Sunday, October 21, 2012

Is Windows Phone 8 For Me?

Let me start off by saying that Windows Phone 7.5 is the best "phone" software I've ever used. I'll follow that up with, it isn't the best organizer/mapping/music/camera software I've ever used. So, to fix this, Microsoft is rolling out Windows Phone 7.8 for my old HTC Titan (if AT&T actually approves an update for a one year old phone), my Samsung Focus S and my Nokia Lumia 900. Since I'm in love with different aspects of each of these devices, Most people ask me which one ends up in my pocket daily, well the Nokia does, but only for the fact that you can't set up simultaneous MMS and MSN services on the Titan.

So now that we have the fact that I love to have Windows Phone on my device, and I do have a few devices, I have to look at why or what are the reasons for someone to "upgrade" to a Windows Phone 8 device?

Looking at the first miscue from my Windows Phone 7 devices is the lack of open updating. My Titan, Focus S and Lumia all have different versions of Windows Phone on board. Now keep in mind, these are all second generation AT&T devices, so it's not like trying to cram a new feature set on to an older phone. It simply comes down to the fact that Microsoft is letting the carriers control their software releases.

The fix for this was announced in Windows Phone 8's direct OTA updates. This will leave the updates to Microsoft's end and allow the user to dictate when they get the update - to some degree. Even with the direct push updates, it may take Samsung more time to prepare their update than Nokia, meaning the Lumia 920 should get it before the ATIV. Still not a great scenario, but much better, if the carriers allow it to happen.

The next annoyance is having to have the latest and greatest versions of software across 2 platforms. Just so you understand, Windows Phone comes with Office built in. In order to properly edit these documents over SkyDrive, I need to install Office 2010 on my PC. Well, I usually use Word and a little Excel and it is not worth the $400 to me every time a new Office suite is released to update. I also use my computer for quite a bit of graphics and film work, which Windows Phone could handle, but it doesn't have the right software available.

Enter Windows Phone 8, which now features Office 2010 and well, that's it. Office 2013 is going to be a free upgrade for those that purchase 2010 now, but again, Windows Phone 8 isn't going to solve the need an update soon scenario. Now, when news of the new core for Windows Phone 8 came out and revealed that it was the same core as Windows 8, I had a silent party in my head. This means I can run all my PC software on my phone! Or not... Same core does not equal same Apps or programs. We are right back to where we started with limited Application support and special versions that aren't available yet, but are already on platforms like iOS and Android.

Music... Yes, I love to use my phone as my mp3 player when I workout. This is reason #2 for making the Lumia my daily driver. Nokia's Music App with its offline streaming mode wins my music vote hands down. When you think about limited data plans, overages and throttling, offline music is the way to go. Unfortunately, the other options, Spotify, XBox Music, Slacker Radio, all require anywhere from $4 to $10 a month for offline listening. For now, I'll stick to my free Nokia deal and pray that someone will find a way to easily install it on my other devices in the future.

How does Win Phone 8 address this? Well, many of the devices are including removable memory, so storing music won't be quite as selective of a task any longer. Also, for an additional $10 monthly fee, that XBox music subscription can be off loaded to your device, again space dependent, for listening where you don't have coverage or when you don't want to use up that valuable data. Not a great solution, but far from the worst.

The camera on all three of my devices have areas where they shine, and others where they fail miserably. Taking a look at the good, all three take fantastic photos as a point and shoot. The best camera in my eye is the Titan. The clarity, saturation and quality is just a touch better than the other 2. That said, the Focus S has built in digital image stabilization, which is great for the shaky handed among us. Again, despite having the weakest hardware in the bunch, the Lumia comes through on the software end to finish in second place behind the Titan in the photo department.

Win Phone 8 has some amazing cameras coming to it this fall. I'm not sure if any of them will be as good as the samples I've seen or if they will once again fall flat. Hopefully the cameras will step up and all be better than the Titan's and not need additional software to be installed for the basics like panoramic shooting.

User experience is probably the most important aspect of Windows Phone 8. How much better will an HTC 8x be than my HTC Titan? Honestly, I'm very much hoping to find out, but until I have one in hand, I doubt I'll look very hard. Between my Titan and Lumia, I have a hard enough time deciding what phone to head out the door with every day. If HTC updated their connection setup program to allow for MVNO setups, I think the Titan would win the daily battle. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen and for now, I will keep my Lumia in my hand for now, and patiently wait for the early reports on the bugs, issues and hopefully great reports on Windows Phone 8.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 900 powered by GetSmartphones.Info

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