3 Reasons Windows Phone is Better than Android for the Average User

The smartphone industry’s well-kept secret is out at this point: over the last few weeks there have been dozens of editorials, where early Windows Phone users compared their experience of Windows Phone 8.1 to that of the iPhone and devices running Android.

Not all the feedback these users, who have been supplied with near-final versions of the Windows Phone 8.1 update, has been positive. Today, the software is rather buggy due to devices not having the final software fixes they need. Those software fixes will arrive when the final version of the software begins making its way to iPhone competitors, like the Lumia Icon, later this year. They won’t restore any of the hubs that longtime Windows Phone users loved. Those hubs weren’t frequently used and won’t be making a return.

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Despite the loss of Hubs, which allowed users to do related activities all in one place, Windows Phone 8.1 is blossoming into a better alternative for users defecting from the iPhone than Android. Microsoft started on this path by introducing a very rigid set of requirements for early Windows Phones. Now, it’s slowly changing the operating system so that device makers can build things in to and create new phones that are every bit as powerful as their Android counterparts without the issues that Android causes

The Store and Software Are Secure

Windows Phone Store

Long time iPhone users might not know this, but Android allows users to install applications from the Google Play Store, its own version of the iTunes Store. Users can also download apps from websites through the Chrome Browser. The idea is that Android users get the best of both worlds, a curated store front that showcases the best in apps and doesn’t allow in anything dangerous and a way to get apps that Google wouldn’t necessarily showcase in the Play Store.

Mostly, the two-pronged approach works. Or at least it would work if both approaches didn’t rely on there not being developers willing to take advantage of users for personal gain. Apps that make it into the Google Play Store aren’t necessarily curated. Instead, Google lets any app in and relies on users to flag the dangerous ones. That means that Android users could end up downloading sketchy apps from a store they’re supposed to be able to trust. Meanwhile, users can install apps from websites by toggling a few options, but this too leaves them vulnerable to whatever code the developer might have left in the app itself.

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By comparison, Windows Phone takes Apple’s approach. Apps are curated and checked for malware and dangerous code before they enter the Store not after. That means Windows Phone users are always safe. Determined users can still side-load apps to their device with the necessary free tools too.

Early Updates Without The Hassle

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Both iPhone and Android users love to get their hands on the latest software. It’s understandable that after watching someone hype a software update that is intended to fix issues, normal users would want it as soon as possible.

Apple requires that users sign up for their developer program at $99 a year, then they can load their device with new versions of iOS after they are announced. By comparison, Google relies on users who don’t have a Nexus or Google Play Edition Android smartphone to jailbreak their device and install the update on their own, without any official guidance outside of the Android Community itself.

It’s dangerous, and surely some of Android devices have fallen victim to a botched update or unlocking. The ironic things is that users wouldn’t have to risk this if Android device makers didn’t conspire with carriers to essentially lock down Android devices. Each Android device maker and carrier also takes months to finally deploy an update. That long wait for an update happens even when the new version of Android only includes a few fixes.

Windows Phone users simply join the Windows Phone Developer Program free and install an app their phone. After putting in their Microsoft Account and checking for updates, they’ll immediately be given access to the latest version of Windows Phone made available in the Preview Program. It’s as simple as it could  be, and users get the final version of the software automatically when it’s released to everyone else too. Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 and had it running on thousands of enthusiast’s devices in about two weeks.

Power Without the Fluff

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Early in its life Microsoft kept device makers from making too many changes to the Windows Phone software. They were allowed to include custom apps and services with the operating system, and carriers could also install their own apps on devices they sold to their customers. However, each app that carriers and device makers installed then, and even today, is user removable. That means that if users don’t like a specific app they can uninstall it without hassle.

This requirement, plus Microsoft’s refusal to let device makers install skins over top Windows Phone, earned the platform a reputation for not being customizable. I’d say that’s a reputation that it deserved, and that’s why Microsoft has lately been trying to find a line between rigid and well designed. In Windows Phone 8 this manifested as custom alerts and ringtones from the audio that users load on their devices. Soon, Windows Phone 8.1 will allow users to install apps that completely customize the look and feel of the locks screen.

More recently, Microsoft let Nokia include small apps that customize Windows Phone even further. Nokia Glance lets users get updates and the current time on their Lumia Windows Phones when they’re screen is off.

Today, Windows Phone is almost as open to the user as Android, without the dangerous side effects. Windows Phone 8.1 allows users to set their default messaging and video chatting apps and photo apps. Developers can also create apps that plug into the Windows Phone 8.1 People app for social media integration on the fly. Last week Microsoft announced that users would be able to move files around on their devices. That’s something iPhone users can’t do today. Windows Phone users could now download a torrent app and then move that file to their Music or Video folder for playback. Windows Phone already lets users access what’s on their devices without the need for apps like iTunes.

All told, Windows Phone 8.1 is about compromise. In this case, this compromise relates to how to approach smartphone users. The iPhone locks everything down in the name of keeping users safe whereas Android leaves the flood gates open for anyone and everyone to do what they wish.

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Meanwhile, Windows Phone users get a mix of both. Options without excess and features that aren’t hindered.

Comments

  1. Scott says

    I would qualify this as a fair and balanced article. But technically, Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview was installed on approximately one million devices in three days according to Kantar. That is considerably more than what is reported in this article. I think it was more than what Microsoft expected as well. The Windows Phone enthusiast community is very engaged.

    • sira29 says

      Coming from Android, I had no idea that I could get rid of Carrier installed junk. After reading this article I uninstalled one of Verizon’s piece of gems and it felt great.
      I think just being able to install the latest version of OS the minute it is available anywhere, is one huge advantage over Android and iOS. Windows 8.1 has been fantastic.

