I’m taking a break from Lync blogging to address this…situation I’m in.
So, as the title states, my contract is up and its time to run through the mobile debate once again. If there is stress in my life right now, it isn’t the consulting work or raising 2 boys who are destined to destroy my house, but rather this mobile phone competition created by 6 Apple phones, 4000 Android devices and, like 10 Windows phones. It seems that just by those numbers alone, you’d think I’d maybe follow the sheepish herd, but not so fast. I’m going to essentially “talk out loud” in this blog, so it might get kind of wordy. It’s up to you if you want to sit through my opinions or move on.
So, I’ve been rocking the iPhone bandwagon since the 3G days, so basically 5-6 years of viewing mini-squares, cluttered home screens and countless anticipations of the iOS improvements. I have to say, as of late, I’ve felt very annoyed with my 4s. It’s not that it’s lacking in apps, or is “laggy” in nature, or has annoying updates are always happening, that’s obviously furthest from the truth. For the iPhone, those are exactly everything the phone is NOT, which has been nice, but I’m simply tired of looking at the same screen for 6 years. Think about it, even MS refreshes more often than that with Windows…interesting, eh?
Through those years, I would get excited about each release, the 3GS was pretty well anticipated, but that was quickly trumped by the anticipation I had for the 4 which was really high, then my anticipation declined greatly for the 4s and then COMPLETELY disappeared for the 5. The 5″s”, as we’ll call it, is due out sometime this year by all purposely released rumors. My interest has only slightly returned for the 5s, but I think its more because I’m interested to see how bad the iPhone is going to let down the industry. Wait for it….Wait for it…. “S” now stands for “Stale” in my opinion. I have not read of any major improvements other than the finger print, unlock, thinging. Well, I tried that on my XPS 5 years ago and it was horrible. That was so yesterday. So needless to say, I’m looking at the new iPhone as probably my 3rd choice to use my precious upgrade on.
Now on to the Android. This is a funny situation for me as I’m NOT an Android fan. I have never owned one for myself, but I did however buy an Evo years back for my wife. More on that in a moment…
I’m intrigued by the Galaxy. Its on my radar, at least the Galaxy family is, because #1, I’m a Samsung fan, #2, it’s different for me. Heck, a flip phone would be a positive change at this point in time. If I went with the Galaxy S4, or something newer, I’d have to forklift my Ecosystem I’m in with Apple; I have the AppleTV, 3 iPads, iPod and 2 iPhones. Yeah, the iPads can stay, but its more of the AppleTV and all the things that come with it. For a couple of examples; my kids know how to run Apple Remote on my iEverything, so they can navigate Netflix with ease…AND that’s huge. Our photos go up to the Apple’s “iCloud” for Photostream, so that’s nice. On a side note, Apple’s “iCloud” should be called “iBackupSomeOfYourThingsToOurServers”; It’s far from a Cloud solution. I really love Apple’s Mirroring and AirPlay because I can play my NFL Mobile Verizon subscription to my big screen in HD. So, going to Android would mean I need to find a new place for photos as that is very important and also replace my AppleTv with Roku or something similar and figure out if Samsung’s Play To, or whatever can compete with AirPlay. I know this is all may seem trivial, but still, I need to find the best solutions all over again because this is all highly used.
