So, as a veteran of the Android OS since 2010, and the release of the Nexus One, I find myself at somewhat of a crossroads. I’m considering a different path, and I felt the need to discuss why. Here’s why…
Which Mobile Platform Now? That’s the questions I’m asking myself.
Android burst onto the scene and delivered what many tech enthusiasts were after out of a smart phone. Something that was functional, but configurable and fun to use at the same time. Up to that point, many had to be content with the purely Enterprise-friendly Blackberry devices by RIM, or the slightly less intuitive, but more powerful Windows Mobile platform.
Coming from Windows Mobile the change was relatively easy, and I find myself looking to add Widgets, change wallpapers and started to automate some of my daily tasks on my phone. I was never happier with a device. It might have helped that the Nexus One was such a brilliantly engineered piece of kit. HTC, now of One M7, M8, and M8 for Windows fame, showed their hand early in the Android game and delivered something truly unique in the market at the time.
So, you might ask, why am I now considering my options?
I’ve long utilised Google’s suite of applications. Gmail, Google Search, Chrome, Now, and more have all become mainstays in my daily life. However, my main email account is still an ISP specific one with a redirected domain. I find myself using Gmail simply as a spam-trap account, and for online memberships that aren’t specifically important to me. Google Now, whilst brilliant, is still lagging behind its US counterpart if I wish to stick with UK (British) language options, and I don’t find myself using it anywhere near as much as I did when it was first introduced.
Then there is Chrome. Chrome is an application that was used across all of my devices. It spans my phones, tablet and PC/Laptops, and I came to love it from it’s very inception. Latterly however, it has become unwieldly. It’s footprint has grown astronomical, and it’s ability to scroll on a mobile device (even flagships) is not what it once was. With Android L and the move towards lower end tech running higher end software (or requiring lower specifications), I’ve since started using Firefox on my mobile device, and experimenting with others.
That’s when I look over to iOS and Windows Phone with a little envy.
Apple has long been a market leader in innovation, and has recently released its iPhone 6 phones. It’s curved design, and smooth finish is, once again, testament to a brilliant engineered piece of kit. What’s stopping me going to iOS? Price predominantly. For a good piece of kit, you expect to pay top dollar don’t you? The recent influx of Far East devices with their good build quality and ever improving software has started to buck that trend. I can no longer justify spending over £500 on a “flagship” device when alternatives are available for as little as £250-300 and with comparable specifications and daily speed.
So, onto Windows Phone. I do own a Lumia 630, primarily as a second device. However the ease at which this, frankly budget, phone deals with daily tasks such as email, taking pictures, messaging, social media, media consumption and, yes, browsing, has caused me to seriously consider a Windows Phone device. The app store is not something that is as much of a concern as it once was with Microsoft doing a better job of attracting developers to its mobile platform. Many of the “core” applications you’d expect to find on other mobile platforms can now be found in the Windows Phone marketplace too. What I’m not convinced of however is its longevity in terms of a mobile platform that can continue to grow and more important, innovate. The market share has increased of late, but many are still reticent, even after the release of the M8 for Windows Phone recently, to dip their toe into Microsoft’s mobile platform pool. Is that a huge consideration currently however?
As you can tell, I’m left with somewhat of a quandary.
I believe I could get used to the eco-system Microsoft deploys, with my daily use of Office, OneNote, etc on my Surface Pro 2 device. It seems like a logical choice. However I’m still drawn into the fact that, with Android, if I ‘want’ to perform anything a little more geeky, then I need only fire up a browser and find out how. Windows Phone is fast becoming my preferred choice, with Android L the only possible chance it has of keeping me as a customer. iOS, sadly, is too generic, too closed, and too expensive for me currently. However Apple’s hardware does take some beating.
Let’s see what happens, but I’d quite like to get hold of a 930 (1030 anyone??) and see how it fares.
What are your thoughts on your future device/mobile platform, and does it really matter to you that much? Leave your comments below.