Saturday, January 12, 2013

Windows Phone 8 doesn't need apps, it has it all!

I’ve found the entire experience of using my Windows Phone 8 to be superior to my nearly two years using Android.  The biggest knock on Windows Phones are they don’t have as many applications (120k) as iPhone (700k) and Android (900k) does.  After using my Windows Phone 8 for about a week, here’s my response to that statement, “Who cares.”

The primary reason behind my statement is WinPh8 already has most of the applications people use every day built in.  The other phones don’t.  For the longest time people wrote applications in the iOS and Android ecosystems because those phones were deficient in everything. 

Here’s a quick summary of all the built in applications that cover 95% of what people use every day. 

The People application syncs with every major social networking application, sans Google+.  Want Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other feeds in one place…done. Want to setup public and private Rooms and Groups that people can join and enjoy…done.

Integrated email application that works with all major email services, integrated calendar with people support.  The messaging application is unbelievable.  It works as a text messaging, instant messaging, VOIP messaging hub.  I was chatting with someone the other day while he was on his Skype account, while talking with other people on their cell phones via text messaging.  Works perfectly.

Camera application has tons of built in features to manage, post, share, edit and sync to the cloud.  Skydrive integration is the best I’ve seen so far.  Take a picture, it’s up on your cloud drive.  Create, edit and manage a Word doc on Skydrive, easy as pie.  Office integration is another huge built in app.

I could go on and on, Maps, Photos, Store, Music, Videos, the XBox app is incredible!  OneNote, local scout, Data Sense, IE 10 compresses data to save on limited data plans.  Even the Wallet app is the best NFC eWallet application I’ve seen.

Here’s the killer part.  If you need to exchange, upgrade or change your Windows Phone for another one.  It pulls down ALL your settings, ALL your applications, sets EVERYTHING back up as it was.  I know, we had to go through that process this week.  We wrote down all the apps thinking we needed to reinstall them.  The wireless rep, did nothing.  I did nothing.  The phone self-configured itself and we never did anything. 

Yeah, iPhone and Android have 1,600k apps.  I would be bet all but a few are really worth having.  On WinPh8, you already have everything you need and more.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Windows Phone 8 vs. iPhone vs. Android

When you compare the Apple iPhone and the Android phones out there, you get a lot of interesting comparisons and in many cases, high quality products.  The iPhone set the stage for a real world, workable, touch screen smart phone.  Android raised the bar higher by opening itself up to allow any manufacturer to customize and expand upon its new OS. 

The Apple ecosystem has long been a successful implementation of a closed solution.  Apple tightly controls the user experience and what apps are available.  They rescued the music industry from themselves and in the process defined how people will get and use media, both music and video.

Android took a very different approach.  Rather than keeping their entire ecosystem locked down, Google opened everything up and gave it away for free.  Phone manufacturers, wireless providers and even Amazon, went out and expanded upon the Android OS.  This was needed because for many years Android wasn’t a fully featured OS. 

Through all this innovation, new technology and ground breaking solutions/apps, their efforts aren’t new.  Nothing Apple or Google (and its partners) do is novel.  In fact, if you look at the OS’s themselves, their UI’s are stale, they use dated icons that have been around since 2000 and even the phone designs really aren’t any different than each other.  They do get thinner and add smooth finishes, but in the end there’s no real innovation past the touch screen.

See this picture of the first iPhone and the iPhone 5.  The iPhone got a little bigger, thinner, cooler metal covering, but the OS, the look, it’s all the same.  Android isn’t any different.  I was stunned to see how plain Jelly Bean was when I first saw it.  Take away widgets and you’ve got nothing new, nothing novel. 

All of this isn’t for nothing.  I’ve been exposed to Windows Phone 8.  We finally have an OS that novel, it’s new.  The icons aren’t old and dated.  Their alive, changing, morphing and giving the end user information at a glance.  The OS is blazing fast.  Android runs on Java.  Java is a synonym for molasses.  iOS is fast, but not as fast as Windows 8 Phone.  When manufacturers come out with quad-core processors, Windows will smoke any Android running the same hardware.

We live in a world with color, lots of them, millions of them.  Why does iPhone and Android phones come in shades of gray?  Look at the Nokia and HTC phones.  Their awesome.  They feel great, look even better.  Their profile matches the OS perfectly. 

These phones boast all of the latest technologies like NFC, wireless charging, HD screens, incredible battery life, state of the cameras that take awesome low pictures and so much more.  Android and iPhone boast many of these same features, but only the Windows Phones has everything.

While Microsoft’s market share is minimal, wait a couple years when everyone’s 2 year contracts start to expire.  You’ll see more and more of these devices in people’s hands and in the real world.  Android and the iPhone aren’t going anywhere, but this is no longer a 2 horse race.



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome back NHL!

There were times in the last few months that I was more confident that the NHL lockout was going to cancel the 2012/13 season than be settled.  My confidence was at the highest when the Penguins owner, Ron Burkle, who is renowned for his negotiating skills joined the fray.  He nearly single handedly struck a deal with the NHLPA overnight. 

That, like many other sessions, fizzled when the players association reps wouldn't take the NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, offer.  At that point I thought, "The season's doomed, we might see hockey in the fall of 2013."

A federal mediator joined the talks and after trying for 13 times, they finally hammered out a 10 year CBA that should benefit the league and players in many ways going forward.  Bettman praised the mediator's efforts during the talks and I feel without government intervention, this deal would never have happened.  Which is something I thought I'd never say out loud.

2013 is a new year filled with many surprises.  Now, the Penguins have a legitimate shot at another Stanley Cup again.  I'm looking forward to their games now the Steelers gently bowed out of this NFL season.  All I can say is, Go Pens!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Blessings

Well we are one day into the New Year and I'm sure many people have broken their resolutions while others look forward to a bright and wonderful future.  I never put any stock into superstition and with the 13th year of the new millennium upon us I expect a lot of blessings will given to us.

There will be plenty of opportunities to establish a stronger place in our society.  Our society continues to grow closer with the use of social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on).  We must capitalize on our ability to spread the Good Word out and praise the Lord God for His boundless grace and love.

As people hope for a better future in 2013, I look across the political, social and physical spectrums and I see plenty of angst and concern among the people.  Wars continue to rage across the lands, both confrontational and secret ones.  Politics and the incessant in-fighting that continue to stalemate governments.  People are reluctant to change are faced with a ever-changing world that will them behind. 

But lo!  Be not afraid.  Jesus is immutable, our constant in the maelstrom of life.  His hand extends out to us.  The one and only God, so caring that he enters the storm with us!  He endures our heartaches, our pains and our conquers them all. 

Remember Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry."

Place your burdens upon Christ and you will find out his yoke really is easy to bear.  Let us all have a blessed New Year and thank and praise God every step of the way.