Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back To Android: The App Gap Part Two

Yesterday I posted about how the App Gap, despite what Microsoft says, is still pretty wide between Android and Windows Phone. Yesterday’s post was really more about the Apps that Android has right and Windows Phone either, doesn’t have or hasn’t gotten quite right yet. The serious lack of banking Apps, social networking solutions and the speed of Apps like Instagram were the biggest offenders, so far. Today, I’m going to take a different approach to the App Gap and tell you what Windows Phone is clearly dominating in – and why this makes ‘switching’ to another OS so difficult after using Windows Phone for any amount of time.

Camera: There is no doubt about how good the PureView camera is on the Nokia devices. There’s also very little debate about most current generation Windows Phone cameras being towards the tops of their respective classes. What isn’t mentioned is now amazing the Nokia Camera software is. I use the Nokia Camera Beta software from the Nokia BetaLabs website. The “circular” settings menus just make setting up your shots quick and painless. While Android devices can gain this same functionality with Apps like ProCamera or Ultimate Camera, the fact is the Nokia Cam software just blows them away in speed and style. Windows Phone 1 – Android 0


Music: I know this will be a tough sell, but I honestly think that the best music service on the planet right now is Nokia Mix Radio. While it costs $3.99 a month to take full advantage of the service, the free account allows you up to 4 offline mixes on your device. For those on a limited or throttled data plan, this is a lifesaver. Sure, you can spend anywhere from $2-15 a month for a better selection with Spotify, Slacker or even Xbox music, but if you are talking free, there’s nothing better. Android tries with services like Google Play Music and their 20,000 free songs you can store, but those still only allow downloading of the tracks you already own and upload or purchase from the Play Store. Hands down, this one goes to Nokia Mix Radio. Windows Phone 2 – Android 0


Mapping: Yes, I am prepared to get flamed for this, but since it’s a Windows Phone blog, you should know the truth. Here Drive+ is better than Google Navigation. It hurts to say that since I loved Google Nav so much on my old Evo 4G, but Google just hasn’t figured out how to make Nav work offline yet. If they had half a brain, they would just buy Garmin or something and use their tech for map storage on their devices and make it a true offline system like Here Maps/Drive+ is.

I tried the whole “Google Offline” thing out and it is a serious pain. I can cache up to 6 maps in to the device, that got me from Seattle to Portland. Here Maps lets me download the three states I need for my summer road trip, Washington, Oregon and California and uses just over 600MB of space for those. I think the entire US would be about 2.5GB if I did my math properly. That said, I’ve heard that Google did a better job with mapping in the major cities and is slightly more up-to-date than Here, but honestly, I’ve never had an issue with my navigation in the 15 months I’ve used it. Windows Phone 3 – Android 0

Overall, I think the App Gap or lack there of, depends on how you use your device. While Android has made great leaps and bounds in the few years that it hasn’t been in my pocket, for my NEEDS Windows Phone seems to be a better choice. It’s better at handling emails, music and directions. It’s a more user friendly interface for accessing information quickly and most of all, it really is simple to use. Android may be more flexible, offer more options and Apps, but nothing beats the simplicity of a Windows Phone device. Now, if only Nokia had a 32GB version of something unlocked that they could send my way… or even a 16GB with an expandable slot? I’m not picky.

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