Jul 11, 2013

5 Reasons to Consider a Windows Phone 8

You probably aren't using a Windows Phone 8. With ZDNet reporting the phone only has 1.2 percent of the smartphone market share, it's clear Android and iOS are the definite dominant operating systems. But while Windows 8 gets a lot of flack for its distribution and functionality on desktop and laptop computers, it shines on a touch screen and is a worthy consideration if you're in the market for a new smartphone — especially if you do a lot of business on your phone, with its integration of Microsoft Office. And with rumors of sexy updates coming soon, according to InformationWeek, consider a Windows Phone 8:

Photo of a Windows Phone 8 by Nicola since 1972 via Flickr

1. The Kernel

The Windows 7 phone experience was based on the Windows CE kernel, but this time around, Microsoft has based the mobile Windows 8 operating system on the full-fledged version of Windows 8. This gives developers more resources and flexibility, which leads to better performing applications. The Windows 8 OS is more powerful on a technical level than Android or iOS, although that might not be immediately apparent when you look at the surface. The OS does require power hardware to run it, so cheap cell phones at T-Mobile are not going to be able to handle the Windows 8 experience. Microsoft's OEM requirements for the Windows 8 phone operating system includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, 512 megs of RAM, 4 gigs in Flash memory, DirectX support and multi-touch screen.

2. People Hub

While Windows 8 phones are lacking in several major apps that many people consider essential to their smartphone life, such as Instagram and Google Maps, it does have good software options. The People Hub, for example, brings all of your social media feeds together into one app. You can easily go from Facebook to Twitter, looking through the latest updates and keeping up with your friends. The Hub concept carries over into other aspects of the phone, such as a media hub.

3. The User Interface

Windows 8 might be clunky in some areas, but it delivers on the user interface. The Metro UI that's so reviled on laptops and desktops makes perfect sense on a touch-screen smartphone. It's a big difference from the way Android and& iOS handles navigation and the UI, so it has a learning curve to it. Once you've gotten used to the way Windows 8 organizes things, you're going to wonder why the other mobile operating systems don't handle things the same way. The main interface gives you the essential elements you need, and situational options are contained within a sleek bottom bar. If you don't like the way the interface is set up, you can customize it so the information that you need is right there.

4. Microsoft Office Support

If you use Microsoft Office for your business or personal life, Windows 8 phones offer a full-fledged Office experience. Android and iOS phones have apps to view Word docs and other Office files, but you cannot manipulate them, in most cases. Microsoft's mobile version of Office doesn't have that restriction, so it makes a lot of sense to deploy Windows 8 phones in a business that relies heavily on these applications.

5. Carrier Customization Restriction

Some Android smartphones are heavily branded by the wireless service provider, with bloatware galore, custom UIs and even essential operating system features locked away or tweaked in a consumer-unfriendly fashion. Windows 8 does not allow these types of carrier customizations, although carriers are able to load applications onto the phone. It's a lot easier to uninstall some apps than edit out a ton of branding and carrier tweaks.

Have you tried out a Windows Phone 8? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.
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