10 Windows Phone 8 Features That Would Make Android Even Sweeter

Along with BlackBerry, Symbian and Palm OS, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system was one of the first platforms to power intelligent mobile devices. Nevertheless, it’s well known that Microsoft’s products weren’t seen as easy to use and intuitive, especially when it came to Windows Mobile. In order to change this vision of its platform, Microsoft radically changed its operating system in 2010 when launching Windows Phone, and put an important focus on ease of use with the introduction of its disruptive yet innovative Modern UI. The latter featured a homescreen made entirely of Live Tiles, which are in between mere shortcuts and full-featured widgets. The Tiles are dynamic and update in real time, making them similar to widgets, but with no interaction, as tapping them simply launches the app.

Android, on the other hand, has long been seen as a “geeky” OS, with complicated features, an unintuitive and inconsistent user experience, not to mention it used to be years behind iOS’ eye-candy interface. With recent releases, Android has grown into a mature OS that offers an admirable user experience. Nonetheless, it remains interesting to compare our favorite OS with the competition and study what they do best compared to Android. This article’s focus is therefore going to be on the ten Windows Phone 8 features that could improve the end user experience for most Android owners.

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Modern UI: Simple and Pure

Homescreen

The first thing you notice on Windows Phone 8 is its pure interface. All these additional icons, buttons and chunks of text are gone and only the essential is left. In fact, the interface is so simplified that even the battery, signal and WiFi indicators are gone, and only appear if you press the top of the screen. When you compare it to Android, you can’t help but realize the latter has a bit too much information on the homescreen and that some of it could be hidden.

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen

Another striking element is the consistency on the homescreen: even though tiles can be resized, their shapes remain the same and the grid on which they’re placed adds to the uniformity. Windows Phone 8′s homecreen looks neat and well organized, unlike Android’s inconsistent and diverse widgets. Also, because shortcuts are displayed exactly the same way as Live Tiles on Windows Phone 8, they integrate perfectly with each other and don’t disrupt the general look and feel of the Start Screen.

Interface and Navigation

Google knew the physical Menu button wasn’t user-friendly and decided to get rid of it. Although the debate about its usefulness is still current, the fact that some elements are accessed directly on the screen and others are buried behind a physical key is not the best option.

Microsoft became well aware of these issues and eliminated them, which is why their interface is so intuitive: it only shows what’s essential. Most contextual actions are accessed through a bar at the bottom of the screen, which is exempt of text. It has been replaced with small rounded icons that are self-explanatory and contribute to the interface’s purity. Less common elements are shown under a More menu.

Simplistic interface – Notice the rounded icons at the bottom when writing an email

Simplistic interface – Notice the rounded icons at the bottom when writing an email

Tabs are a constituting element of Windows Phone 8′s Modern UI. They make the interface less condensed by categorizing information in various tabs. Windows Phone’s approach makes it very natural: tab names appear at the top of the screen in a lighter shade, suggesting the content is on another tab. The swiping gesture to move from a tab to another simplifies navigation and avoids having to move your focus to another part of the screen – yes, I am thinking of iOS…

Hubs

Hubs are a major element of Microsoft’s new user interface and are present on all Windows (Phone) 8 devices – PCs, tablets and, of course, phones. They are extremely well integrated with the operating system and are far more than “shortcut databases” that link to applications. The Music Hub, for instance, lets you access your entire music collection, as well as new tracks – both on the cloud and locally – your music apps and suggested content from Xbox Music.

In any hub, the interface is very sleek and remains in phase with the rest of the OS, with the addition of a background picture, generated automatically from your content: in the Music Hub, it’s a random album cover from your library, and in the Photos Hub it is… you guessed it, a random picture from your camera roll!

Music+Videos Hub

Music+Videos Hub

Not only were the hubs designed to be gorgeous, they’re also very functional: all applications integrate automatically with the appropriate Hub. For instance, third-party applications such as Deezer and Spotify work in harmony with the Music Hub, which will take these apps into account when generating your history.

