I recently purchased a Windows 8 Phone and I have to say I’m rather impressed. I’ve used Android phones and have had to deal with the iPhone. Androids are solid phones, simple to use but can get a bit clunky if you use a lot of apps. The iPhone, well I never really thought much of the iPhone. They are nice and many people swear by them, I’ve just never really been impressed with them. You either do things Apple’s way or you don’t do them at all.
So what makes the Windows Phone stand out from the other two? A LOT less clutter and better, seamless integration with productivity Apps; if you are looking for something that is used primarily for business communication then the Windows Phone should be given a serious look.
Home Screen aka Revenge of the Tiles
Windows 8 was designed for mobile devices not desktops, hence the backlash from the desktop users. It is clear that while it gives Desktop Users fits of rage; the Tiled interface is a breeze for a Mobile Device. The interface is clean, simple and very customizable allowing you to pick and choose what apps are the easiest to access and rather flexible in how it can be laid out. You can have as many or as few Apps on your Home Screen as you want. That may not sound like a benefit at first, until you start to play around with the Resizing capabilities for each tile and setting up “Folders” to consolidate similar Apps.
The Home Screen for the Windows Phone is laid out in a Grid that allows you to adjust the size of an App Tile and place it within that Grid. Small, medium and large tiles will enable you to configure as few or as many Apps as you want on your screen. Currently I am able to access 18 different Apps without having to scroll using small and medium size tiles. Each of these Apps is placed within the Grid based on my preferences.
But let’s face it, it will take some getting used to the interface if you are used to an Android or iPhone.
Probably the biggest draw-back for many is the lack of Apps available for the Windows Phone. Compared with the Android and iPhone, the Windows Phone is far behind in the quantity of Apps available. Notice I said “quantity” not quality or variety of Apps; how many different Apps for Gmail do you need after all? But don’t let that fool you. Depending on the Make and Service Provider, Windows Phone comes with a bevy of Apps. There are enough Apps to satisfy the vast majority of Business users. Every major social media platform has an App available on the Windows Phone site and the number of Apps available is growing.
Windows Phones comes with several mobile versions of Microsoft products. OneNote, Outlook, OneDrive and Office are standard. The Office App is not only a stand-a-lone App but will also connect with your Office 365 subscription to further extend its capabilities.
Which brings me to the next aspect:
Connectivity and the Mobile Office
One of the aspects that the Windows Phone beats Android and the iPhone at is the ease of connecting to other services. Setting up a WiFi, Bluetooth or other wireless connection is quite simple. Configuring your email is a breeze.
But the most impressive aspect is the flawless integration with Microsoft’s Cloud services and Applications. Let’s be honest; how many times have you heard someone make the previous statement about a Microsoft product? If you have an Outlook.com, Office 365 subscription or a OneDrive account, you can easily integrate them into your phone. The Apps are already installed and it is simply a matter of connecting them to your account.
The ease of integration with your contacts and calendars make the phone a great deal easier to manage. If you have an Outlook account or Office 365 subscription, your calendar and contacts are synced with those accounts. No more worrying about how to transfer your contacts and calendars from desktop to your phone or vice versa. Once you log into either account your phone automatically adds your contacts and calendars. Conversely, adding a contact or calendar item on your phone will automatically update them on the services so when you return to your office those updates are there on your computer.
For those Google Apps users, much of the same rings true. Your Gmail and Google Calendars will sync pretty seamlessly with the phone. However, there are some issues and it can glitch out requiring you to download separate Apps.
There are several other aspects that make the Windows 8 Phone stand out from its competitors. But here are a couple worth mentioning:
Hubs for instance offer a great deal more than just shortcuts. The Music Hub for example allows you to access your music from the cloud, your phone or even other Apps such as Spotify or Deezer. The People Hub is also incredibly powerful allowing you to access all of your interaction with a single contact whether it is a text, phone call or on Facebook in one spot.
Rooms are another unique feature to the Windows Phone. Chat, share photos, calendars or notes with specific people even if they don’t have a Windows Phone. Having this kind of instant access and communication to people in your office is a must for some people.
There are other elements that I won’t go into as it would make this post far too long. With that said, if I had my choice for a business centric Mobile device, it would between two: the Windows Phone and Android. My leanings are towards the Windows Phone but it ultimately comes down to what you want to do with the phone.