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Switching to WP8

My Android Background

I’ve owned a HTC Desire for almost 3 years (100 years in dog smartphone years) and it has been quite an experience.

  • It was never particularly brilliant at being a phone. Calls would often drop, or never make it through at all.
  • The Desire had a bug that meant that replying to an SMS sometimes sent your response to someone else. If you had a mistress, I imagine that could have lead to some difficult conversations… :)
  • The amount of storage for apps was ridiculously limited. It was supposed to be 512MB, but somehow HTC managed to reduce that to 147MB. There are a few ways around this limitation.
  • The last official OTA update was to 2.2 – Froyo. Yup, not even Gingerbread. The official (7.2) Cyanogenmod release did get you to 2.3. But apart from unofficial roms, that was it.

Fixing (some of) the issues

I finally installed a beta Icecream Sandwich (4.04) rom, but now the phone crashes a few times per day. Downgrading to 2.3 did not fix this crash. Generally, the crash isn’t problematic, but as my phone is my alarm clock, when it crashes overnight, I get to sleep-in.

I stayed with 4.04 as some apps, including the modern, greatly improved google keyboard, simply don’t support Gingerbread.

Also, it is laggy as heck.

Phone usage

  • I do use the phone/SMS functionality so that isn’t optional
  • Non-phone communication – I have Y! Mail, Gmail, LinkedIn, Viber installed
  • Internet browser
  • Alarm-clock – I have fairly specific requirements here and Alarm Clock Plus works really well for me
  • Evernote, Dropbox
  • TODO list (Wunderlist)
  • Music Player
  • Games

Why WP8 ?

I’d be happy to stick with Android, to be honest. But:

  • None of the current flagship android phones are particularly tempting, e.g. Galaxy S4, HTC One, Xperia Z …
  • It costs £100 for an unlocked smart phone (Lumia 520) !
  • It covers most of my use cases

Experience so far

  • So far it has been pretty snappy. The specs are not a million miles away from the Desire on paper (1GHz CPU, albeit dual core and more recent I guess, 512MB of memory), but even so, it’s a far nicer experience
  • I’m covered with most apps – Mail, LinkedIn, Shared (Google-linked) Calendar, RSS readers, Browser, …
  • I’m disappointed with the enhanced alarm apps. There is a limitation in WP8 which means that alarm apps can’t work correctly in the background and in any case, have limited access to the volume. I’d like to have an app that begins by vibrating and then have a sounds that slowly increases in volume. Maybe I could simulate this with an appropriate tune?

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