The Photos Hub

The Photos Hub

Android is still behind when it comes to Hubs. Although some manufacturers are trying to design their custom-built Music/Photo/Video Centers, a native Hub would allow for proper integration with third-party apps. Many are calling Hub what is essentially a glorified shortcut folder, as they don’t have Microsoft’s focus of integrated apps.

Integrated People Profiles

Contact pages are very similar to Hubs and are also divided into tabs: Profile, What’s New, Photos and History. All of them gather information from various sources, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Hotmail, and merge them into a single profile – nothing new here, Android does it too. Windows Phone 8, however, goes the extra mile and displays an aggregated news feed in the What’s New tab, as well as gathered photo albums from the various profiles linked. The last tab is somehow similar, as it shows calls, messages but also emails and other messages, but won’t show social interactions.

The various tabs of a Contact page

The various tabs of a Contact page

The Me Tile and page are also elements Android could learn from. Even though Windows Phone doesn’t have a notification center, the Me page acts as a social notification aggregator and displays notifications from Facebook, Twitter and Hotmail in a single place. It also lets you update your status and share pictures to Facebook and Twitter. In addition to posting updates, you can also check-in and change your presence status. It would certainly be a nice addition to have such a well-thought “social center” built into our Android devices, as it would spare us the need to download additional apps.

The Me page

The Me page

Rooms

Google+ is designed to make sharing content easier with specific Circles. Indeed, sharing pictures with just your family using the Google ecosystem is a breeze, but chatting with your family while sharing photos and inviting them to a birthday is still not a seamless task on Google+.

Sharing content with a Room

Sharing content with a Room

With Windows Phone 8′s Room feature, however, you can chat, share photos, calendars and notes with specific people in a single place. This clearly facilitates sharing and doesn’t even require all parties to have a Windows Phone, so surely, Google can push integration further and come up with better features when it comes to private group sharing.

Microsoft Office

Most Android phones offer basic support for Microsoft Office documents out of the box, but this is usually limited to viewing files with no editing possibilities. When the latter exists, users are often invited to download a full version of the software on the Play Store, implying they would have to buy an application in order to create and edit Microsoft Office documents. Of course, Google’s very own Drive is a decent alternative to Microsoft Office, but the application quickly becomes useless when you need it the most: in offline situations. Another major restriction with Google Drive is that you have to use Google’s storage service to save your documents, and cannot save them locally or even edit an attachment you might have received.

Microsoft Office on Windows Phone 8

Microsoft Office on Windows Phone 8

Microsoft wanted to avoid such hassles on its mobile operating system and therefore offers full support for Office. The preinstalled application lets you view, create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. You even have the choice of creating a document based on a template or start from scratch with a blank one. The suite is built as if it was a Hub, with access to your recent documents and Places. The latter refers to the location of the documents, which can either be stored locally on the phone or on a distant server. These can be email, SkyDrive and Office 365, which are indeed useful for professional documents, but lack of support for third-party applications such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.net can quickly become an issue.

A PowerPoint presentation and the creation of a new document

A PowerPoint presentation and the creation of a new document

Unified Messaging

All Android devices have Google Talk and require you to have a Google account, implying they should perfectly integrate the service with Android’s messaging applications. Sadly, it’s not quite the case, as Google Talk is a standalone application and only people’s presence is shown in contact lists, making very little sense, as you can’t chat with them via the SMS app. Obviously, if Google’s very own chat client is not integrated with its mobile OS, you can forget about Facebook and Skype.

Unified Messaging – Notice the Online tab, which lets you see who's online

Unified Messaging – Notice the Online tab, which lets you see who’s online

Windows Phone 8, on the other hand, integrates text messaging and Facebook chat transparently, facilitating communication. Your contacts’ statuses appear directly in the messaging app and the conversation will be routed through the appropriate service, depending on your contact’s availability and your data connection. It once again appears Google could do a little more to integrate Google Talk or even Google+ Messenger with other apps.

