Move to Android from Windows Phone – 2

Mostly, in the last post, I tried to say that moving to Android was not that bad and that I wished I had done it bit sooner. Putting aside the difficulty of switching to any new phone (moving contacts, video, pics, etc.), yes, the switch was painful, but using the Android was smoother than I expected.

It has been easier to see myself as a new Android user than an ex-Windows Phone user. In fact, you can finally get apps for most things you want to do. Almost any site that supports an app uses Apple or Android/Google apps. Going to the Play Store and finding an app is so much easier than piecing together some way to do the same thing on Windows Phone.

I briefly used a Apple iPhone a couple of phones ago. Three out of four people in my household uses iPhones. I tried one of their old phones and just couldn’t hang. It’s why I bought the Nokia.

Now, being the only person without an iPhone is no big deal. I can still find an app for that with the exception of FaceTime. I feel good about this.

I was gratified to find these apps that were key on my Nokia: Outlook (native Windows Phone email and calendar); Cortana; Office but mostly OneNote; Onedrive integration for my photos and documents. The one thing I miss is the Driving Mode app. Windows Phone as a great one. Nothing I have tried in Play Store comes close.

The popular sentiment is that Microsoft is exiting the phone business in favor of having apps like Outlook on every platform. That is mostly true for my needs as listed before. However, Microsoft is missing the mark and this could be bad for them. Microsoft has a history of throwing in late, investing a lot, and catching up through market share. That goes back to Excel vs. Lotus. No one wants to have some buggy contact management app on their phone. There are three choices right off the bat with my Samsung Galaxy. Use Google Mail/Calendar, Use Samsung Mail/Calenadar plus something like Contacts and Calendar don’t require to use any “smart” features. You could simply store them on the phone.

For Outlook to supplant those options, it has to be rock solid right out of the box and it isn’t. Yet. For me.

Full disclosure – I worked in Office. The Android app seems like it was developed by Android developers with less than perfect understanding of Outlook.com or Office. This is might be actually true, but even then, it is no excuse for the inconsistencies in the app. This appears to be one of those cases where the right hands does not seem to know what the left hand is doing.

Outlook for Android is not a great piece of software yet. The calendar is nearly hopeless at this point as what are clearly bugs are not understood to be bugs. A simple example is that old outlook events cannot be deleted in the calendar or even edited. If you create a new one in the Outlook for Android, it can be edited and deleted. That means either the app is bad or the underlying implementation of outlook.com and its events are bad. How could I know? Either way, that’s a bug within Microsoft and that’s not something that seems to be acknowledged.

I also contacted support and walked through a problem of state not being saved for an Outlook calendar that had more than one shared calendar. The only place Outlook had a problem was with Outlook.com. My Office 365 account and my GMail accounts worked perfectly. The support person was not understanding me because I was told that it was by design. Any software professional knows this to be one of the most difficult-to-square places to find yourself with a support person. Eventually, I just gave up.

On the other hand, the native mail and calendar apps on the Android phone work fine. They have their own idiosyncrasies but those are well known in the Android development space. UI is inconsistent and weird at times. There is a dependence on words in the UI in some places, icons in others. But, at least, you can change or edit old calendar event.

Plus new apps:

Google Maps is great.  Turn by Turn directions with nothing additional. Or you could use Waze. Waze is great. I could not use that on my Nokia.

“Ok, Google” is pretty good. I like Cortana more but only on Window Phone. Cortana on Android is available but it is not as good on Android. Huge step backwards. Microsoft is losing there like in Outlook for Android.

OneNote and OneDrive – no loss of fidelity there. Still awesome.

Lots of good apps for traveling – Expedia, JetBlue, Alaska – I could never find good travel apps on Windows Phone.

FlightAware – still good.

Kindle is better. Instagram is a push. LastPass is good.

WhatsApp – not sure if that is on Windows Phone now. Feels native to Android.

Asana is not on Windows Phone.

In general the experience has been better in banking, bill paying, fitness, YouTube, and cloud.

 

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