Microsoft Phone? Yes. And it rocks!
When I tried a Microsoft phone some eight years back it was a less than satisfactory experience. To call it a phone is perhaps to stretch the definition, it was more like a brick of HTC which could be used to make a call -or defend yourself against attacking marauders. No touch screen naturally, since that appeared a year or two later — and the only redeeming quality I can remember was the fact that it could be hooked-up to your PC and programmed quickly. I actually connected it, started visual studio and had a working “hello world” application in less than 10 minutes.
“I am actually tempted to get rid of my iPhone right now”
While my general impression of that old Microsoft phone was terrible, the experience of “connect and code” has stayed with me. And my terrible experience had not so much to do with the OS, which was actually quite excellent at the time — but more with the physical phone itself.
So when I started coding apps for Apple a couple of years back- mentally I compared my experience to that of my first HTC/Microsoft experience. I was quite shocked to find that the Apple development process was so.. how can I put it, complete slavery? I mean having paid in blood to get a new Iphone, which is your property after all, you do expect to be able to put your own software on it right? Well not if Apple has anything to say about it. Seems to me that you don’t really own an Apple product, you lease it for the duration of its life-cycle. And you never get to decide what software you can run, especially not some home-brew code you cooked up yourself; No, you are allowed to pick from a pre-defined menu defined by Apple. A bit like politics where you are expected to select from a pre-defined list of candidates (pick your marionette of preference, but it makes no difference what so ever).
So while Apple may be the leading force in mobile technology today, I still remember Microsoft development as a much easier and pleasant experience. You did not have to digitally sign your own applications just to use them on your own hardware. Nor did you have to pay to create software for what is by definition your own property. And last but not least, creating and deploying in-house software to X number of devices in your organization was your own bussiness. Microsoft did not meddle in how you used your device, nor would that be a natural occuring thought. It’s your phone and what you put on that phone is your choice.
That was before Apple came along however.
Beware slumbering giants
Between you and me, I have a gut feeling that Microsoft is brewing on something. Have you noticed how Visual Studio suddenly have something called “Universal apps” lately? So you can create an app in C# that runs on Windows, XBox, Windows Embedded (read: tablets and drones) and Microsoft Phones.
This means that it’s going to be hard for developers to say “no” to Microsoft phone development since they get support for that free out of the box.
“Seriously. I had an Android phone for roughly six months and I ended up
giving it away with a 3000 NKR loss because I hated it so much”
So don’t be surprised if you start seeing more Microsoft phones out there — because while Microsoft has been slumbering, we all know that M$ is very, very good at one thing: making monopolies. With their complete abstraction from X86, we are going to see a tidal wave of cheap ARM devices flooding the market in 2-4 years running Windows 10.
What about the phone
Now to the phone! I love it! Seriously. I had an Android phone for roughly six months and I ended up giving it away with a 3000 NKR loss because I hated it so much (Samsung Galaxy S4). So forget Android is all I have to say.
Microsoft mobile is polished, intuitive and has everything you expect from a modern phone “and then sum”. Easy to call, easy to Skype, chat and perform all manners of modern communications. Stuff like E-mail and Facebook check-in is magically done for you once you have entered a couple of credentials, and you stay connected to your Microsoft account from the start. You can also sign up for an XBOX account if you want to download games or just testdrive some “universal apps” (see, told you they would arrive!). So getting the phone up and running was easy, polished and pleasant.
In short: The phone is responsive, has great looking animated menus with a snappy interface. Wow, I cant believe I have ignored Microsoft for so many years, because this phone rocks!
Android never quite made the cut in my book. It’s to much of a mess with to many gaping security holes just waiting to be exploited (and they usually are). Apple is strung to tightly and bound on hands and feet to their money-making model which in the end serves only Apple and not the consumer.
Microsoft is the middle-ground, closer to Apple than to Android, but more polished and friendly than both of them combined. I absolutely have fallen in love with this device.
Oh and the battery life is exceptional! I have gotten used to my iPhone being constantly low on power. The Lumia was fully charged in 18 minutes and is not even at 70% 6 hours later (with constant use).
We need alternatives
The market desperately needs more than two operative systems. It’s a bit like politics. If you only have two parties you dont really have politics, just two factions putting on a show to dazzle the weak-minded masses who gladly relinquish their freedom for bread and circus. Which is exactly what we are seeing between Google Android and Apple iOS. They have some 300 (figuratively speaking) lawsuits against each other on patent infringement at any given point in time, while they throw more and more pointless features onto smaller and smaller footprints. It’s just plain silly how much crap we have gotten used to in such a short time. Remember when a phone was just a phone? Now it’s a fashion statement.
