When shopping for smartphone replacements two years ago I vowed to try something different. The iPhone was at that time a fad, 65-70 year old grandmas had one, preteens had them, moms, dads, etc. You get the gist, everyone had one. So I took a stance to be different and look where it got me.
I did not get an iPhone so obviously I picked up myself a chintzy Android phone right? Wrong! I walked out the door with a Nokia 822 Windows Phone. It was different, the sales associates didn’t know how to use them so it took a decade and half for them to “burn” my number into the device. I previously had an Android phone and while it was an okay experience the fragmentation of the OS is a huge problem. A device released a few months ago might have one version while a device released a day after might have another. I’m not talking about older hardware not capable of the new OS I’m talking recent hardware. I expect Google to rectify this on current hardware. They all should be running the same version no if’s and’s or but’s.
So, I have this new, great phone why am I unhappy now? It’s not fragmentation, but I’m sure that will occur in the next year or so. Less than a dozen OEM’s use Windows Phone and most, if not all of the devices have hardware capable of at least running the latest version. The problem though is one shared with Android and that’s carrier “certification”. Picture this you’re running Windows 95 and it was just announced that the update to Windows 98 is available and Microsoft is touting it’s features, speed, etc. The big problem though is all of our computers need to get our OS upgrades from the OEM we purchased it from. Great you say, I want that I’ll go press the UPDATE NOW button in my Control Panel. The hourglass appears on your screen and you decide to go refill your coffee mug thinking it will update and be ready a little bit later. You return later to find instead of an updated computer you find one that says “You’re running the latest version”. You try the same UPDATE NOW button from that point then on and on each day for three, four or more months. Finally a decade later after you had forgotten about the blasted update you get bored and press the button and magically things download and install and you’re running Windows 98. The next day Microsoft announces Windows 7 so you mark your calendar eight years ahead for when it will show up as an update. Carriers need to shove this certification where the sun doesn’t shine, become developer partners with Microsoft and do that crap during the beta testing so when Microsoft say’s it’s ready your customer base isn’t confused as to why one say’s it ready but another says no, it’s not ready. Apple says “Okay iOS 8 is released, go download it”. iPhone users seeing this pull out their devices and update them. Point Apple.
The second reason. App ecosystem. The Windows Store was barren when I bought my phone, and I was mostly okay with that. I don’t live on my phone and I only needed a small subset of Applications that I absolutely needed. The problem though was they weren’t available on the platform and the common excuse developers big and small gave was the fact that they only have so many resources and the install base for WP8 is low. Let’s not forget that Microsoft shoves money and resources at developers to get them to develop Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps. Despite that it’s still a common go-to excuse. These days the Windows Store (phone) has many big name apps, but in between them are two to three dozen Facebook apps (Who the heck charges for an app that accesses Facebook?). Then after you weed through the Facebook cruft you see oddities from Indian, indonesian or chinese developers with some pretty wishy washy titles. In between the cruft you see scary ones like the token bible thumper apps or ones requiring payment to access free services (see above). You’ll find some stinkers like these on the iOS App Store, but it has dozens more great apps to counteract the smell. Point Apple.
I’ll keep this last one to a minimum I hate the email app. The GMAIL integration is nasty and poor quality. I do throughly enjoy the keyboard and think it’s on par or slightly better than Apple’s.
So what is the conclusion that required some 740 odd words. I’m going iPhone this next round. iPhone 6 here I come.