Surprise! Windows phones rock

Everyone seems to spend their days trying to be different, be that bright orange clothes or buying a Ferrari.

But when there are only three options in an area, it doesn’t matter how different we try to be, we’re all more or less the same. This is even more the case when we reject an option out of hand.

Oops, try

We’re talking about phones, and the group think which has led to people sitting in either the Android or iPhone camps. People wear their choices on their sleeves as though the little OS’s are their sporting heroes.

And let’s be honest, Android is pretty much a monopoly. One phone on a different OS, on a less than equal market share, doesn’t count as adequate competition. (And no, a slightly larger model iphone doesn’t change anything.)

Why do we stand for this? Imagine if Coke were the only drinks company apart from Tizer. No one would be applauding the quality of the market.

We’d be demanding more, and better.

Perhaps one of the reasons Microsoft have remained so consistently irrelevant on mobile is because they make so much money from their Android patents.  (More than they make from Windows Mobile, if you’re wondering.)

Or, perhaps it’s because we’ve group thought ourselves into rejecting the OS out of hand.

We decided to take a deeper look at the OS.

There are some downsides, to be sure.  For example, the lack of apps in the app store.  Even where apps do exist, like Gmail or Starbucks apps, they’re made by a third party, and you’re going to have to trust whoever that is with your data.

Another downside is the lack of flexibility on the lock screens.  Where Android gives you widgets and info, manipulation and opens source manipulation, Windows phone is only dipping its toes in the water.

However, it’s surprising how well an OS which works only mildly well on desktop shines on smaller devices.

The tiles come alive, becoming a useful way of combining a wealth of information in a way which is easily customisable.  We’re looking at weather, emails, alerts and news all on the same screen.

It’s pretty quick to use too, on even reasonably low end hardware, and perhaps because of Microsoft’s lowly mobile share, decent phones seem quite easy to come by for an economical sum.

Another plus was we stopped finding ourselves disappearing down endless settings screens just to change the wifi. It’s all pretty simply and obviously laid out.

Then there’s Cortana, it’s the Microsoft digital assistant and is just as politely useless as the Google version or Apple’s Siri, although less funny than the latter.  Maybe it’ll learn a sense of humour.

With those cheap phone prices, Microsoft are clearly going for basic users, those comfortable in Windows and not looking for adventure. Especially given the lack of apps, that’s a sensible approach.

Windows 8.1, surprisingly good

But with responsive design, HTML5, web apps and the like, native apps really aren’t as relevant as they used to be. A lot is easily achievable through a decent web browser.

So maybe those with a little sense of adventure should try it too.  if you try something different, look at that old, fallen behemoth, Microsoft Windows, and think about being a little different from everyone else and trying a Windows mobile.

We know, radical!