Smartphone doldrums: Time to go Windows Phone

Smartphone doldrums: Time to go Windows Phone

Summary: I've owned both Android phones and one iPhone or another for years, and they bore me. Having looked at friends' Windows Phones, I'm thinking it's time to switch.

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I am in an unusual position in that I try lots of mobile gear. I've tested and owned lots of smartphones, and I regularly use Android and iOS. While both platforms are good, I am becoming increasingly bored with them on the phone.

Nokia 1520
(Image: Nokia)

This boredom has resulted in curtailing what I do on my phone. I used to do all sorts of things on whatever phone was with me, but now I pretty much just use the phone for calls and texting.

The iPhone and Android phone are boring. I remember when I smiled while using my phone, but vaguely.

That change is partially due to the tablet, as I usually have one with me and execute the tasks I used to do on the phone. Even so, if I wasn't so bored with the phone I'd probably still use it for some of those tasks on the go.

Now that I realize how bored I am with my phones, I believe it might be time for a change. This realization hit me recently when out with some friends in town for Microsoft's TechEd conference. I was in the unusual position of being surrounded by Windows Phones.

There were big ones and little ones, colorful ones and bland ones. There were phones with cameras with more MP than my old Android phone has storage. There were a few Nokia handsets and some other brands.

Seeing all these Windows Phones got me thinking, always a dangerous situation. I watched their owners flicking and swiping away, usually with smiles on their faces. I remember when I smiled while using my phone, but vaguely.

Now I am seriously checking out Nokia Lumia Windows Phones. Perhaps a giant 1520 with its six-inch screen would be the one, although I'm not sure it would fit in the nooks and crannies I use now to carry my phone. Maybe a Windows Phone with a slightly smaller display makes more sense.

I am totally ingrained in the Google ecosystem, particularly Gmail. That's vital for my work and I'll need to research how well that now works with Windows Phone. I can't make the switch unless I can continue to use my existing Google accounts and services. If you currently use Gmail with a Windows Phone let me know how well that works in the comments below.

If I do make the switch I'm pretty sure I will no longer be bored with my phone, at least not the OS. Windows Phone is radically different from iOS and Android, and will distract me from the "sameness" I experience from the old standby platforms. At least it should for a while.

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Topics: Mobility, Nokia, Smartphones, Windows Phone

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82 comments
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  • Love my Nokia 920

    Coming up on two years, and I have yet to be bored with it. Can't wait to upgrade to the 1020 here soon.

    The Nokia Camera has also given me a new hobby...
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • 1020 here

      it is great. I was the same as James, phones were boring and I just hated using them. The Nokia changed that, it is fun again.

      I like the tile interface and I like that I can upgrade to the latest release (using 8.1 now), without having to wait for the carriers to get their rears in gear. I certainly wouldn't swap it now. For work I still have a Galaxy, but it doesn't have any extra apps installed, it is just used for calls and text.
      wright_is
    • Using Gmail isn't a problem...

      Using Gmail (or any other email) isn't a problem on Windows Phone. If you're tied to all of the other Google services though, then you may need some help from some third party apps... unless you just decide to dump them (like a lot of us have).

      Windows Phone is great for customization, great for communicating (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and great for gaming--and getting better with each iteration.

      I'm currently using a Lumia 925.
      cybersaurusrex
      • MetroMail

        Best GMail client for Windows Phone by far, since it supports the server side categories and mail push.

        Windows Phone 8.1 made the phone significantly better. I tried a Note 3 for about 2 months and went back to WP and picked up a Lumia Icon. Fantastic device. The Word Flow keyboard is better the Swype or Swiftkey and leaves Apple's keyboard so far behind you'll wonder how you ever used it. The notification center was the only other thing missing and now that they have that it really is the perfect phone.

        There are a couple of useless games I don't have any more. Everything else I want/need is available on my phone and works great. Plus, apps built for the platform have a FAR better interface than their Apple/Android counterparts.
        LiquidLearner
        • 8.1 Update

          Brought many new dimensions to the phone, but cut my battery life in half...Just got the update to the update today, am hoping for better on the BL.
          onefussyone
    • Go WP

      I was developing WP apps, but couldn't find a reason to switch till Nokia started making hardware for it. I switched w/ the Nokia 928, for my full time phone, and have no regrets whatsoever......and no intention of going back either. Nokia hardware is first rate and durable and the OS is really solid now, particularly with 8.1, which should really be version 9.0.....it has huge improvements across the board.

      My far less techy wife made the switch too, and has had no complaints.

      As a former IOS user -- I think WP is where IOS should have evolved. They are heading this way with IOS7 (backing off skeuomorphic design, etc).....but it just doesn't work as well as it does on WP. IOS is also missing a really dynamic interface -- WP tiles or (the far clunkier) Android widgets of some type......it needs it.

