When Microsoft announced that it would be starting all over with Windows Phone 8, many users wondered how the company would position its smartphone operating system as an alternative to iOS and Android. Businesses wondered if this would finally be the operating system that gave them a way to easily enable workers to use their devices for work-related tasks.
Users questioned whether Microsoft would finally deliver a smartphone experience that was user-centric and modern. The thing is, Microsoft did manage to create a smartphone ecosystem with distinct advantages over Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Windows Phone 8 continues the middle-of-the-road approach its predecessor began where hardware choice is concerned. All Windows Phone vendors must adhere to a chassis spec: that is, a list of minimum requirements to run Windows Phone.
Together these requirements, along with Microsoft’s dedication to ensuring that the Windows Phone software isn’t altered in any huge way by companies like HTC and Samsung, guarantee a quality experience for everyone. Users can go from a HTC HD7 to a classy new Windows Phone 8X and not have to relearn the operating system or suffer from a hardware manufacturer’s decision to take out buttons or run operating system skins like HTC’s Sense 5.
Users who have never played a game on an Xbox 360, can pick up an Xbox LIVE game on Windows Phone 8 and feel right at home. To make matters even better, Xbox LIVE achievements are built into most of Microsoft’s in-house games.
Not to be forgotten, Microsoft’s SmartGlass takes being a media remote to the next level. Using the application on your Windows Phone allows you to instantly control, and learn more about what you’re watching, on your television set. Sure, it’s not particularly a Windows Phone exclusive, the application is available on both iOS and Android. However, only on Windows Phone does it completely integrate into your device’s media experience.
For just $10.99 users can download as much music as they want using the Xbox Music Pass Service, and have that content sync to their Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices.
As the only mobile platform that ships with a modern version of Microsoft’s Office suite for free, Windows Phone is the destination for anyone who uses Office often. Even though it is a mobile version, users can edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote notebooks without the need to download any third-party applications or pay for any other applications.
The process of taking and backing up your pictures is painless with Windows Phone 8’s SkyDrive integration. With it you can back up the photos on your phone by simply taking them and letting the operating system handle the rest. Depending on your settings, that can mean an automatic backup of that picture in its best resolution to SkyDrive or any application that’s been designed to integrate with the operating system, like Flickr.
Xbox Music also attempts to remove the pain points from smartphone usage with its automatic syncing of music downloads from its Windows 8 counterpart.
Office 2013 on Windows Phone 8 allows documents to sync directly to a user’s SkyDrive account automatically, just like your photos. These files can then be opened on SkyDrive.com, Windows devices and even devices running iOS and Android.
Text messages, settings and a list of installed applications are stored on service as automatically too, which is why restoring a Windows Phone device doesn’t mean that users have to lose all of their device’s information.
By far, one of the most aggravating experiences on any computing device is maintaining accounts across devices. Thanks in part to Microsoft’s Hotmail and Messenger clients, anyone who’s ever used a Microsoft Account to connect with any service will have their information show up immediately on their device, once they’ve logged in.
Currently, users can tie in their live account to Xbox, Outlook.com, Skype, Gmail, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. No other smartphone platform has that ability on this number of services.
With these advantages, Microsoft has created a mobile platform that can at least stand up to its rivals, So far sales numbers of Windows Phone devices haven’t reflected this yet, but as users start to look for things that expand their mobile experience, it’s clear that these advantages will become more important.