First Thoughts – Switching from Android to Windows Phone

I’ve been a devout Android user for almost two years. My love for Android has sometimes crossed over to fanboyism. I have even written for a number of Android related websites. Despite all that I’ve always been very curious about Windows Phone, which made writing for this website a very good opportunity. Yesterday I received my HTC Trophy in the mail and immediately dove into the Windows Phone OS for the first time. After about a day of using the Trophy as my primary device I have some thoughts.


I really love the UI design of Windows Phone. I’ve experimented with it before using 3rd party launchers on Android and it’s always been a good experience. Using the real thing is even better. Everything is very fluid and smooth. The horizontal swiping gestures that most apps use is very natural feeling. I love the live tiles and information they can show. The live tiles make the start screen a perfect blend between the icons of iOS and the widgets of Android. They also make “checking your phone” a brief affair. One little thing that has thrown me off is the search key. I’m used to pressing the hardware search key to search whatever app I’m in. On Windows Phone that takes me to Bing. Other than that the new hardware buttons have took no time at all to get used to.


Here’s where I miss Android. I’m used to being able to turn on my phone and see all my notifications without even unlocking it. In Windows Phone I can see some notifications on the lockscreen, like email and missed calls, but that’s about it. I use Google Voice for texting which means I have to unlock my phone and check the live tile for messages. I’ve also found the notifications to be very inconsistent. None of the Twitter apps I’ve tried have shown me any notifications though I have them set up to do so.


Multitasking in Windows Phone is an odd bird. I’m used to opening an app like TweetDeck on Android and everything is already loaded in the background. In Windows Phone I’m finding that apps always update when you open them. That’s what happens when I open an app from the start screen, but if I open it from the multitask view it resumes the state I last viewed it in. The experience is very inconsistent.


I’ll just be honest, Android has spoiled me for apps. It’s extremely easy to open up the Android Market and find a free app to do whatever you want. It seems that most developers for Android choose to release their apps for free with ads rather than paid and ad free. This is very different in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Within the first 12 hrs of having the device I bought an app. In the last two years on Android I only bought four apps.

Now with that aside I can say the selection of apps isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it isn’t great either. Doing a simple search for “Twitter” does not yield nearly as many choices as I’m used to. And I can’t seem to find an app that gives me a shortcut to brightness settings. Games on the other hand look very good, but a little on the expensive side. Xbox Live integration is very cool, except I don’t own an Xbox. Overall I’d say the Marketplace is just “okay.”


After 24 hours with Windows Phone I can safely say that I am enjoying the experience. It really didn’t take me very long to get the hang of how everything works. In a lot of ways there are similarities between Android and Windows Phone, but in even more ways there are huge fundamental differences. I’ll report back in about a week and share how the conversion is going.

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