The switch From Windows Phone to Android and why I'm afraid to jump ship

As an avid Windows Phone user for more than two years now, I'd like to start with a statement you might not see a lot around here. I love Windows Phone. I've been tied in with the Microsoft ecosystem for years, now, and the platform simply has everything I need. It's got Xbox Music, Xbox Live and Smartglass, Office editing (not that this gets a lot of use), Skydrive integration, and I'm still in love with the People Hub. The visual aesthetic also appeals to me in a way neither iOS nor Android do, though the stock version of the latter is very rapidly catching up.

Here's the problem, though - it's time for an upgrade. I've stayed, begrudgingly at best, with Sprint for ten years, now. I know that both AT&T and Verizon are better carriers in nearly every respect - they both have better LTE coverage and speeds that absolutely blow Sprint's out of the water. I'm also well aware that Sprint's selection of devices is relatively tame, but the point that kills me is that they have no current Windows Phone 8 devices. Worse yet, both the HTC Tiara and whatever Samsung device they decide to bring to market look inadmissibly subpar. The Ativ's cheap plastic body and uninspired design, combined with the WVGA display and 1.2GHz dual core of the Tiara make for two devices that should have been released more than a year and a half ago. The only things keeping me with Sprint at the moment are the pricing and unlimited data, the former being the real selling point.

My experience with Android is relatively limited. I briefly owned an Optimus S, a phone I very quickly discarded after I realized I couldn't deal with an entry level Android phone the way I'd hoped I could. I wonder now how I even convinced myself to buy it, as I knew very well how mediocre a device it was before I purchased it.

Then came along the Nexus 7. It was incredible. Everything about the device just screamed "yes!" to me. It was the perfect size for a tablet, it was stock and promised the latest version of Android, and most important, it was blazing fast. And then there was Google Now, a service that I now wonder how I got along without. I was in love, and for the first time in a year and a half, I questioned my allegiance to Windows Phone.

I don't know exactly when it happened, but just like many of the others I've seen complaining, my Nexus 7 just stopped being fast. Actually, it stopped being useable, almost entirely. Instead of the fantastically zippy little tablet I'd been carrying around before, I now feel like I'm stuck with a sort of junky, cheap device that I just don't like using. Google Now takes 10-15 seconds to get started, the keyboard chugs along at molasses pace, and it locks up on me daily.

Now that it's time to upgrade, I've got my eyes on the HTC One. The One is gorgeous hardware, it's got an incredible screen, and from what I've seen, it's fast. Really fast. In fact, it's got pretty much everything I'd want in a phone.

Except it's Android.

I'm so afraid of buying the device, loving it for six months, and then hating it for the rest of my two year contract. I know that one can generally expect some slowdown over time with a device, but I have to say, my more than two year old midrange WP7 device now feels faster than my year old Nexus 7. Is it just something to be expected of Android, for a device to descend, rapidly or not, into a pit of slow, bogged down uselessness? Is my future HTC One doomed to fall into the same category of frustrating to use devices that my Nexus 7 now resides in?