Interface Customization

Windows Phone’s interface is very unique: you either hate it or love it, but it does have the advantage of being customizable to match personal taste. Yes, you can’t change the structure and the organization of the interface like you could on Android, but Windows Phone 8 lets you personalize the interface with the colors you like. Your background can be either black or white – that’s some sort of relief knowing you can’t have a wallpaper on Windows Phone – and you can pick the color of your tiles from a handful of shades. Changing these settings dramatically alters the way Windows Phone 8 looks and lets you create a unique interface matching your own style.

Customized Start Screens

Customized Start Screens

Obviously, I would rather have the picture of my favorite beach as my wallpaper rather than a black background, but if you think about it, Android doesn’t let you customize its look the way you want and most user interfaces rely on dark colors with little personalization options. There are indeed countless possibilities to customize the interface by downloading launchers and apps on the Play Store, but native tweaks would have made it very easy for all of us, even if they were as basic as changing the main colors.

Limited Carrier Branding

Microsoft said it from the start, carriers won’t be able to alter the Windows Phone 8 interface. There are carrier-specific applications on some Windows Phone 8 devices purchased with a plan, but the interface remains the same no matter what. When we look at Android, we’re often disappointed to see carrier branding throughout the interface, not to mention the removal of several features and other unpleasant tweaks.

The dialer on an Orange-branded phone: notice there is no carrier logo

The dialer on an Orange-branded phone: notice there is no carrier logo

Manufacturers do have custom UIs on Android — Sense, Touchwiz, to name a few — but carriers always find ways to modify and brand them. If Google and major constructors were more stringent and followed Microsoft’s lead, the final experience would be more uniform and most users wouldn’t have to worry about many features missing from their devices.

These Little Extras…

Picking the Source of a Contact’s Photo

Haven’t we all wondered where a contact’s profile picture comes from on Android and why one is automatically preferred over another? Windows Phone 8 gives you the option to pick the profile picture you want, be it from a file, Google, Hotmail, Facebook or Twitter for each contact. You can therefore select the profile picture from the source you want, in the event your contact has different photos.

Selecting a photo for a contact

Selecting a photo for a contact

XAP Files to Go

While Windows Phone definitely doesn’t have the best application distribution system, its desktop version gives you the ability to download the installation (XAP) file on your computer and transfer it to your phone to install it. This could be useful in many cases, such as someone else grabbing the file for you or your office connection being significantly faster than your carrier’s data speed.

You can download and install the XAP file manually from WindowsPhone.com

You can download and install the XAP file manually from WindowsPhone.com

Google has, in my eyes, the best application store in terms of features and ease of use. It offers the option to initiate an application download from a web browser – which has been recently implemented on Windows Phone as well – but doesn’t let you download the APK manually. Google can restrict downloads based on geographical limitations or because it deems your device incompatible with an app. However, in spite of these restrictions, manually installing the APK often proves successful, so why don’t they simply let users get this installation file straight from the Play Store?

Conclusion

Despite being our favorite operating system, Android could be even better by getting a few extra features. Google still needs to work on better integration with its services and a more intuitive UI. Android has to be more consistent thanks to a unique UI that’s customizable by the user but not alterable by a carrier. These would help the general audience recognize the interface from a device to another and appreciate it more thanks to improved ease of use.

Other points, such as offline document creation and added features, are secondary, but would also contribute to an enhanced experience on the long run. We trust Google for finding ways to improve our daily lives and are confident some of these features will find their way in future Android releases sooner or later.


