I love Android and I will always have a special place for the platform in my heart. I love the fact that Android is a low budget platform that can do everything for next to nothing. But the fact of the matter is that Android phones, while cheaper than iOS, are not the most exciting phones around. Sure I love the Google apps and the Google ecosystem, and I love all of those free apps. But Android does not do anything particularly well, rather, it tries to do everything for everyone.
I have researched Windows Phone for as long as I have owned an Android device. I was researching Windows Phone before I purchased my Android smartphone. I was pretty close to purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device this time last year. I am glad that I did not make the decision to do so, as Windows Phone 7 smartphones were shipping with as little as 256 MB of RAM.
This is what I have come up with. Windows Phone 8 devices are being shipped with more capable hardware, for the same price, than their Android counterparts. Your average Windows Phone 8 smartphone has a 5 mp camera and can shoot HD video for the same price you can get an Android smartphone with a 2 mp camera that shoots VGA video. While Android’s cloud integration is certainly available to all, your average Android smartphone user does not know how to make the most of it; Google Drive is available to all Android smartphones, but the requirements are high and it is not present in most Android smartphones out of the box.
On Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Office is baked in, and SkyDrive is baked in. I am intimately familiar with SkyDrive and actually prefer it to Google Drive. Microsoft Office Mobile is available on Android and iOS, but you have to purchase a subscription to Office 365. SkyDrive is free on Android and iOS. Google’s cloud services include the use of Google Plus to automatically save photos and videos, Google Drive to create and manipulate documents, and other third party apps for whatever else you can think of. Windows Phone 8 uses SkyDrive to synchronize everything, so there is only one program you have to concern yourself with.
There are a few caveats; SkyDrive will not provide unlimited photo and video backup, as Google Plus will for pictures shot at 2048 x 2048. The bottom line here is that Windows Phone 8 will allow you to do everything most users will want to do, well, efficiently, without a lot of fuss and without jumping through a lot of hoops. Power users will always gravitate towards Android, because Android offers endless customization options, but the average user does not need everything Android offers and most people are only tapping into a small percentage of everything Android has to offer.
I love my Android smartphone, but it has become a toy that I push towards its limits and a sense of frustration when I attempt to do something the average person would not think to do with their phone. I find myself wasting a lot of time on Android that I could use doing something else, because I am bored. This is the bottom line for me at this point; if I can get a capable Windows Phone for next to nothing, which I am pretty sure I should be able to do this holiday season, I’ll give it a spin and tell you about it. I am pretty sure I’ll find some interesting uses for it, and feel confident that it can streamline some tasks in Android that are cumbersome and require convoluted workarounds. If anything the hardware will make it worth my time. If I cannot, and I can continue to purchase Android devices for less than $50 I will stay with that route. More than a few cellular providers are giving away Android devices for free with the price of activation or the price of a months service, and that incentive is only going to continue in the near future as the older Android Gingerbread devices are phased out in favor of newer Android Jellybean and above. At the same time, some of these devices that are being given away with the kitchen sink are low end Android Jellybean devices.
The next year is going to see intense competition between Google and Microsoft as manufacturers slash prices of devices, better and more interesting apps than what we have seen so far will be introduced for both platforms and better software brings high end functionality to low end phones. Smartphones will become more efficient, and you will not need as much memory and speed as you did in 2013. Apple may eventually be forced to offer phones for less than $500 without a contract, like everyone has for years; I honestly do not know why enthusiasts continue to pay a fortune over the cost of a two year contract/lease/agreement, or whatever creative accounting that it in place, to convince themselves they have the latest iPhone for $199. The year of 2014 should be a very good year for smartphones; not as many will be sold as have in years past, but this is the year that the rhetoric is sorted out, the wheat is separated from the chaff, and productivity increases for a change as most people realize they can use their phone for something other than watching YouTube videos or using it as an expensive organizer and calendar.