Editors note: Guest post by Alexander Zumbro, a teenaged lover of technology.
We all know that smartphone use is on the rise. Out of teenagers alone, the number of smartphone users has tripled since 2008 to around 25%. When most people hear smartphone, they immediately think about iPhones or Androids. Most people don’t consider the third major type: the Windows Phone 7.
Microsoft was late to the game with Windows Phone 7, releasing it in 2010. Since then, these devices have slowly gained market share. I became a WP7 user at the end of last year when I upgraded to the HTC Radar, and have really enjoyed the experience. With new releases, like the Nokia Lumia 900, there has never been a better time to consider a Windows Phone.
Microsoft went in a new direction with the interface for the Windows Phone. Unlike iOS and Android, where you are greeted with pages of square app icons, the WP7 uses what Microsoft call the Metro user interface. The main feature of this interface is Live Tiles, which are tiles that display constantly information. This takes away the need to launch an app, making it easy accomplish more tasks in less time. The keyboard featured in WP7 is the best I have ever used on a mobile device. The overall experience on a Windows Phone is smooth, with little to no lag time when switching between screens and launching apps.
Microsoft has set the required specs for Windows Phones, so there is almost no variation between phones. All phones have a single core processors, 512 MB of RAM, and 480 by 800 displays. Since these specs were set in 2010, they now seem trivial when compared to duel or quad-core phones with more RAM and higher resolution displays. However, try not to read too much into the specs; as I said above, the user experience is slick. All phones also have a dedicated camera button, which is a nice feature you can use to take pictures without having to unlocking your phone. Just another example of Microsoft simplifying tasks.
Apps And Zune
Apps are a major category where the Windows phone falls short. While OS level apps such as IE, Mail, and Calendar work great. Yet, WP7 does not have nearly as many apps as iOS or Android. Core apps like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and most recently Skype are available, but others such as Pandora, Dropbox, and Google Voice are not offered. Third party apps attempt to substitute this gap. Looking forward, apps will become an increasingly large component of the OS in WP8.
On a final note, Microsoft has developed superb Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. This should increase the selection of apps drastically. On the gaming side, WP7 takes advantage of the Xbox ecosystem, and lets you earn gamerscore on the go! On the other hand, games like Angry Birds Space Edition and Draw Something are not yet available. Windows Phone gives you your music, videos, and podcast though there Zune app. To use the Zune app, all your content has to be organized via Zune.
I love my Windows Phone and would recommend it to anyone! Codenamed Apollo, the next update of Windows Phone, has a lot of questions attached to it. However, if you are not worried about the future proofing yourself, I would definitely advice you to keep an open mind to Window Phone.