      Gmail, Outlook, Live/Hotmail and Yahoo -- all in the same inbox, and it works fine. The calendars (Gmail/Outlook/Live) do just as well.
      Tojuro
      • @ Tojuro Yahoo mail in WP inbox

        This is off mostly off topic, but how do you sync Yahoo mail into the same inbox? Do you also do contact and calendar? You can contact me directly

        keith
        khunter at drksystems dot com
        khunter
  • Windows Phone and Gmail

    Hi James,

    Windows Phone accommodates multiple email accounts easily. I have 5 accounts. All are integrated into one inbox. When you reply to any message it uses the relevant account. Tapping send on a new message brings up a screen with a list of all accounts to select.

    Sorry can't comment on other services as I don't use them. HTH. Maybe someone else can chime in. I vaguely recall there are tools for migrating your data from Google Drive to One Drive.
    genghis7777
    • Why migrate?

      So you can have Microsoft comb through your data, instead of Apple/Google? You do realize Microsoft keeps copies of everything you do, using any recent version of windows, right?
      I hate trolls also
      • As does Apple and Google

        Welcome to Ameritech 2014
        brentgee
      • However

        The difference is that MS does so to help you and protect your device/computer. Google does it to make money on advertising.
        rmark@...
        • hilarious.

          Lets trust the twice convicted predatory monopolist or the convicted price fixer over Google.

          That makes perfect sense.. Microsoft have forever been a perfect citizen, never illegally crushing competition, never having things like CodeRed/Nimda infect hundreds of thousands of computers that made the mistake of going online with windows.

          None are better than the other, they will all use your data for advertising. Microsoft are an ad broker with a search engine too remember?
          frankieh
          • Big Difference, and old argument

            Monopolistic and price fixing are related to profits, not data security. Plus, How long ago has it been since this was a valid argument. Code Red? NIMDA? C'mon!

            I'm not saying we should not be concerned about data security or trust one company over another. Regardless of what we think we know about any platform, security should ALWAYS be a concern and we should always keep them in check but your augment is pointless because they are two separate issues.
            djmik
          • Er, yeah ...

            ... because having been convicted of using ex post illegal (i.e. illegal only after the fact, based on court rulings about definition of markets, products, etc.) tactics against competitors, as Microsoft have been, is so much more relevant to protection of individual data than having been convicted of per se illegal (i.e. always illegal) invasion of individuals' privacy, in violation of EU privacy law, as Google have been. (Maybe Google have also been convicted of violating the pathetically weak privacy law that exists in the US, but I don't know.)

            More broadly, Microsoft and Apple make money from people by selling goods and services to them. Google make money from people by selling them to advertisers. It's pretty obvious that the economic incentives to abuse privacy are much, much stronger for Google than for Microsoft or Apple. Google's record of repeated and systematic violations of privacy law show that this is a problem not just in theory, but in practice.

            The day Microsoft start making money primarily by selling me to advertisers is the day I'll stop using their services. If I do, though, it certainly won't be to switch to Google. I'll probably switch to some EU-based cloud service provider (and may do that anyway, if I find one I like).
            WilErz
      • I hate trolls also is in "Ultra-Spin Mode" today

        I guess you drank that barrel of Google-Aid before going to bed last night.

        I dreamt of Google once - they didn't collect my data, they didn't share my data, they didn't look at my data, they didn't try to exploit me.

        As I said, it was only a dream.....
        William.Farrel
      • So it's OK...

        Without conceding to the premise (MS comb[s] through your data), are you asserting that your OK for your preferred brand to do it, just so long as it isn't MS? If so, what is it that you think MS does/would do with your data that the others don't?
        Nierteroth9
  • Maybe sometimes boring is a good sign

    Roller-coaster, traveling around the world, ... are exciting activities.... Maybe smartphones are good when they are less of an excitement.
    AleMartin
    • Interesting premise...

      Just one question: Why? Why should a smartphone be boring?

      I think you're projecting the notion that boring must also equal problematic/challenging?
      Nierteroth9
      • correction...

        ..."projecting the notion that [exciting] must also equal problematic/challenging?"
        Nierteroth9
  • i love my Lumia 920 however

    I have read your work. If u are deeply tied to Google services you will be very frustrated with windows phone. Gmail will be fine, its the rest that will kill you and give you lots to write about. No first party apps for drive,maps,plus,picasa,YouTube,etc. Social media apps are fine, the third party are just as good or better than (unless you like tinder). Specialty apps r a real issue like any home automation or remote control apps.

    If you have an open mind however, live tiles are awesome, information is relevant and dynamic. Things are nicely organized and the cameras are just better.

    I prefer outlook.com to Gmail but you shouldn't have to migrate to be functional. I keep a corporate s3 and to me I fine it functional but boring and unorganized.

    Good luck and keep an open mind.
    Jsinghroy