  • PGJ

    No, please, all of these changes would be horrible! The “Modern UI” is plain ugly and hubs are the most useless trash I’ve ever seen…

    • Nick g

      Agree 100 percent the windows ui is ugly and hard to navigate

      • hello

        a bit retarded are we? if you find the windows phone ui hard to navigate good luck with navigating android

        • jack

          @hello no, the first 2 posters are right. it’s flat, ugly, non intuitive and downright horrible to use. have you even tried it? if you like modern ui, get a win mobile but don’t foist your choice on android.

          lying and calling others names won’t change the facts.

          • ax

            i changed from an s3 to a 920 not looking back to android

          • Shreyans

            hello to all those calling Win Phone ugly.
            u must read more news, even Apple accepted the power of this so called flat Metro UI and they have announced that they are planning to bring its power in upcoming iOS 7.
            i am using Lumia 800, an older one, and facing the lackness of many features from my previous S2, but the feel and the simplicity in use is really awesome.
            try it for a few days guys. u’ll love it.

    • 3ojwer

      You never used Modern UI on touschscreen. For sure. It’s very intuitive and immersive. I learned how to use interface much faster than on android. And using Modern UI is a pleasure, and using android on not-16 core is a horror.

  • VicVicVic

    Thanks for the article. It’s a good read because I have never used Microsoft’s smartphone OS

  • VicVicVic

    Thanks for the article. I have never used Microsoft’s smartphone OS, so I appreciate the information.

    However, of all the features you mentioned, the only one I am interested in is Unified Messaging. I’m surprised Google hasn’t done something similar with Android, although there are new rumors that they are working on something called Babble that is a unified messenger of sorts. It’s rumored to be revealed in May of 2013.

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  • Chris lick

    An interesting read, but most, maybe all features are not for me. I like live wallpapers, hate mixing my music library with the cloud (to buy more) and I’m one. (ok may be a minority) that uses the 3×4 rather than qwerty keyboard for text input.

  • David

    The interface customization advantage was a stretch. If you think less is more then you have a point.

  • sandisto

    Jeez that was a very thoughtful article that many of your audience was completely unreceptive to. Now you know what it feels like to cast pearls before swine!

    • Jim

      So people aren’t allowed to disagree with an article they read?

      • sandisto

        So people aren’t allowed to criticise commenters who write one throw-away line in response to an article that has obviously taken thought and effort to produce?

  • kiran

    very good article…

  • Carlos Torres

    LOL you better buy a WP, this are not “features”

  • kosh

    How much Microsoft payd for that article I wonder….

    Android is fully personalisable you can change interfaces as you wish, including windows phone interfaces are avaliable for those who like it.

    And we don’t need to loose the real multitasking and a open source plataform to get all this.

    Open your eyes guys!

  • Nikita

    Hw to install all ds apps

  • Nick g

    No matter what else you say the physical menu key, a button or tab is essential to all phones and tablets. To many app developers forget to add a menu function and if your phoneis lacking then tthe app is useless. Point and case intuit go payment app. It has no menu button in its application making it impossible to change card readers, change itemized inventory enter Canadian zip codes (which use letters instead of just numbers). Untill a way to access menus is integrated into every app any tablet/smartphone lacking a menu button is broken. Ergo the windows phone is completely useless for most cross os apps.

  • Jim

    Nope. Don’t miss, need or want any of these Windows Phone features. I like Android just the way it is. If anything I, like others, would love to see better updating of the Android OS but otherwise…

  • http://RANT.COM RANT

    What’s it take to write an article for this website? Apparently NOT knowledge. Wow!

    Besides your scanning subjectively your article is littered with mostly just wrong information!

  • Troy Lytle

    Rage away fanboys. Lol. Seems that is all you can do with Android.

  • http://www.casabona.org Joseph L Casabona

    Thanks for the article Hagop. I actually really miss the ability to choose a photo from FB on Android.

    And don’t worry about fanboys. I got the same backlash when I suggested that Siri was better than what was then Google Voice Actions (Google Now is MUCH better). It’s always refreshing to see objectivity.

    • Hagop Kavafian

      Thanks for the nice words, Joe :)

      Don’t worry, I’m open to feedback and suggestions, as long as it’s constructive and demonstrated properly.

