right words? are you adding in slang? The reason I ask is I have pretty much no complains on the HD7's autocorrect and find it to be about the best there is around. Android couldnt give it a run for its money until ICS which I think we all agree is way better than it was. I assumed it would be the exact same on your Radar.

54. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

It's just flat out not correcting mistyped words.

63. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

wow.. then there is something odd going on. Have you gone into the settings and made sure that its all set up properly? it should pretty much just auto correct everything without you even thinking about it.

149. poojaroy

Posts: 52; Member since: Apr 29, 2012

well said and true

197. Archan_Pe

Posts: 74; Member since: Apr 08, 2012

So true, if there is one thing i hate about android is its their keyboard, I hate it, kinda unresponsive, i prefer my N9's better... but out all of the keyboards ive seen the windows phone keyboard looks like its the best.. sitting side by side with the iOS

205. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

@ jubbing Stock ICS keyboard > iPhone keyboard. Touch is better. Auto correct is MUCH better. Plus it's easier to type on a bigger screen.

7. Daca01

Posts: 10; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

In WP there's no widgets as in Android.

12. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Live Tiles do the same job as widgets

44. android_sucks

Posts: 111; Member since: Jul 28, 2011

They are awesome and Windows is sooooooo responsive. Love it!!!

154. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I found that live tiles are mentioned a lot, but I have yet to see some specific examples that are more than a number indicating how many emails you have or the contant flashing of various pictures in the contacts live tile. All example I have been able to find seem to show very little useful information and perhaps some eye candy. It's been a year and a half now and I have yet to see a live tile that is as functional as the widgets I have on my Android phone. I think the most functional live tile I have seen is the weather one. On my Android phone, I have widgets that are full screen and show Facebook and Twitter updates as well as email and messages. I can scroll through these and reply or expand a particular item in the widget. I also have a widget that shows sports scores and I can tap on the up or down arrow to cycle through other games or select other leagues. I have a widget that allows me to cycle through 3 different screen brightnesses. I have a widget that allows me to turn the notification sounds off or turn on louder as I need. What I would like to know is if there are apps on Windows phone that allow me to do these things. I have yet to actually see one. None of the videos I see that demo Windows Phone shows anything comparable with the use of live tiles. They're mostly dead tiles or show very limited useful information with no demonstration of functionality that exceeds or meets that of Android widgets. Do you have any really cool and useful live tiles on your Windows Phone that you can show me that would impress me? I would really like to see some as I have not found any.

164. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

The best one I've got is one that keeps the info for a selected NBA game updated live. The personal contact ones are good too, because they will flash between the person's picture and their latest Facebook/Twitter update. Rowi is good, Fuse, USA Today. I've heard good things about Weather Flow, but haven't tried it yet. I'm still pretty new to all of this. Tomorrow will make one week with WP, so that's all I know. No such thing as a scrollable Live Tile, and as yet you have to have a developer unlocked WP to get WiFi toggles and things like that. Live Tiles can't completely cover the functionality of widgets, but they are pretty solid nonetheless. The thing that Android users don't always seem to understand is that Live Tiles make up the functionality of both widgets and shortcuts. Not only can you get a Live Tile that will update data regularly, but you can use them to deep link into apps to make it easier to get to certain functions.

177. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Thank you, Michael for your quick response. I'm interested in this deep link into apps that you mentioned. Perhaps as an Android user, I don't quite understand what you mean by that. I would be interested in how it makes it easier to get to various functions. As you have only used it for a week, you are likely still getting use to WP and learning its various features. I would be interested if you or someone more familiar with Windows Phone would write an article that highights Windows Live Tiles. I have been an Android user for a year and a half now, I would be comparing any new phone or OS with my existing Android phone. I have been taking advantage of the functionality of the various widgets on my phone. The Android widgets set a pretty high standard for functionality on a mobile device or OS. My impressions of Windows Phone widgets are that they can provide better eye candy with cool transitions. As for functionality, I question whether flipping between a person's picture and their Facebook update is really that useful. I'd rather just see the updates since what the person said is more important than the person's picture. I think I have also only seen live tiles that were 1x1 or 2x1. Android widgets come in many sizes from 1x1 to 4x4 (whole screen). Does Windows Phone allow for larger live tiles? I feel that sometimes a very large live tile is needed for some applications. It is possible that some cool and useful use of live tiles is yet to be created or found. I find that there are a few very good and useful Android widgets, but there are a lot of crappy ones. For many apps, I do not find the widget all that useful and just open the app instead of putting the widget on my home screen.

182. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

What I mean by deep linking is that you can pin specific notes from a notes app to your start screen. Or you can pin specific Twitter users or lists (depending on the app you have), or pin the weather from different cities. Things like that. So rather than launching an app and drilling down to what you want, many times you can pin a link straight to your destination. Android 2.x had this in the form of "Shortcuts", but users never understood/knew about it, so in Android 4.0 it has been folded into Widgets.

207. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Android shortcuts are somewhat misunderstood. It took me a while to realise that shortcuts existed. I do find that the functionality of widgets can emulate that of shortcuts on Android phones. Perhaps that is why ICS merged them. The features you mentioned seem to be more to do with the functionality of the app rather than the functionality of live tiles versus widgets/shortcuts. I have seen similar functionality in other apps where a widget or shortcut allows you to launch right into a specific entity of an app instead of having to launch the app first.

203. doubleD

Posts: 78; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

@Stuntman - The difference in Live Tiles vs widgets was perhaps the biggest reason I returned an HTC Trophy almost a year ago. I was curious about WP7 and upgraded from a Droid2 to the Trophy. While the Trophy was a nice looking phone, the OS is much more similiar to iOS. What I mean by that is that it's a nice, clean, interface, but doesn't seem functional until you launch an app, even with the Live Tiles. There was nothing the Live Tiles did "live" that a widget on my Droid couldn't do much better with more functionality and customization.(i.e. the widget examples you listed above). I really tried to like the Trophy, but I returned it after 10 days and got the Droid 3 on the day it came out.

204. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

that's funny, i was faced with the same choice when i was ready to upgrade from my Droid 2. i chose the Droid 3 over the Trophy too. the Droid 3 was one of the best phones i ever had, if not THE best.

181. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i actually prefer Live Tiles over Widgets for their cleaner look and i would imagine that with WP8 that they'll be re-sizable too which would be a big plus.

8. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Thank you for this wonderful article Michael. I was thinking about moving to Windows Phone lately. I e-mailed "Phone Arena Knows Best" and I'm still hoping to get a reply though. :) it's precisely about this topic and more. Keep up the good work PA.

18. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

glad to help. I'll be continuing this series soon enough. In a few days, I'll probably have a piece on finding the right apps, and transitioning services.

26. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

well, i haven't really transfered yet to the WP bandwagon since the update to Apollo isn't still confirmed, and being left behind sucks. can i request for some information in your upcoming articles about wp devices being jailbreaked since I know nothing about that and other hacking stuff, and if zune is bothersome since it's like iTunes syncing, and Android has nothing like that. I'm not really well versed in th openness or closed ness of WP and this is a major factor for my decision on getting a Lumia ASAP. Thanks again Michael!

27. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

all of that is planned, although the hacking will probably be the very last piece, so that may be about a month away.

34. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

I was gonna ask if you were going to dive into WP7's hacking underworld for the report. Its a whole different ballgame when you get DeepShining hackers marketplace installed on the device. Bob, if your interested in hacking, your best bet is to look through XDA for the phone of your choice, or do a general google search. I have experience hacking WP7 on my HTC HD7, and its not that hard. The DeepShining alt market gives you apps that add a lot of missing functionality to the OS.

198. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

thanks for that! will do it since I have never heard of it... but until the update to apollo is confirmed, i must not rush. :)

45. android_sucks

Posts: 111; Member since: Jul 28, 2011

Xbox live games are fabulous! Some are a bit pricey but there alot of good free games. Enjoy!!

31. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

One concern I had was about the screen sizes.... HTC has had the HD7 and the Titan (and now TItan 2) with larger than 4" screens, so it's not a "recent" change

68. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

And the Focus S has a 4.3" as well

9. nyamo

Posts: 274; Member since: Mar 19, 2011

jubbling, i don't know if you ever rooted an android device, but the fact that we have a battery percent right where the old icon was is awefully nice. no need for extra apps, widgets, always there at a glance. i had a samsung focus for a few months to try it out and it just wasn't for me. i recall the only way for me to see a battery % was to go into some dev mode screen that you had to input some code on the dialar to access. not too friendly. the one thing that keeps me from picking up another win phone is the integration with zune is too high. i understand using it to push updates to phones is a great idea, but needing zune to push or pull anything on or off the phone was a tad bit too apple like for me. ics is somewhat killing that for me with MTP instead of UMS, perhaps with win8 will bring UMS function i'll think about trying it out again

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