I have been through a lot of mobile devices. When I started with Kraft Kennedy nearly 14 years ago, I was given a SurePager and it was a fantastic device. People could send me text messages and I could reply with one of 5 pre-canned responses. Technology was amazing. Then I moved on to BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile, back to BlackBerry (what was I thinking switching to Windows Mobile?) then finally to iPhone. Once I got used to the on screen keyboard, I was a happy camper. I have become quite entrenched with Apple products in the past couple of years having an iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook and an AppleTV.
When Nokia and AT&T announce the Lumia 900, I signed right up. “Why would you do that?” and “You’re an idiot.” were common responses from my friends and co-workers. I did it because, I get bored easily and I like trying out new things. Windows Phone has a bad reputation and the only reason I can think of was that people had a bad taste in their mouth from Windows Mobile. They would be correct. Windows mobile was horrendous as a mobile phone operating system. It was great in its early years running on PDAs, but it was never designed from the ground up to work as a phone and by using your finger instead of a stylus. Microsoft and phone makers tried, but to no avail. Windows Phone OS was designed from the ground up to be a phone Operating System and I think Microsoft did a great job, and with Windows Phone 8 on the horizon, things are only going to get better.
Going into this I knew that I was going to have to sacrifice some things. Coming from an all Apple experience, I knew I would be sacrificing some integration. Things like photostream and Airplay would no longer be available to me on my Windows Phone. However, I went into this with an open mind and I was pleasantly surprised with the phone and Windows Phone Operating System.
Windows Phone is a very slick and different interface. It looks and works completely different from iOS so we probably won’t see Apple suing Microsoft for copying their designs. Once I got used to the different interface, I was able to operate very efficiently. While it takes some getting used to, its great having all of your online accounts working together. Windows Phone integrates with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in addition to various email providers. While there are not as many apps in the Windows Marketplace as the Apple App Store, most of the apps people need are there. If you’re thinking of switching to Windows Phone, you should make sure any deal breaker apps you need are there.
The screen, while not as high resolution as an iPhone, is a sight to behold. The larger screen is very nice, and the colors are fantastic. I found AT&T’s LTE service is just as fast as Verizon’s, though not as wide spread. People have knocked the processor of the phone as being only single core. The phone runs perfectly fine. Navigating the menus and interface is as smooth as an iPhone and smoother than most Android devices. The benefit of Microsoft restricting the hardware that can be used is that the software is very optimized and runs great like Apple/iOS because they were made for each other. However, with Microsoft, you also get the benefit of having a choice in different phone makers.
There are some down sides and one of them is a deal breaker for me in being able to recommend this to clients. While Mac computers have a reputation of being simpler and less complicated than Windows PCs, the opposite is true of Windows Phone and Apple’s iOS. This is a blessing and a curse. Most people will find the phone very easy to use, but more advanced users may not like the lack of customization. While bothersome, this is not a deal breaker for me. The big issue with Windows Phone right now is the lack of full device encryption. This is essential for any security minded organization. On the bright side, the next version of Windows Phone is supposed to have this feature. The ability to edit Office documents as well as synch with SharePoint servers will be great for companies. I think with Windows Phone 8, we’ll start to see this platform start to take hold more in a business environment.
While I can’t recommend Windows Phone for corporate use because of the encryption issue, its a great personal device and should not be dismissed especially at the price point of the phone. With the rebate Nokia is offering for the next few days, the device is effectively free. Even without the rebate, $100 with a new contract is a great deal.