This is My Next: Mine

The past few weeks have been very exciting in the Technology world, more specifically the Mobile space. Over the past 1-2 months, we’ve had the iPhone 5 announcement and release and in the past week, we’ve had Microsoft fully unveil their arsenal of devices and Google release information about their upcoming device. I, myself have been on the hunt for a new device, and until just within the last few days was very confused on what I will use as my “Next”. I think I have finally come to a decision.

Let me preface by telling you about the phone that I am currently wielding, a HTC One X that is currently running Android 4.1 Jellybean. I accomplished this by flashing a ROM from the wonderful developers over at XDA. To say the experience with Android 4.1, or “JellyBean” which I will be calling it for the rest of this post, is wonderful. Everything is fast, responsive, and everything is kind of “in the right place”. What I mean by that is that everything seems to be where I expect it. Everything from Google Now which gives me Search, Weather, and other information that I may or may not have wanted is all there at the click of a button. Also the screen is simply the best screen on a phone today, the 1280×720 display on the HTC One X is bright, crisp, and super clear with that IPS Gorilla glass covered display. The iPhone and phones like the Galaxy Nexus pale in comparison to the HTC One X when it comes to the display. It’s all wonderful, it really is, but not without some glaring issues.

Now this wonderful experience is not without gripes, a huge one being the battery life. I am able to get 7-9 hours of using the phone with around 2-2.5 hours of on screen time. Which in layman’s means “shitty” battery life. I can’t go anywhere without plugging this phone into the wall for a top up of a charge. It is simply unacceptable, which is why I vowed to myself that my next phone will have “acceptable” battery life. That is #1 on my priority list. Another annoyance is the lack of continuity in Android, Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” was a huge step for making Android “Useable”. Before ICS I personally thought that Android was ugly and unusable, it was simply, ugly… for a lack of better words. That being said, I started my journey to find a new phone for this Holiday season which included the iPhone 5, Nexus 4, and a Windows Phone of some sort (Nokia Lumia 920/HTC 8x).

To say the iPhone is a bad phone is just pure nonsense, it is a wonderful piece of hardware. The screen is still top notch, its fast and it does pretty much you ask of it. I know this because, I previously used an iPhone 4 for close to 2 years, and at that time the iPhone 4 was simply the best phone you could buy back in 2010. Nothing came close to it, it just had that “WOW” factor when you saw and held it. Fast forward to 2012, I just don’t get that same feeling with the iPhone 5. Yes, it is solid. Yes, it is a svelte looking device, but unfortunately its just not device for me. To me, the OS is outdated and dull, they have been using the same rows of icons for the past 5 years. All of the contextual menus and graphics seem like they are from 2007 (which is when they were actually from) I just don’t see anything from iOS that makes me want to jump and play with it for the next year or so. I feel like iOS is taking the ways of Blackberry, which created a super successful device/devices and went with it for a couple years making very iterative updates. Not saying iterative is bad, its just that when you have devices that are coming at full force and innovating constantly, iterative does not work. To say Apple is being “safe” is an understatement, they are at a point in their OS where their progression is at a stalemate and I hope for their sake, they snap out of that.

Google has just announced their newest member to their Nexus portfolio, the Nexus 4, which is a very clean and simple looking device. Taking design cues from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and a little bit from the iPhone 4 design, it is simple and uninspired. Not saying that its boring, but its very utilitarian which is good for looking “professional”, its like having an all black car with black wheels, very nice and clean, but you could tell its owner also likes to wear black and is colored uninspired. But the hardware on this device is not the focus here, the focus here is the software. It will ship with Android 4.2 (JellyBean) in its purest form. I cannot stress how important that is to me after using countless devices that do not use Stock Android. HTC Sense and Samsung’s TouchWiz are culprits of this bad design/skin which makes me very upset. Not only do these skins look clunky and toyish, they slow down the overall performance of a device like the HTC One X. That is why, as I previously stated, I flashed a ROM on the HTC One X I curently own, which is something that I never want to do again. It is a very scary experience, although you do get a good feeling of accomplishment when you finally do get it to work followed by a “what do I do now” feeling. Something that ultimately can be avoided by having a Stock Android device like the Nexus 4 or Galaxy Nexus. To say that I was not excited about the upcoming Nexus, which would ultimately become the Nexus 4 would be an understatement. I really wanted this to be my next phone, I really genuinely did, but to Google’s dismay, they let me down. They come up with this quality hardware which carries an IPS+ HD display, a Quad Core CPU, and 2gbs of ram only to be let down by omitting LTE. HOW CAN YOU LEAVE LTE OUT OF THIS EQUATION! I understand that costs may have gotten in the way, or the bands of LTE in America and the rest of the world are different, but please if you would have made an LTE phone that was $450, instead of $350, I still would have bought it. That says how much I enjoy using Android 4.0+ and desperately need LTE. That being said, No LTE, No Go.

This leaves me with Windows Phone… HTC has come out with a compelling product which is going to release for 3 of the national carriers in the United States. It is Microsoft’s “Signature” Windows Phone device and it is thin and light, which to its benefit, nice. It just doesn’t compel me enough to go and want it, I don’t lust over it at all, it just seems like another Windows Phone to me. But the Lumia 920 has me salivating. There is just something about the overall design language behind Nokia. It is clean and simplistic, yet bold and daring at the same time. using clean lines and bold colors really makes me say “Wow”. It is a phone I crave, but not without its tradeoffs. The Nokia Lumia 920 runs Windows Phone 8, which is a brand new OS that is based off the Windows NT kernal instead of the old CE kernal that Windows Phone 7 was based off of. What does that mean? It means that more applications are going to be ported and enabled for the device. It also means that the OS will be able to handle more competitive hardware as well. Which for me, is huge because I experienced Windows Phone 7 on an old Samsung Focus. Everything on that phone was buttery smooth, but the load times were delayed and there was some sort of “slowness” throughout the phone. I could tell it wasn’t actually the OS, but the hardware pushing the OS. It was a futuristic OS, stuck on ancient hardware. Fast forward to present day, we have cutting edge hardware, pushing a cutting edge OS. This is exciting. Not to be without its doubts though, where are all the apps? How is this Ecosystem going to work as I have a MacBook Pro and variety of Android devices. These are questions that I want answers too, but I don’t worry, I know that with Microsoft’s support, it will thrive and be the OS of the future. At least that’s what I’m putting my bets on.

With all that being said, I am going to make that plunge into the deep end and go with the Nokia Lumia 920. It’s just a phone that gives me that same feeling I got back in 2010 with the iPhone 4. It is something that I want to give a whirl and kind of feel “different”. I feel like i’m pitching an Apple commercial with the whole “Think Different” phrase, but its true, the look and feel of Windows Phone is so Radical that it compels me to want to go out and buy the Lumia 920.

Thoughts, Questions, Concerns