Nexus 4 to Nokia 925...
"We are Going to Wow the Industry" : These were the words of Steve Ballmer in 2010 on WP.
And yes it really needed a Nokia 925 & its awesome Camera, for me, to finally embrace the WP operating system. It was not that I didn't like the operating system but it was always the negativity around the operating system everywhere that kept me away from giving it a try.
But the moment I saw the Nokia 925 being released in May, I had decided that this is it! I am not going to wait any further and finally got myself a Nokia 925.
To my surprise WP is definitely not as unusable as many try to portray everywhere. Its definitely every bit usable and is actually a joy to use.
Android vs WP 8
I have seen people spending endless hours on trying to make Android home screens look as cool as possible. By employing UCCW widgets, trying custom launchers, overlapping widgets, rooting and 100 other things. But the basic problem that Android home screen layouts & Custom Launchers face is that, they don't make sense at all!
Going by the pure look and feel of it, Android basically appears to be iOS + a Live Wallpaper + Widgets. None which are implemented well at all!! Adding a live wallpapers & Widgets suck battery like crazy. 95% of live wallpapers are so bad that you can't even see the icons on the screen properly. Having widgets pose anathor problem that they are implemented by third party app developers who are not bound by any rules of creating widgets. As a result all we see is non uniformly designed widgets.
When it comes to Windows Phone, you are stuck by simplicity of the operating system. But in my view Windows Phone is a nice mixture of having Widgets implemented as Live tiles & static tiles acting as icons. Not only these look clean on the screen but are uniformly designed as well.
I was worried about the fact I would have to lose many of most used apps when I switch. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that WP has covered me very well here.
I was initially shocked to find out that, my most used app, Runkeeper is not available on WP. But fortunately I have found caledos Runner, using the same runkeeper account. In fact appears Caledos Runner is better than the original app. There were many minor bugs and usability issues with Runkeeper but they seem to have been ironed out nicely with Caledos Runner. The developers have definitely put in a lot of thought in coming up with the beautiful and very informative widget as well.
Loss of Flipboard, Pocket and pinterest. Yes none of these popular titles are available on WP. I use these apps a lot and was sad to miss out on these. But there are enough alternatives for all of these.
Bing News, Sports and Stocks have covered up the loss of Flipboard very well. The Pouch app seems to be fully functional Pocket client with features even topping Pocket app on Android. Pinsation has covered up the pInterst very well. Though it would be nice to have these official apps on Windows Phone but none of them are being missed here, thanks to fully functional alternatives & awesome developers who thought of building them.
The Windows Phone & Nokia Extras
All the Nokia extras are fully functional and I love using each one of them.
The offline maps are truly offline and GPS works on WP even without a data plan!!
The Nokia Music is probably the most underrated app in Windows Phone ecosystem. I love the offline mixes that are provided here particularly.
The Nokia Glance & high sensitive screen are nice editions to the whole phone as well.
Microsoft Tellme: I was also happy to find out that Tellme actually recognizes my Indian Accent very well. None of which was ever possible on Google Now or SIRI.
The excellent stand by time of WP needs special mention. I charged the phone overnight fully and was surprised to find out that my battery is still at 98%. This was crazy and unbelievable at first sight!!
I feel, Windows Phone is missing the following things, which if covered can make the puzzle complete:
1. The Rotation lock.
2. The Multitasking Solution: The way WP handles multitasking is very tricky. In fact, It actually needed a day for me to figure this out. A back button makes sure apps are closed where as home button puts them to background which is not intuitive totally and needs some getting used to.
I think WP needs to learn something about multitasking from its Big brother W8 and implement it in the same way. Of course it also needs to lift the limit of 8 apps as well. The process has to be as intuitive as possible since that is something which not many non technical users can understand.
3. Support OpenGL for Games.
4. Multiple profiles for Sounds: I feel this is the most missed feature on WP. WP needs to handle Music & Ringer volumes separately.