      The article is indeed long, and skimming it may have caused some people to understand my underlying point.

      I’m very glad you did understand my objectivity though.
      Thanks again!

  • Hagop Kavafian

    Interesting feedback…

    The point here that some of you didn’t get is that this article is not about what looks nice and what you can and can’t do with additional apps. It’s a focus on how consistent and straightforward Windows Phone is. Android is my favorite OS and using it on a daily basis is a real pleasure, but there are points that would make regular users find it more intuitive and easier to use.

    Microsoft set guidelines that developers mostly respect so that applications are consistent with the general user interface. Android applications still lack that integration, even though many developers are starting to work on that. A good example is the recent release of WhatsApp.

    Also, the ones referring to my “subjectivity” should think about this: What is thinking “I don’t need this feature” if not subjectivity? On a personal basis, I clearly do not *need* all the features listed above, I nevertheless analyzed *general* improvements that could be considered by the Android team. People may not *need* them, but having them wouldn’t hurt and could make the overall experience nicer for many.

    • Thomas Nithin

      Is it true that a Windows 8 Phone user cant download songs or stuff using its Web browser IE 10 ??
      I just heard an issue like that from somewhere, i believe.

      • chintan prajapati

        use ucweb

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  • Avid Android

    I have owned iPhone, Windows Palm, New Windows phone, …HTC and Samsung are my favorite phones. DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING ABoUT ANDROID.
    Those of you who don’t like it or think it needs to be different get a different phone. Thanks

  • Aravind Sagar

    There has been many comments by both Android and Win Phone fanboys (and those who’re neither). First of all, I’ve been using Android for more than 2 years (right from Froyo) and I should say, it has matured a lot. I have used WP interface a bit (not on a daily basis though) and I find the article really interesting. Yeah, some of these features are nice to use and I would welcome them. The consistent UI, that is surely coming to Android, starting from ICS – jus visit developer.google.com and we can see how much emphasize google has given it. But then again, some of these nice-to-have features, in a way takes away the absolute customization Android offers us.
    Another point would like to make is that most people who says WP interface is easier to learn, must have went to WP after using Android – hence having a familiarity already, with touch based operation. It could have been that lack of familiarity which made their learning curve a bit steeper for Android. For me, the first phone which I got for myself was an Android, and it wasn’t so unintuitive. Things are changing though – long press used to mean something else before ICS – and still some apps are using the old style. They need to adopt this consistency which Android is now offering. Change is on its way though.

  • Sarat

    I have used both android and windows phone. I like windows much better. Nokia lumia 920 is a phone, androids are just devices which you dont know what to do with

    • Viren

      Dear Sarat.,
      Its a not matter either use of android or windows phone, its a matter of easy useful work you can do on fingertips.
      If I want to share or send some of Video or office documents or PDF file every time you have to use skydrive and without internet you can not use skydrive even. so what does it meaning????

      • Bharath M D

        What does it meaning??

        Lol… ! Where did you learn English bro…?

        Anyways, i’ll answer your question: You can send videos or office documents or pdf just by using Bluetooth. If you werent aware, WP8 natively has bluetooth sharing and also Nokia’s Lumia devices running WP 7.8 can share media via bluetooth… So get yourself updated first and then ask for meanings… :D

    • chintan prajapati

      true… noobs will not agree with you

  • Cityboy

    Android is in the market for quite a while and every second phone you see has android OS. You can find anything and everything in terms of Android apps,

    But I love windows phones. Especially Nokia’s Lumia series. For those Android lovers
    who think that WP8 can never compete against Android. Guys, think again…

    Even if WP8 is not so popular, it is definitely going to be for following reasons:

    1. Windows Store has much stricter rules on which apps can appear on store. So unlike
    Android, no flooding of useless apps in store.

