There has been a lot of fuss in late 2012 about the Windows Phone and in customary Microsoft style, they used both holiday seasons (Thanksgiving and Xmas/New Year) to their full extent in getting their message across with a number of devices launched and heavily marketed in the last few months. Android phones have been around for what seems like forever with an ever increasing number of devices and applications. So how do they match up in real terms?
Well let’s start with the capabilities of the hardware. Nokia, HTC and Samsung have all launched high-end Windows Phones in the last month or so with stunning screens and 4G speeds. Pretty much the same storage, processor and screen technologies are available in both platforms, each creeping a little ahead only to be overtaken by some new feature or another. The user is left to look at what appears to be two identical devices, with different capabilities. The obvious move is to compare specifications but you are going to find the same gorilla glass-protected Samsung display shared by both platforms on numerous devices – specs are not as important for comparisons anymore it seems.
It was a recent complaint that the amount of apps available would be a limiting factor when it comes to Windows Phone sales, but Microsoft and the world of mobile developers has put paid to that complaint with well over 120,000 apps now available for Windows Phone – Android is over 170,000. The Android family of operating systems has been seducing apps developers for many years to encourage production but at the current rate of development, you can expect that playing field to level out sometime soon for the Windows Phone.
What is for sure is that the Windows Phone operating system is a solid piece of work and due to certain well-considered decisions about how the graphics re handled on different screen sizes, allows apps to reproduce accurately independently of the screen dimensions and capabilities. Android users who switch from on screen to another will notice a marked difference in many cases with some screen ratios and sizes proving a bit much for those programmers with less time on their hands.
Microsoft has been pushing the process along by offering incentives to developers to create more apps too. This has resulted in a popularity gain from users although how many of those apps are innovative and how many are simply ported from Android developments is another question. Regardless, it is too much really to expect Microsoft to create thousands of new app ideas out of thin air. The most likely scenario is that many apps will simply be available on whichever platform you prefer and developers will continue to innovate with more platforms to program for.
In terms of usability, Windows Phone OS has it hands down. The interface is a lot simpler to use and intuitive to navigate. Android can be clumsy and try to do too much at once and has a habit of crashing. One of the advantages the Windows Phone has over the Android is that Microsoft also produces the Xbox. For gaming users this means they will be able to play their Xbox games through their phones – this brings a whole new dimension to future gaming so for these users a Windows Phone might be the best bet.
Android have been reported to fix many of the crash problems they had and still offer the best variety of gaming and other software but really only by a short nose. Rather than clearly define the winner, better point the prospective buyer to the advantages of each. The Windows Phone is only available in certain models but the ones they do have are very well featured. 4G connectivity on Windows Phone is a great feature too but can be hard on the pocket if you surf a lot – the option to go 3G is available on some models however. Android has the greatest choice when it comes to contracts and payment plans and tons more hardware to choose from.
Whatever your choice, even if you are not buying from a particular store, go and hold them, try them out and compare the specs that are important to you – if you need a good camera for example, choose a device accordingly . Whether you go Windows Phone or Android is going to be a personal thing because at the end of the day, the spec sheets are pretty much neck and neck with no clear winner in sight!