    • cac101 says

      This article doesn’t even pretend to be unbiased. It says editorial right at the top and that is what it is—an opinion piece.

    • moderndaysaint says

      $99 to get the update as a developer (meaning right after it’s announced, rather than having to wait and get it with the general public). It says it right up there in the article.

  2. Kaushik Banerjee (@doctorjee) says

    Extremely biased… The author has picked up the best features of android os and tried to raise doubts regarding them… For decades people have been downloading exe files and installing in their windows laptops and desktops… There was no app store… In iOS there was only the app store… You can’t install files from outside… Android gives you both…
    That’s flexibility and convenience my friend… And for any malwares that you are so afraid of… there are excellent Antivirus softwares like avast or McAfee… So if someone isn’t stupid enough to install dating- meeting apps or not to have a good av… Android is just perfect…
    And then there are so ooo many more reasons…

  3. mohit modi says

    I use win phone 8.1.. was a android user .. using andriod tablet and have spends days in iphone.. but windows phone is one of a very special kind.. and it has been installed in over million windows phones , so much that the windows store crashed leaving it unaccessable and that is a good news because it shows our enthusiasm

  4. James says

    Micro$oft’s desperate attempt to sell their crap. They even post a stupud article like this.

  5. Joe W says

    Windows Phone 8.1 is a winner! Have owned both iPhones and Android my new Windows phone is easily my most favorite smartphone to date. Folks ask “what is that?” Then I hand my Windows phone to them and after a few minutes it’s easy to see they are impressed! 😊

  6. Prawal Srivastava says

    Being a 8.1 user and after using a lot of android (of course, as everybody else has it) I’ve got to say that windows gives you a different and better feel all together…. and also has been reported that new smartphone users are getting inclined towards windows phone quickly (US already has 10% of windows phone 8 devices)…
    I love handling it… much more easier to run and very safe… I’ve seen android users struggling with viruses and bugs but being safe from all those gives me a special feeling… And nokia has made it more special for lumia users of 8.1 with their innovative apps…
    Kudos to Windows phone… big thumbs up

  7. xankazo says

    Very well written article. Windows Phone is really good. WP8.1 has just made it special. I can’t wait till it goes final and the new devices arrive.

  8. Rajesh Kothari says

    How can it be called a smartphone – when one can’t attach a document on the phone while replying or forwarding a mail? Such basic functionality is not provided in Windows Phone 8.1 (and earlier incarnations) and no one writes about it even.

    • Nathaniel Elliott says

      I don’t know what mail app you’re using, but on Outlook and Yahoo! Mail I have been able to send attachments multiple ways, including while replying or forwarding an e-mail.

  9. Sam says

    Windows Phone is great, we bought the original iPhone “2G”, then 3S, then 4S, switched to 920, 1020 and an 8X. Gave my grandmother one of the 4S, when ever she have an issue an I have to fix her iPhone, I literally have to dumb myself down to figure out how to use the phone.

    Also had the Galaxy S3 somewhere in between which was better than the iPhone because it was open, but Windows Phones are the best of the lot for me.

  10. Formedras says

    Yeah… this is pretty biased, even though I do like WP8.1. (WP8.0 is JUNK.) For example, Android users get the ability to COMPLETELY customize their Android experience. Lockscreen widgets and homescreens don’t need rooting to use. Apps are allowed to use just about any hardware (save a few buttons) on the phone, including the volume buttons. Custom ROMs add in the best notification center controls on any platform, and can go so far as allow you to not even touch the homescreen at all.
    Also, although the Windows Phone does use MTP on USB to give access to most files, not everything is accessible, AND applications need to specifically register file types to see them on user storage. Read-only access. Which if you’re wanting to back up your users’ files from your app onto the MicroSD card, makes your task almost impossible, and never easy for the user.
    One more thing. Internet Explorer SUCKS. Let us have our Gecko or Webkit or Blink or Presto engines!

    That said, there are a lot of things I prefer on Windows Phone. Who cares about iPhone or Google Play achievements, when you’ve got your Xbox Gamerscore to increase? How about syncing your data, transparently and seamlessly, between your laptop, tablet, and phone? Good luck on Android. And although I’d think Apple could, I doubt they do. The homescreen and template app styles surpass both Apple and Google. (Well, when you have the option of 3 mids across, anyway.) List goes on.

  11. Ace Mud says

    Love their innovative products. Given their time in the hardware marketplace, Microsoft hasn’t even hit their full stride. With the power of world’s largest and most successful software manufacturer behind their new hardware (check out the surface 3) and acquisition of Nokia, it is only going to get better. Go Microsoft!

    Besides using the “we got more apps” or the “we are more popular” argument would like to see somebody try to post a “why iPhone or android is better than Windows Phone” article with legitimate comparisons

  12. DigitalDan says

    My wife and are a multi OS family with MacBook Air, iPhone, Windows desktop, Windows laptop and now a Windows Phone. I really do love my experience when using the iPhone and iPad (especially for integration with all my music equipment), but as someone else noted on this thread, there really is something “special” about the Windows Phone experience.

    The Live tiles are amazing for “glance and go” , and the way it works just makes sense. I’m also an Office 365 users and love how everything syncs flawlessly across all my Windows based products such as OneNote.

    I tried the Android experience long ago and wasn’t happy (with credit due for all the advancements in the last few years) and feared leaving iPhone would be a pain, but my Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview experience has been flawless so far. I really do hope they pump up the ap’s though and it will be quite awhile before I give up my iOS (iPad) as it’s an integral part of my musician life.

    If they could get Android ap’s to run on Windows Phone in some type of “run time” environment, WP could soar to new heights. My 2cents….

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