Just a slight diversion whilst I’m in the middle of my next post on LINQ’s Aggregate extension method – which is actually taking longer than I thought – to talk about Windows Phone and the convergence of platforms in general.
I got my Nokia Lumia 800 a couple of months ago, having owned a couple of HTC Android phones in the past, and have finally started to get this smartphone thing. And I never really saw it on the Android platform, I have to say.
For starters, the people / contacts synchronisation on WP7 is superb. Android has a nice address book which sits on top of GMail, which is nice, and has some form of linking with Facebook. But WP7 is streets ahead really – it links Facebook, LinkedIn, Hotmail, Exchange, Gmail etc. etc. all together. You can send stuff to them, message them (via whatever mechanisms they have set up e.g. facebook, email, sms etc.) really easily.
SkyDrive synchronisation is also very, very good – especially as SkyDrive is finally getting DropBox / Windows Live Mesh-style client capabilities. So I can take pictures on my phone, and have them automatically synced to the cloud. When I log into my home PC, they’re already there.
The Home page is also much more powerful, in my opinion, than Android (or at least, Android 2, which was what I had on my Desire – can’t comment on later versions) – the Live tiles are great, and configurable e.g. in the People app, I can make a group of certain people e.g. family and pin that Group to the home page. Any updates (email, facebook, SMS etc.) show on the tile as they happen.
The inclusion of GPS into a lot of services helps as well – not just mapping, but also geo-tagging of photos (not that other phones don’t have it, just that my older Androids didn’t do it very well) and weather, what’s on around you, bus times etc..
In some ways I actually prefer using my phone than my laptop or PC for some tasks because it has the “mobile” aspect of it – just sitting down and sending a tweet etc. rather than having to fire up the laptop and then go to Twitter or TweetDeck etc..
Particularly with Windows 8 coming out soon, my phone gives me a feeling for where MS see the three or four platforms going i.e. make a change on one form factor, be it phone / table / PC, and the other devices seamlessly synchronise up etc.