I have been a Windows Phone user for the past year. The first Mobile phone with Microsoft Windows Phone 8 released in Denmark, the HTC 8X to be exact. I bought the phone knowing that the apps were not there yet, but I wanted to try this new platform. A year has past and the apps are still not there. Some apps have come to Windows Phone but they usually slimmed down versions with far fewer features than their Android and iOS counterparts. So I got tired of waiting and bought a Samsung galaxy s4 mini, an Android phone. I have been an Android user before. I used the HTC Desire for over a year back in 2010, when it was the best Android phone available. Even back in 2010, I had better apps with more features on my HTC Desire, than the apps available for Windows Phone 8, here at the end of 2013.
It is a shame really… I actually like Windows Phone 8, and I am somewhat annoyed that I had to spend money on a new phone, just because of the absence of quality apps on the platform.
Setting Up Android
It has been about two weeks since I bought my Samsung galaxy s4 mini. My first reaction to it was, Yes!!!! I can do this, and I can do that, oh yeah!! and all is just awesome. One of the first apps I installed was OwnCloud. I wanted to move to this cloud solution was what finally pushed me to abandon Windows Phone. Why? Because there is an ownCloud sync client for Android and none for Windows Phone. The funny thing is that there are not many if any, apps with ownCloud integration. For example, Draft (a markdown text/note app) is able to sync with Dropbox, not OwnCloud. Draft is the best of the markdown apps on Android that I have tried.
So do I use some crappy and poorly done text editor that forces me to dig through the file system every time I want to open a markdown file. But allows me to use ownCloud via the local file system? Or do I use the very nice markdown app that syncs nicely with Dropbox and say bye-bye to privacy? Since using Dropbox is the same as sharing my file with NSA? As suggested to me I could write a markdown app with my ownCloud integration myself. Yes, I could do that. However, I do not have the time. When you have a wife and a kid. The time for your own projects is sparse, and the little time I have I use on other projects. There is more to life than coding, yes that is right I said it. I know…..… you might need to take a moment to rethink your life……………….
At this point, I am still using the calendar and contacts sync via ownCloud. But that might change because it does not always work correctly and course data in the contacts get messed up and that is not acceptable.
I am very happy with the workflow I now have with Draft and Dropbox. Yes, that is the route I took, Dropbox. The phone came with a free 50 GB subscription so why not. I now have access to all my notes and documents and able to view and edit them on the phone in a very very nice and easy way. So while I did not end up using ownCloud for my cloud storage. I did get the markdown workflow I wanted, and could not get on Windows Phone.
Pros And Cons
There are pros and cons to both Android and Windows Phone 8. However, it is very clear that Android has been around longer because there are far fewer stupidities on the android side. For example, the volume control on Android has four settings ring tone, message, media, and system and they can all have different volume levels. On a Windows phone, there is one volume setting for a ring tone, message, media, and system. So if I have been listening to a podcast or music and forget to turn the volume back up, I will not hear when the phone rings.
Windows phones have live tiles, which essentially is a widget with one-way interaction, system -> you. You can for example not have a toggle switch for example to turn wireless on and off. It can only be a link to the wireless settings page. On Android, widgets have two-way interaction. Android widgets can be small applications with full user interactions. For the most, the live tiles on Windows Phone just show unimportant information, like the photo app that just rotates small image thumbnails, like really small. I am sure the live tiles look like a good idea on paper. But it is too limited to be of much use.
One thing I will say in Windows Phones favor is that it is a lot faster than android. It is A LOT FASTER on similar hardware. Some speed comes from the Windows Phones simple UI elements. However, most come from code running directly on the hardware and not in a virtual machine. Even though the two phones have very similar specifications, it is just a lot harder to slow down my Windows Phone compared to my Android Phone. But all in all, I am quite happy with Android.