The Windows Phone Experiment is Over

April 9, 2012
5 min. read

My wife and I left webOS when HP flushed their 3 year plan to revamp webOS down the toilet. We tested both Android and Windows Phone. Android is a multitasking joke. Coming from webOS, it has a terrible UI. Windows Phone has very nice flowing UI. We decided to go to Windows Phone.

Microsoft representatives promised to get phones and development credits to webOS programmers. Despite many requests, it turned out to be a bunch of hot air. Sadly, this turned me off to all mobile development.

We slugged along with trying to make Windows Phone a viable mobile solution for 8 months. We are done trying. After two weeks of switching to Android, we know two things.

  1. Android is painful to use, compared to the grace of webOS.
  2. Android is LESS painful than Windows Phone.

I enjoy podcasts. Trying to listen to them on Windows Phone is a complete nightmare. It is so bad that I stopped listening to podcasts completely. It was one of the many things I slowly gave up, because of the lack of usability on Windows Phone.

I have a decent collection of audio books on mp3 format. There is only one way that I could make these work on Windows Phone:

  • Join all mp3s in the right order into one mp3 file
  • Change the metadata to indicate podcast genre
  • Go through Zune to get it on my phone

Then if I want to listen to other things on the device, I get to lose my place.

I used to subscribe to audio books on Audible. I stopped with webOS. This keeps getting promised for Windows Phone. This exists for Android. Which brings us into another factor: apps.

I dealt with the lack of apps, lack of access to hardware, lack of many things on webOS, because the UI is still the best out there.

Two weeks on Android with access to some of the things I have been missing, makes up for a lot of bad UI.

Zune slowly changed from something I have to work through to get stuff on my phone, to something that drove me completely nuts. I setup WiFi sync, so that I didn’t have to constantly connect my phone to download podcasts and other things to it. My Windows Phone almost never correctly download these things on its own. Oh, how many times I watched my phone indicate pending downloads that would never come to pass. WiFi worked to finish the downloads when the software felt merciful and the moon was in the correct region of the sky.

If I wanted an annoying piece of software that was the gatekeeper for my device, I would just deal with the abomination that is iTunes.

File management is a joke. The process of getting a document on and off your phone involves crazy steps of using email, online syncs, and a bit of prayer. I miss the former days of a USB drive mode, where I could just copy files. Guess what? That is back with Android.

While Windows Phone has the same multi-task pausing of the iPhone, it was easier to switch between apps than Android. However, if the app isn’t setup with the Mango resume, the pause before the app resumes is annoying. Really the two platforms are pretty much tied in this race. They both have barely left the starting blocks of usability, compared to webOS.

I thought that the home screen of Android would be more annoying. It turns out to be less so than trying to fit all the apps you want to use on the start screen or looking them up each time in the alphabetical list.

So, what do I have with Android now?

Apps for my credit union, including deposit check via photo. Charging credit cards via a device on the headphone jack. Tethering via USB for free.

Not quite the WiFi hot spot that webOS gave me, but I can have that too if I decide to root the phone. Edit: Found FoxFi, so WiFi hot spot is back.

A video player that plays files I just drop on the phone via USB. No waiting 30 minutes to convert the files into the correct format.

Ambling Book Player that takes an audio book with 250 files and handles it perfectly.

BeyondPod which, while not as nice as Dr. Podder on webOS, can actually manager all my podcasting needs on the device.

Audible. I have missed Audible.

ScummVM is now back on my phone. I was one of the backers for Double Fine’s Adventure game on Kickstarter. I enjoy these things. It was possible with webOS, and now is again.

Things are far from perfect on my Android transition. I have to periodically hit the optimize button to close down rogue apps. I had to get a 3500 mAh battery to make my phone last a day. But things are better.

P.S. I found out that Zune doesn’t want me to go. I cancelled our Zune Pass. Luckily, I had a card stolen and cancelled that card as well.

Now I get an email periodically about how the card is bad. How they can’t charge a monthly fee for a service I cancelled over 2 weeks ago.

Zune, the relationship is over. We broke up.

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