Making the Case for Windows Phone
With the announcement of Windows Phone 8 phones coming to the Verizon Network, I thought it be only appropriate to give a brief summation of what Windows Phone is and who can benefit from the great services this platform offers. I have been a fairly die-hard Windows Phone fan for about 2 years now and am ecstatic that these devices are going to be for sale at GoWireless. Though I could talk for hours about the benefits of the platform I will stick to the basics and hopefully, leave you with a bit more knowledge about your choices that you have.
First things first, Windows Phone IS NOT Windows Mobile. It is important to make this distinction because Microsoft has gone to great lengths to radically change everything about their Mobile OS. Those of you who had old school Motorola Q’s or the numerous HTC Windows Mobile devices, may still feel burned by what can only be described as a painful example of why desktop does not work on mobile. With Windows Phone, Microsoft has created the most unique experiences to be had with a mobile phone. With a design language based on beautiful typography and minimalistic animations, you will not find a lick of fake linen or chrome like you may find on other platforms doesn’t want to recreate everyday experiences with their technology, they want to forge a new path. A path based on a tiled interface that, once you are sucked in, can be one of the most personal experiences to have on a phone.
The Live Tiles:
The competition has two extremes. Static icons are the basis of iOS and on android it is a mixture of static icons and full featured widgets. Microsoft stick to the middle and perfects the idea by using what they call “Live Tiles”. These tiles will launch apps, but also will flip to provide you with info on the go as well as notifications when they appear. You are able to have three different sizes of tiles on your home screen and when you lay these out on the screen it truly becomes “your” device. The Verge had this to say about the Live Tiles: “It’s not a stretch to say that Windows Phone 8 has the best home screen — the perfect combination of flexibility, design, and simplicity — of any major platform right now.”
Though it may not be what you are used to, Bing is a truly fantastic search engine. To prove it this past summer, Microsoft held a contest called “Bing It On” where they showed results right next to Google results and the public picked Bing results 2 to 1. This great search engine combined with the built in Bing features, create an integration that Google has yet to truly achieve in Android. Bing Vision will translate text, scan barcodes, and recognize landmarks. Music search will perform a Shazam-like function and find the album you are listening to, and give you a link to the marketplace to download. Local Scout is a great local search function which will find restaurant reviews and local events. So, what is the best part of all of this? It comes pre-built into the OS. Just hit the search button and all of these features are right there.
One more benefit of hitching your mobile to Microsoft, is the integration with Xbox. Many games in the Store are Xbox branded. This means you can not only earn achievements that will carry over to your Xbox Gamerscore, but also has the potential to be the first truly popular mobile multiplayer platform. With the new Xbox Smartglass feature in Windows Phone, you are able to push media from your phone to your TV and also you can use your phone as a keyboard and mouse for Internet Explorer on Xbox. These two features are must haves for any extreme or casual gamer.
With over 30 million songs available to any Windows Phone user, Xbox music is one of the most comprehensive services I have ever used. For $10 a month, you can download any of these songs and stream full playlists and Smart DJ mixes. This catalog includes any number of genres you can think of as well as comedy and spoken word. iTunes step aside, Xbox music has one of the easiest interfaces to use and a huge collection of available tunes.
We use it almost every day. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note are all crucial productivity apps in our work and personal lives. With Windows Phone, you get these applications right out of the box. That means that you can be more productive on the go. Create your word document at work, save it to the Cloud and finish it on your commute home right from your phone. The possibilities are endless with Office and your employer will definitely appreciate the boost in productivity
The cloud is on every mobile players mind. It is clearly the future and companies are scrambling to get competent services in place to hold your photos, documents and music. Microsoft has been in the cloud for a long time and their offering of SkyDrive is the most appealing in the business right now. Upon signing up, you will receive 7 GB of cloud storage. This is the most storage available for free from any company. Also, there is no expiration of your data. On iOS your pictures only stay in the cloud for 30 days. That can be a make or break feature for any photo nuts out there.
Let’s face it, Windows is the most popular OS for laptops and other PCs. Most of us have a PC or will purchase one in the next year. Out of the box, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are integrated by your Microsoft Account. Your account setting, contacts, SkyDrive, Xbox account, and Office docs sync immediately with these devices and create a seamless experience.
The reason I am writing this is because as of right now, Windows Phone is the best OS that nobody is using. The potential for integration among Microsoft products is a platform that no other company has been able to create. With the arrival of the beautiful HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 822, you have an opportunity to experience this first hand. So when it is time to get your new phone, don’t pass by the Windows Phones without getting one in your hands and playing with it. You may be blown away to find that the company truly innovating design in mobile, is Microsoft.
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