Now onto my statement about the Evo, which is my segue into Window’s Phone. My wife’s Evo lasted…about 1 year. Awful phone. I don’t think I could say anything good about it. Just awful. So she jumped on the 4s wagon with me and we rode around for 2 years….until this weekend when she upgraded to the Galaxy S4. Yup, it happened. Now keep in mind, when I met my wife, she was furthest from a technology enthusiast. She had a flip phone forever, fought against “Text messaging”, she didn’t understand why we needed internet on the phones, yada yada yada, the push back continued. Fast forward to this last weekend and the debate was on full steam because now she cared about what the phones offer! So, we’ll start with 2 simple reasons why she chose the Galaxy over the iPhone and Windows Phone; She missed the large screen of her Evo days, which the Galaxy provided and she said the Windows Phone was too “Connected”. Really? My wife, who knows nothing about IT let alone the verbiage us geeks use, said “the Windows Phone was too connected”. Well well, what do we have here…
Now we are onto the Windows Phone debate. Because I’m a Unified Communications enthusiast I have a special place in my heart for being “connected”, so when I heard my wife say the Windows Phone was too connected, it was interesting and actually has more weight behind it than coming from tech professionals. Windows 6.whatever, was my first smart phone back in like, 2005 or something and it was awful, but it was nonetheless “different” than what everyone else had (probably for a reason), but I got it anyway. Then I moved up in the smartphone world, landing with iPhones again because it was different and new, then tried the Windows Phone 7 in 2011 time frame while I waited for my iPhone 4 replacement to get issued because I broke it. During my trial run, I was lucky enough to get Mango update. Going from 7 to 7.5 was a HUGE leap forward and now rather than damning 7.0 I was praising 7.5’s foundation. I loved and praised the foundation 7.5 was built on, but still hated the lack of Apps. I’m not a huge app user, but there are the “essentials” as I like to think in my mind and WP just didn’t have them. So fast forward to now at upgrade time and I’m uber-confused because I again want to be different, have something new and have something that nobody else has. I’ve searched my app essentials and they are all there (cough cough, Fantasy Football) and I’ve been reading up a lot about Windows Phone 8, 8.1 Blue and the future of WP. I truly believe 8.1 is going to be the next release that really lights the fuse on Windows Phone if the rumors are correct about all I’ve been reading. When I say “light the fuse” I’m not saying its going to pass Android, but I think it will close the already dwindling gap between Apple and WP and distance itself even further from the BlackBerry’s. For the sake of argument though and to upset all the Android Fan boys, remember, the only reason Android is so far ahead is because it’s free, open and already on 4000 devices…that’s right..4000, look it up. Not saying that’s bad, but it’s easy to tip the right side of the scale with free regardless of how good the OS may or may not be.
With WP, I can replace PhotoStream with Skydrive and go from 5 GB of free storage to 25GB of photo cloud storage (yeah yeah, google Drive has space…but…it’s Google!). With WP, I get “SmartGlass” which is not a replacement for AirPlay, but I think it might be setting the stage for such, so I’m willing to gamble on that. With WP, I get access to a real cloud with Microsoft Office 365 for documents and collaboration , not just glorified backup servers. Being so tightly connected at work and at home, a Window’s phone can now truly bridge the gap of BYOD with Work by using Office products, Lync included and home related things such as Skype, Netflix, Xbox Live, etc. Remember, Skype-Lync bridges the gap from home and work for communication. Who doesn’t want to talk to their family while working on the road as you’ll already be logged into Lync! I know most of that is available on other platforms, but remember, I’m looking for a change to the interface more than anything. The Apps are also expanding as the most major ones that I use are now present or “on the way”. Last but not least, the Hubs or Live Tiles that everyone has already heard about with bright, vibrant and refreshing colors, makes sense to me. As I stated before, too many app icons drive me insane and checking all my popular people apps separately is annoying as well as all my news apps separately too. I like how I can combine all those into individual tiles, which again, “bridges the BYOD” gap and creates a Unified system, so that’s really nice…and FlipBoard is coming to Windows Phone. Praise the lord.
So now that WP is looking promising in my eye’s, I’m confused what to do with my upgrade on Verizon. The only “Real” WP phone available on Verizon is the Lumia 928, but it’s a year old, so if I upgrade I essentially commit to a 3 year old phone by the time I upgrade again which is not ideal to me. I could wait and see what’s coming out in the next 6 months, but that means staring at this danged ol’ iPhone some more *gag* and I don’t think I can do it. Also, if I wait and buy the new WP or even buy the Lumia now and get the 8.1 update when it comes out, I’m pretty much committing to an Xbox One which is unbelievably over priced to replace my $99 AppleTV and existing 360. So what should I do; buy now or wait to see what Nokia, Samsung and Verizon have up their sleeve in the coming months for WP, buy Android or buy a refreshed iPhone when it comes out this fall? Stay Tuned…..
Before I close out, I do want to give my opinion about Windows Tablets, I guess we’ll call them. Is it just me, or does everyone else think Microsoft should modify the Windows Phone OS to put on a Tablet, rather than trying to put the desktop Windows 8 or RT onto a tablet? I think it would make much more sense to try this approach and let the desktop OS be desktop and let the mobile OS be a mobile OS. Just sayin’