    2. Windows 8 and WP8 shares same NT kernel, file system, security infrastructure, etc.
    So developers will have easier time creating and publishing apps for both PC and
    phone.

    3. DirectX11 – Windows gaming platform, is now integrated with WP8. Which will change
    the way of gaming on windows phones.

    Just wait and watch…

  • imamuddin khan

    Thanks,
    city boy and all for providing such a great info abt windows phone.I am planning to buy nokia lumia 520 and am really excited to use that mobile.

    • Thomas Nithin

      I believe you should go for the 620. Its a bit more advanced though smaller and pricey. But if you can afford a little more cash, Lumia 720 is an excellent choice.

      I love Windows 8′s straight-to-the-point manner and simple UI. But the lack of apps and especially the FREE ones are a major disablity !

      • chintan prajapati

        eventually… it solve

  • cheesy

    I haven’t used a WP but as a Windows Desktop Applications Developer , WP OS seems to look pure and appear organized. I would love W8 on a 10 inch tablet. The problem with WP I think is people are living in a fast paced world and they want to see all at once. Android’s biggest seller is their cute but straight-to-the-point notification bar and widgets,an option to make widgets out of anything to digest more info at once, customize the look and feel of the whole of my experience – to make my phone look,feel, and think like me.

    Apple
    You can do only what I let you do.

    Windows :

    You can do it, but you do it my way.

    Android :

    You can do it the way you want to.

    That’s just my opinion anyway. I love my Sony Xperia on Android.

  • Steve

    Wow – to the Android iPhanBoys… I am a Note II user and have used Android regularly since Eclair (Moto Droid then Droidx with several other since, but only because that is the only platform my company develops for. I have tried WP7 and WP8, You have to use it for at least a week to get comfortable. Once you do, it is definitely an admirable UI. When I switched back to Android I missed the modern UI, When I switched from iPhone to Android I did not miss iOS, and When I temporarily switched from Android to WP I did not miss the Android UI. I actually recommend this article to friends who are trying to decide between platforms because it is very accurate, It matches my feelings exactly, and as someone who has used iPhone and Android for years vs a few weeks with WP8, I would say I have a bit more foundation to stand on then the MS haters and Android “Me Too” PhanBoys.

  • chintan prajapati

    but violation with rules…

  • Guest

    Interestingly, I’ve had a Lumia for 6 months with Windows Phone 8. Due to issues with the service provider I’ve recently switched to an Android phone, and while it has apps a plenty, it has a messy interface with (as standard) a painful “Launcher” model. WinPho8 is much easier to use and far more intuitive.

    Put what you use regularly on page 1, and everything else is organised alphabetically on page 2, or contextually reachable, e.g. install a photo editor and when you look at a picture, and choose to edit it, you can from the contextual options in that photo. I don’t have to choose my photo editor and then open the photo.

    I ended up installing the Launch8 launcher which mimics WP8 pretty effectively. It’s just easier to use than either iOs or Android and feels as though it is designed with the user in mind, which I feel that neither iOs or Android are. Just a pity that the range of apps is paltry.

  • greig tardiani

    Quite an accurate appraisal of the Win Phone 8. I have been using Android since v1.2, my wife still uses that phone now on 2.43, she’s about to upgrade to an 820. I owned a Galaxy SII for 2 years and loved it. Also have iPod, iPad, Lenovo ThinkPad (Andrdoid 10″ Tab) and my current favourite Microsoft Surface RT.

    I have just moved over to a Nokia Lumia 920 and after putting up with Androids changeable interface as various elements break and move around, I’m loving the consistency of WP8. I was a heavy user of Android to the point of developing in house apps for work, so I do know my way around the OS. Unfortunately, it’s just messy and old hat because you are constantly on a App Hunt.

