Crumb of thought: Windows 10 Mobile
In my relentless search for something new and different, I am trying to talk myself seriously into Microsoft’s latest mobile OS.
I am happy with my Nexus 6P. At times, I’m really happy.
In general, I’m mostly happy.
I can’t help but think positively of it, because it ticks all the boxes a premium phone should, and it does so particularly well.
I wish its battery life was a little better, but the USB-C-enabled top up is so fast and convenient that I tend to forget about it.
But maybe I’ve just reached a peak, and am note in love with Android as I used to: I’ve mastered it, got to know pretty much every corner of it, and use it more as a tool to get things done than anything else.
In short, I wish I used my 6P more than I do — and it’s not because there are not enough apps, I reckon. In fact, there are plenty, and they get more beautiful by the day.
I am the problem — I’m settled and satisfied, but at the same time a little bored, and I’m beginning to see the greener grass of the other side.
Being a tech enthusiast, I not only like to tinker with my devices, but love to cheer for the underdog.
I switched to Android when iOS was still a superior platform, with better devices, and have nonetheless loved almost every bit of the journey.
And now that Windows 10 Mobile is possibly much less mature than Android ever was back in 2013, I am spending more and more time trying to understand whether I could possibly move to it full time.
The short answer? No.
The slightly longer one? No…t now.
As I explained here and there in the previous posts, I am mostly getting sick of the lack of a proper flagship hardware to showcase Android (and go a little further). The Nexus 6P is no exception, and the more I use it the more I am convinced by it; my 48-hours’ impressions remain — I’m overall underwhelmed.
Save for a few and sparse innovative features here and there, Apple alone has managed to surprise me with genuinely exciting ideas — Touch ID and 3D Touch being two of them. Those, thrown on top of the beautiful package the iPhone provides, has brought me dangerously close to going back to it.
This year, the Galaxy S6 edge (and edge+) have done so too, but the high price combined with a better-but-still-not-quite-there TouchWiz have stopped me.
In short, close but no cigar.
Now I need to look forward.
I’ve summed up my thoughts about the ethereal ‘Surface Phone’, and what I — more or less — expect from it.
If Google weren’t to manufacture a ‘Pixel Phone’, then I believe that Microsoft alone will be able to fulfil my geek’s needs.
I may be wrong, buy my expectations from pretty much any other OEM are close to zero. Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG on one side, Lenovo/Motorola, Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi on the other: there’s nothing about them that even remotely sparks my interest. I keep seeing anonymous slabs taunting numbers and shiny metal bodies instead of features that would actually delight customers.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has lit my heart up with the Surface Pro 4 and especially the Book (the history between the Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge reminded me why I love gadgetry so much), so my hype for the phone is sky-high.
I believe in Microsoft.
So the next time I shell £400+ for a phone, I will demand something bold, new and different. Yes, this time even an iPhone, if be.
I know that switching to another — mostly subpar, due to the infamous ‘app gap’ — OS is no easy task, and even though I know the risks (that beloved ‘settlement’ that comes from an OS’ maturity, which could fade away quickly), the excitement of using something new and fresh takes over.
And so, eagerly awaiting for a concrete rock to hit the ground, I am testing the waters.
So far, the one thing I’ve been surprised by is the customisability of the Start Screen: I love it because it manages to have a cohesiveness that mimics iOS’, but at the same time is elastic enough to allow creativity. I would love to play a little with it — and I also think that the idea of Live Tiles is the best combination of app-launching icons and widgets, something both Android and iOS lack.
Also, I really like the design consistency Windows 10 is working towards — it’s something Android is finally catching up with thanks to Material Design, and one of iOS’ strongholds since forever, but while I am not a fan of the latter, Google’s software blows my mind continuously.
As apps get updated Android becomes more and more of a beautiful-looking OS (which will make the transition harder), but Windows 10 manages to please my eyes as well — especially now that the heaviness of the Metro interface is going away.
I really had no idea that it was so customisable, and I absolutely love it.
And that being the Start Screen… makes me feel that I’m off to a good start.
For the next year or so, I will be looking forward to seeing where Microsoft will take the OS next with the Redstone update, and how successful the Bridge program will or won’t be.
With a much more supported and polished OS, I believe that switching will become much easier than it is now. And I can’t wait, because I really want to.
What also I can’t wait for? Joe Belfiore to come back in grand style and drive this ‘mobile-first’ Microsoft in the place it deserves to be.