Windows Phone vs. iPhone

I have two phones. An iPhone 4 & a Samsung Focus (the first one, without the front camera). Both have come from my job; paid for, I can’t complain. I got my Focus at launch; my company was just piloting iPhones so ActiveSync was open for anyone. Once the iPhone project moved from pilot to ‘real project,’ ActiveSync got stuffed behind the barrier of a mobile device management gateway — a gateway that would only work for iPhone (so I guess I should say an ‘iPhone management gateway,’ but I digress), leaving me out in the cold with my Windows Phone & corporate email.

I understood, took my new iPhone and started using it. Mail + calendar were top priority (and the whole reason the company was paying for my phone service), so I had to switch. About a month went by. I kept my Windows Phone as a sort of ‘Zune that doesn’t suck:’ WiFi only. But that got old…

So I switched back. The microSIM in the iPhone doesn’t fit the normal SIM slot in the Focus, but some creative Xacto-ing brought it back to life. I didn’t have corporate email, but I did have Outlook Web Access through the browser, so, in a way, it was ok. Eventually I’d wire up a convoluted scheme of transferring mail to my own Exchange environment & pumping calendar through Google with Google Calendar Sync — long story short, it was painful & gave me read-only access to my mail. But nonetheless, I was ok with that. I’ve tried switching back to iPhone a couple of times; unfortunately, I’ve only lasted at most 11 hours. Here’s why:

Zune Pass vs. iTunes Cloud

Zune’s service is just awesome. $10 for all you can eat music streaming, on PC, Xbox, web & phone. I listen to music at least half of the day, either at work, in the car or at home. It’s a must.

iTunes Cloud is great and all, but it’s still only music you’ve already purchased/pirated/downloaded. At $1.29 a song, that gets me about eight new tracks for the same price as Zune Pass.

Live Tiles

Live tiles are, simply, brilliant. A tile with some info that can update itself with more info. No longer is one required to dredge through multiple apps (with multiple experiences) to get info. It’s all on a home screen, no interaction required.

People Hub

The People hub is a tile/app of your people. Opening the people hub gives you a list of all updates from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Windows Live (not that anyone uses the last two, but that’s beside the point). I can’t find an alternative to that anywhere. Updating status is the same way — people hub –> post message –> goes to all or some networks at once.

SkyDrive vs. iCloud

This is really only about auto photo syncing (I know they both do more, I just don’t use it). They both do it and do it well. Tie.

Metro

Metro is beautiful. Bright, contrasting colors without being obnoxious and clear, simple text. It’s clean and efficient, and I’ve fallen madly for it. It brings me to the next point, which is really what makes the Windows Phone so irresistible for me:

Consistent User Experience

I hear a lot of bitching about WP as not having any apps. True, there are very few apps compared to the other behemoth App Stores of Apple & Google — but that’s ok. I have a few apps — Woot, Bank of America, Reddit, Foursquare — but almost everything I do with my phone on a daily basis is baked into the phone. What happens when the OS provides these capabilities? The user experience is seamless. I don’t need a bunch of disparate apps with their own interfaces and user experiences, because the phone does about 95% of what I need it to do on a daily basis — read mail, browse the web, listen to music & use social networks.

The user experience is consistent across the board. Metro enforces that. Metro is not a coding language or framework, it is a design principle. It is a design principle so simple that we should have had it years ago — but in the insanely fast mobile development world, Metro is king for user interaction.