    It’s great to have 700,000+ Apps like Android and iOS but the problem comes with finding them when you want to use them. Both OS’s are becoming cluttered and very, very out dated.
    Setting up the Nokia 920 I have found 95% of the apps I used on Android to also be on WP8 and I have NOT paid for one yet. Have a good look at the WP8 apps and you will be surprised at the number of useful apps available, unlike Android and iOS that have, one article found over 2000 versions of Flash Light apps each. If you have 2000 of each app you really don’t have that many individual apps.

    WP8 as a family based system is great, everyone communicates easily and sharing of calendars etc is great at keeping everyone informed. I’m also looking at integrating this at work.

    Combine WP8 and Win8 on a RT or Laptop/Desktop and the system works beautifully.

    Tried this using Android and it would do some but not all, there was always a compromise. Now everything works, email, messaging, calendars, contacts. Make a change on one and every device and shared suer in a Room gets the change.

    I hesitated for a long time in moving to WP8 and I’m very glad I made the move.

    As a techie, I loved the Android OS, but I just got bored with it. As for iOS, does anyone really care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew

    I would tend to disagree with the points made here:

    Modern UI: nope. The tiles crammed together make the UI look crowded. On the same 4′ screen, on Android you can see the notification bar + about 16 apps. On my particular phone I can have 25 neatly arranged with some space between them (not the 1px WP8 gives you). The WP8 UI also lacks symmetry and worst of all, you have no quick access to basic functions (bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, NFC, etc) without an app for that purpose (even then, you still need to scroll like mad).

    Homescreen: I never found Android has too much info. Various makers give certain default info, you can customize it. What you usually have on homescreen is a widget and a few apps, settings and store. The essential. The diverse widgets come into play depending on whether you use them or not.

    Interface: Microsoft gives you what they think it’s essential. Android gives you access to hardware functions quick and easy (you don’t need to navigate away from current app/screen to start wifi, mobile data, gps, bt). You are right about tabs too (Android has them but not always properly used). However, WP8 fails to use them in the context they would be most useful for: separate apps from base phone functions (calls, access to the aforementioned settings, for example)

    Hubs: don’t see what’s the Android shortcoming (except for the incessant insistence to always cram its hubs with *EVERYTHING* with no options to allow easy ways to exclude folders). Music Play for example plays your local music as well as the could folders from Google Music. It’s not integrated with Amazon Music (neither is in WP8) and I don’t want it to be.

    Integrated People Profiles: hell no. No feeds please. When I want people’s updates, I will go looking for them. It’s ok as an option to activate, but no defaults. I like the ability to choose whether I want to install a social media aggregator, because I don’t want an OS that’s crammed with features I won’t use. I don’t want a default pushed to me (unless I have the option to uninstall, which WP8 doesn’t offer), I want an app that allows me to display what social media info I want, when I want it and how I want it.

    Rooms: I don’t see the difficulty in using hangouts for exactly that purpose. You can share what you want with whom you want (even outside Google itself)

    Office: offline viewing is supported in Android. Offline editing isn’t supported right now but it’s coming along. However, there are plenty of apps that offer this kind of feature, integrating several could providers as well.

    Integrated messaging: triple hell no! I don’t want integrated messaging. I want to have separated feeds so I know what I talked with whom and where. I really really don’t want my instant messages, sms and whatnot in the same place. And I definitely don’t want the phone to “intelligently” choose what type of communication to use based on interlocutor’s availability. I don’t want it to switch to SMS when they are offline in Talk for example, I would prefer to leave an offline message.

    Interface Customization: oh wow … you can change colors, can you? And what colors would you change in Android? the notification bar? That’s the only place where you can’t choose theme out of the box (customizable via a few apps) Other than that you can set background (Which you can’t do in WP8). Icons are colored by their publishers so that’s a no-no. I know that in WP8 theming changes the “system” buttons which take way more space than they should and are bland square anyway (no idea why people think of them as “clean” – I would call them pointlessly empty).

