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Why I prefer Android instead of Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7 is a loved mobile OS. I am fortunate enough to own both a Samsung Galaxy S II and a Nokia Lumia 800. I really like the Windows Phone OS. Then why do I love Android more?

True multi-tasking

While WP7 does contain multi-tasking, it is not like Android. When you go to another application or the start screen, the app saves the information it needs to its settings storage. It will stay in memory for a while, unless the OS decides it needs the RAM. ¬†As long as it’s in the memory you can still access it, but there is no guaranty that it will stay there as long as you want it. If the phone decides it’s time to close the app, it can still load all the settings to continue where you were, but still… You might’ve lost something if not properly programmed. With Android you can keep everything open in the background as long as your RAM allows it. Only if you really don’t have the power, it will close it. These situations are rare in Android. With Android you can just have services retrieve everything in the background, with WP7 you have a limitation of 9 background tasks. I’ve had the warning that I wanted to run more than 9 background tasks many times.

Apps

When it comes to apps, WP7 is lacking. There are apps I use a lot on Android that are not available. For example Trillian and the ABN Amro app. Another thing is that apps win WP7 can’t access all of the components of the OS due to sandboxing. With Android I can let an application (Tasker) do specific tasks based on where I am, what time it is or even what SSID I’m connected to.

Customizability

The great thing with Android is that it is so easy to customize. You can install different roms, install a new launcher and just use different icons. WP7 does have some options but it is limited to setting the background color to black/white and setting a different accent color. One thing that I hate is that you can’t define custom accent colors, you’re stuck with the default ones.

With Android you can have widgets and set them up on your home screens. In WP7 you can set up Tiles. A problem with the tiles is that you can’t really customize them. You can’t use a 2×1 or even a 2×2 tile, they’re all 1×1 tiles. They can update in the background to show you for example the weather, but that takes up one of your precious background tasks.


VS

(of course you can have a white background, but I think you get the idea)

Notifications

While WP7 has notifications, they seem to lack in comparison to Android. With Android you can have a notification and look at it later. With WP7 you get it and you can do 2 things, look at it directly or try to remember to look at it later. You can argue that the live tiles contain “notifications” but I don’t have a tile of all the applications I get notifications from. Also, I don’t want to scroll all the way down to see if any of my tiles have a new notification. I want a list of all of the notifications so I can look at it in one glance and select what I want to view now.

Speed?

Speed is a bit of an issue with Android. While I have a dual core phone, it can sometimes lag. This is due to the fact that I have a lot running in the background. My WP7 device only has a single core but due to how it handles applications the lag is never there.

I am a power user, I do a lot on my phone and it is not unreasonable that my phone can’t always handle it. My next phone will have a better processor so it will handle it all.

Conclusion

While WP7 is nice to use, it doesn’t hold up to what I want in a mobile OS. I want to do what I want to do, not what Microsoft thinks I want to do. I want the freedom of using a different look. If I don’t like the roms available, I want to be able to make it myself. I think both OS’ will do great but I just prefer Android.

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