Thursday, September 11, 2014

Trading iPhone for Windows Phone - What You Give Up

As Jornata continues to integrate with BlueMetal, lots of things internally are coming together.  One of the things I'm loving is the internal dialog with the team that I'm now a part of at BlueMetal.  Our "geek chat" messaging reminds me of the best dialogs I'd been a part of at other companies, except amped. This isn't coming from just any technology architect. These folks are well-known technology thought leaders, evangelists, and MVP's. With sincere respect, I'll try to avoid getting myself in trouble with them and BlueMetal, but I'm feeling a bit like a kid in a candy store.

Being the C#/mobile (and therefore Windows Phone) junkie that I am, I always watch what's going on in the space. 

While the Windows Phone market share at BlueMetal is significantly higher than the general population, BlueMetal's not just some extension of Microsoft.  There's a lot of the team internally that are Apple and Android fans.   Naturally, when the news of Apple Watch broke, the conversation really picked up, and it was all fantastic stuff to consider.

One bit that came up that I wanted to write this post about, however, was a number of misconceptions that Apple fans had about Apple vs. "not Apple" in the smartphone area.  I can't resist. There are good reasons to not consider Windows Phone, but some are just misunderstandings.

Here was a viewpoint:
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The things I would be giving up by switching [from iPhone] to Android or Windows Phone:
  1. iMessage 
  2. Photostream
  3. Find My iPhone
  4. My apps - the ones which I’ve already bought and the free ones which all work so well.  Windows phone doesn’t have the volume of Apps and Android doesn’t have the stability and polish
  5. iCloud backup
  6. iTunes - songs  I purchase are automatically downloaded to other iPhones and Macs
  7. Apple Watch
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The response was quick and, interestingly slanted in defense of Windows Phone... here's a synopsis, including my own viewpoint:
  1. iMessage is platform specific, locking out non Apple users.   Consider Skype, Lync, or even Facebook Messenger instead.
  2. Photostream - Windows Phone has this functionality built into the OS, uploading photos to OneDrive.  (and OneDrive has working multi-factor authentication, so you won't have to worry so much about selfies unexpectedly going viral.
  3. Find my Phone - yes, built into the Windows Phone OS... just a check box, and yes, it's saved several of my family members more than once.
  4. Apps -  I have to admit, there's no recovery for the investment made on iPhone/iPad apps, but there is this saving grace...  with Windows Unified apps, the app purchases you make on phone apps often entitle you to the same app for tablet and PC as well.   The marketplace is improving daily, so the general marketplace app gap is narrowing.  The Windows Phone app marketplace has better technical governance than Android's, but not as mature as Apple's, yet.
  5. iCloud backup - Windows Phone has OneDrive backups with much easier access to the content.
  6. iTunes - consider Xbox Music. With a low priced subscription, you can stream music to your phone, PC, tablet, and Xbox, and if you purchase or rip music, it makes it available thru the cloud to ask your devices... No need to sync your phone with a PC. Content just shows up.
  7.  Apple Watch?   Hard to say on this one... but I consciously traded my watch for a good smartphone long before iPhone came out.
Still others piped up and noted how well integrated Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8 (and I would add Xbox)...  All of them work independently, but put them together, and you have a ton of really great ways to do things like manage your home network, participate in entertainment, and even keep your kids safe while browsing the 'net.
 
In my opinion, Apple serves a few purposes...  they change folks' minds about what technology is socially acceptable.  The industry needs them for their competition and for their tech fashion sense.
 
It seems clear to me that the net result is that by trading in an iPhone for Windows Phone, you give up some investment in Apple, but you gain quite a bit of functionality and security for doing so, especially if you're also a Windows and/or Xbox user already.
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