    Limited Carrier Branding: I see the general idea, however, that would severely limit third-party innovation. Third party branding allows third parties to create their own interfaces, with completely different degrees of usability that are sometimes amazing. Ok, carries often lack imagination and don’t use them to full potential, but visit xdadevelopers forums sometime so see real creativity, the kind that WP8 doesn’t allow. For example: Samsung’s customization now allows real multitasking on several devices (although it works only with some system apps).

    XAP files to go: have you even used APK’s?! Of course you can download them! Download them directly on the phone, copy them via USB

    On the other hand, here are some obnoxious things about WP8:

    - counter intuitive setup: doesn’t allow you to setup WiFi, but it pushes you to register you Windows account. It simply assumes you have a data plan and that you’re willing to spend it (unlike Android who suggests you to setup WiFi first)

    - counter-intuitive SkyDrive app, only allows you to put photos into it. For everything else you need to visit the respective apps that are SkyDrive enabled

    - for every setting you need to enable/disable (I for example often enable/disable BT depending on whether I connect or not my handsfree, I enable/disable WiFi depending on whether I am in the range of know WiFi networks) you need to navigate to wherever the Settings tile is and then rummage in there.

    • Squish

      You can’t have had much interaction with WP8 based on your arguments:

      Modern UI: You can have as many as 28 tiles displayed at one time. You can pin a shortcut for individual settings to your screen such as, in my case, Wi-Fi is right up front. As far as scrolling like mad, with one flick I can get to well over 55 different apps (that’s how many I have on my home screen). Many of those apps I never open because the information I need is displayed on the tile so in my case it is like having 6 widgets displayed without wasting excess space.

      Interface: Getting back to settings, I agree it would be nice to change those settings without having to leave the app I’m in. Swiping down to access those functions would certainly be nice.

      Hubs: For the most part the hubs work great. The only thing I would change is to add the ability to pin more shortcuts to the homescreen within the hubs. For example being able to get directly to my podcasts and not having to open the music hub first to get to it. Having all my audio apps in the hub works just fine though.

      Integrated Peoples Profiles: If you don’t want feeds in your contacts then simply don’t swipe over. It is completely non-invasive. If you don’t want to use it then don’t if you do, it is available. It also aggregates that information in a way that is easy to glance over and quickly respond to what matters to you. I don’t see why this would bother someone unless they have OCD and simply can’t stand knowing it exists.

      Rooms: This is similar to circles, just easier to use.

      Office: There just isn’t anything that compares to full blown office on your phone for free. Sorry, this isn’t even worth wasting time discussing.

      Integrated messaging: This comment confirmes you have no idea what you are talking about. This operates so seamlessly there is no reason to complain about it. It can automatically determine the best way to message someone but you can also choose what service you want to use to contact them. You can leave an offline message if you want to or you can quickly switch to a different service. There is nothing to be wary of with this. If you want a persons conversations on different services kept separated then don’t link the services together.

      Interface Customization: I agree there could be a bit more customization for backgrounds and it is bizarre that Microsoft doesn’t at the very least have the full spectrum of colors to choose from when selecting a theme.

      Limited Carrier Branding: Thank god the OEM’s and carriers can’t put their crapware all over WP8. That is why Nexus phones are the only Android phones worth owning.

      -counter intuitive setup: What are you talking about? You can set your phone up with any email account if you want (although many features won’t be available, just like google) and you don’t have to have any kind of a data plan. If you want it to be WiFi only you most certainly can.

      -counter intuitive SkyDrive app: I don’t exactly know what is counter intuitive about this. It is different sure, but saving a document to SkyDrive while I’m in the document doesn’t seem counter intuitive to me.

      -enable/disable settings: Again, you can add a short cut tile for blue tooth, wifi, data, etc. Not a big deal. Yes, it would be nice to swipe down to get to those instead but it is a non-topic in daily functionality, it’s fast and easy to get to. And yes, you have to download a single third party app to add that capability but many of androids capabilities also require multiple downloads.

  • mayank

    WP sucks when shortcut notification panel is concerned!!

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