Android suffers from being open-source, with no legal entity taking true responsibility for quality (and forget Google, they like to have their name on it, but shun any responsibility). Although google is trying to up the quality of the Android store – let’s face it, the quality of apps on Android is ridicules compared to iOS. Apple may be security nazis with their application signing and serial key madness, but that at least has paid off with a huge catalog of quality titles.
Microsoft is nowhere near delivering the same number of apps (they have around 97.000 apps, Apple is probably near 500.000 by now). But I love this phone and I am actually tempted to get rid of my iPhone right now, just so I can buy a bigger and faster Microsoft phone. I picked up my Lumia for 780NKR which is peanuts compared to my iPhone 6 (8000 NKR). I can only imagine what type of device I could get from Microsoft at that price.
Well — I strongly urge you to try out the Microsoft phone before you get an Android device. Seriously, why would you want a phone that needs a virus killer? Android is a mess! It’s so-called “open policy” comes at a cost and that cost is the virus infected, scam ridden filth that is Android. A system which has allowed cheap corner-shops in asia to flood the market with fake low-quality devices fooling millions of people on a daily basis.
We need more alternatives, solid alternatives, something which is neither Android nor IOS. And believe it or not but Microsoft has nailed it with the Lumia. It’s one hell of a phone with all the cool stuff you expect from iOS, but with the freedom Android users brag about – but here it’s more mature, in the sense that all adults understand that there is no freedom without laws and boundaries.
Music for the masses
One special feature I want to mention is the free access to music Microsoft gives you. The phone allows you to create your own radio mixes. So you select a few bands you like, and based on that it creates a continuous playlist for you – including bands who fall into the same category. Once in a blue moon you get a few commercials – but this system is much easier to get started with than wimp. And it’s free (you can also sign up for premium services just like wimp).
What amazed me was that within 5 minutes of owning the phone, I was able to listen to a ton of free music. Compare that to Apple’s regime where every single item must be bought! Not to mention the unfair rules of Apple, where they simply ban competing products. Talk about unfair monopoly, Apple is far worse than Microsoft ever was if you ask me.
Also, the music features are built into the phone, And if you love music, you are going to love the easy access you get here.
Another thing is also the ring-tone creator. Again it’s free and comes with the phone. No more having to buy ring-tones, or fooling iTunes to use MP3 encoded files. Just copy over the mp3 you want or record something — cut, copy and paste. Done!
My new favorite
iOS has been my favorite so far due to quality of service and their well stocked app library, not to mention the ability to sync music and videos automatically. Which Android still wont do out of the box. You have to copy over MP3’s manually or buy an app and desktop app to help you. So in terms of technical excellence Android loses due to an operative system which seems to be put together by hob-goblins, lacking even the most rudimentary security. It also loses flat down in friendliness because -there must be a limit to the amount of settings a man has to tweak just to call his bloody girlfriend(!) It’s overkill, pure and simple – to present users with this level of variables. Some of them quite critical as well (affecting battery lifetime).
It’s just a silly trick to sell phones. The more “features” Android can list, the more impressed stupid people are who more often than not dont have a clue what it means. Does your mom benefit from controlling the level 2 Java cache? Ofcourse not! Are these really features? Let’s call a horse for a horse and see it for what it is –a sales pitch.
Well, whatever Apple or Google dazzle you with – Microsoft does it all, and they do it better by leaving out the rubbish and keeping the good stuff. In fact, the latest Microsoft phones are right up there with iOS, but with one massive advantage: It’s not bolted shut by nazis who insist of milking you for every single penny they can get. You are free to program apps running on your own phone, and you can even copy it over to other phones without asking for permission from the silicon papacy at Apple HQ to do so.
The moment you want to push your software out to the store you naturally have to go through a signing process, that’s to be expected. But the quality and ease is 100 times better than anything Apple is offering – so Microsoft wins on all accounts.
So I am happy to report that I have found my new favorite mobile device — and the source could not be more unexpected! It’s the Microsoft Lumia! So tomorrow im updating my Cell subscription and I’m going for the shiny new Lumia 930 — selling my IPhone in the process.
Good bye Apple, and thanks for all the fish!
Guess it’s time to whip out Smart Mobile Studio and Visual Studio and compile my first HTML5 App 🙂