Going from iOS to Android to WP... and how it feels

iPhone as a start

After many years of feeling like something was always wrong with the look and feel of the OS of my Sony Ericsson, Nokia, HTC, Motorola etc.... it all finally fell into place when Apple announced the iPhone. I used to be a designer and still good design can win a battle over functionality for me. I've had the iPhone (and upgraded to all other iPhones) since day one and I loved the experience (jailbreaking made sure it never got boring). In my opinion nothing came close in usability, look and feel, smoothness and consistency. But when the iPhone 4S was announced I was really disappointed (the iPhone 5 should've been what the iPhone 4S was) and a couple of months later I got the Galaxy Nexus because it fascinated me (thanks to The Verge) and I would only want the pure Google experience, so Touch Wiz or Sense were a no go.

iOS to Android

Coming from the iPhone I was really disappointed by the quality of the 3rd party Android apps. They almost always looked and felt worse, dated (Gingerbread style design), open-sourcy, etc. The functionality is all there, but the design was just not comparable with iOS where the 3rd party apps feel like they are part of the OS. After almost a year with the Galaxy Nexus I got used to it and frankly most apps did get updated with the Google styled Holo theme. Still the OS and the apps feel open-sourcy (I don't know how to better describe it) and animations don't feel natural (they are fast, but they don't look and feel modern) like on iOS.

Android to WP

Since WP7 I was always attracted to the look of Metro, but I was not so brave to take the plunge. After the announcement of WP8 and after installing Windows 8, I knew I had to buy a Lumia. So half november I got the Lumia 920. I was already used to taking a step down in 3rd party apps, so going from iOS to Android to WP is a good way to accept the shortcomings of the Store :) Some apps are really great looking and have great functionality, but to be honest, most of them are lacking big time. They can't be compared to iOS or Android in functionality. This comes next to the fact that many localized apps aren't available and you have to resort to a RSS reader like Weave (which is a beautiful app) or the browser. The browser on the other hand doesn't always render sites like on iOS or Android, giving you an even worse experience of the site you would normally have an app for.

But..... the OS is really amazing. It is something different.... really different from iOS and Android which in my opinion work (and to some extent look) the same. The design is really consistent (Android is not) and the animations are maybe even on a higher level than iOS. Also the integration of different services and accounts is really good. I'm very impressed with what Microsoft has done here. Of course the OS isn't ready and some 3rd party apps (that are WP7 leftovers) can make the OS feel unstable, but when they get updated (or if you find an alternative app) and the first fixes are pushed out, the OS is a great contender for iOS and Android.

The waiting game....

The only thing left are the apps. Like I said, they aren't on the same level as the competition and developers need to really be motivated to step up their game. The OS has a lot of potential, but in my opinion, if developers don't see a reason to invest in WP, it won't have a future for me. To be honest, when I really think about it, I feel like I'm making a lot of compromises to use WP when I compare it to the iPhone. Right now I love the OS so much that I can live with it, but the big question for me is: how long am I willing to compromise....