I have been a Windows Phone user for a year and a half – one of the few remaining Windows on mobile users. But the shortage of apps finally made me say goodbye to Windows Phone and embrace Android again with a new smartphone.
When I bought my Microsoft Lumia 640 XL in September 2015 I knew that it would come with certain limitations. But the craving for a fresh phone without the issues of my previous Android one was big enough to tempt me into a new eco-system. That was the latest Windows smartphone in our market at the time and a very affordable one. It promised better battery life, good camera, and unusual interface.
Most promises came true. Lumia had excellent battery life and refreshing interface that I quickly got to love. The camera was not that good – photos in low light conditions came out too desaturated and often enough I had a pink circle issue with daylight shots. But the main quirks came with the eco-system itself, or translating it from the market lingo to real language, with the apps. After all, smartphones differ from older phones mainly through their applications.
Limitations of Windows Store compared with its Google opponent were not so huge at first. I was able to find most apps for most tasks and more. Alternative Instagram client on Windows Phone, for example, has some features that official Instagram client should definitely borrow. Some photo editing apps are simple but to the point. Camera app from Nokia had manual controls – the luxury that I didn’t have on my previous Android smartphone at the time. I was even able to get my banking app and download some nice games with promotions. Finally, I had to leave some Android apps behind but welcomed that with hopes for less time spent in the app world.
Then Microsoft presented their new Lumias. Too expensive for me, but it all kept people hooked to Microsoft with expectations for more to come. Expectations grew weaker by the week and now only some die-hard Surface Phone dreamers, as well as Microsoft bloggers, believe in the future of mobile Windows. Certainly, the system is not going to die soon, but the amount of app limits and lack of any real perspectives is too obvious to ignore.
One day I finally realized that I had to go back to Android. Even if some Surface Phone indeed becomes a reality it is going to be an expensive piece of metal with few applications to make the life of its owner an entertaining one. I still love Windows Phone interface – those adjustable tiles (especially the transparent ones) in one continuous flow. I still feel more secure with Lumia’s battery. And I’d miss the extra functionality of some Windows apps. But now I will have many more apps to choose from and enjoy in the first place.
For almost a week now I’ve been a happy Android user – one of the millions. My phone is no longer unique in its colour, interface and mobile OS, but at least I can be more productive as far as the apps go. Oh, no desaturation and pink circle issues with the camera anymore. Though it comes at a cost of a weaker battery (nominally it is more powerful but runs out quicker).
So, when some Windows Phone fans keep on repeating the same mantra about Windows being superior in all aspects and about them having absolutely all necessary apps I can only smile and wish them all the luck in their satisfaction. I am on the other hand one of the thousands who were not so lucky. Maybe we are just too demanding, but can so many frustrated Windows Phone users be wrong when they abandon the sinking ship? I don’t think so.
Microsoft could be a good alternative OS on mobile if it pushed harder and drew more developers into its eco-system by hook or by crook. But the Redmond company was either ignorant of the market demands or not interested in its mobile presence. In any case, I say thank you to my Lumia for giving me some great experience. Now it is time to get even greater experience out of Android.