Jellybean & WP7

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(Image taken from official Android site, adorable btw)

Android 4.1 (Jellybean) has been out for a bit, but I finally got the update on my Xoom tablet. Here’s my critique so far:

They claim that it is smoother, but on the Xoom, I experience some lag here and there. Ice cream sandwich was actually a lot more smooth, but still better than Honeycomb which was really laggy.

Google Now: Impressive smart searching. I haven’t used it to its full extent yet, and it’d probably work better when I’m travelling.

Improved widgets: I love it. Now, if you want to place a widget in a location that’s already occupied, the icons move away to other locations on the grid (if they fit) automatically! And yes, they are now resizable (actually I think they had this in ICS too but I’m not sure).

There are some better animations across the OS as a whole, and there has been another font change. I can only think back to the font debate we had back when I was working at Lookout.. whether to use Roboto, Droid Sans, or our own custom font. Now there’s another to worry about for JB. Oh, and this issue is back: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=23863 (facepalm)

Other than that I don’t see very many differences. There -are- a lot more new things you can do in terms of development though, which is exciting news. I’m glad that more apps are being built on tablets, some with impressive UIs, too.

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(Taken from official Samsung website)

On the topic of different OSes, WP8 is coming out soon. I realize that I never did a review on my new Windows Phone that I bought about 2 months ago. So I got a Samsung Focus 1 (I thought it was the Focus 2 for the longest time..),  I got it used for mid $100s, compared to ~$400 full price.

Why WP? I believe I was in a huge WP craze at the time and I vowed to get one after seeing its ‘metro’ UI and its ease of access to social media. The deal with Win Phone is that there aren’t a lot of models out there, so many updates are being pushed frequently. Unfortunately all the current WP7 phones out there cannot get a full Win8 upgrade when it comes out. We’ll get the UI but not the core features. A little disappointed when I found out about it, but oh well. I still love it.

The other cool thing is that because Windows 8 will also be following metro, many more developer shops are looking into WP development. It’s an exciting time for sure : )

The UI is very smooth, and I have barely experienced lag (A friend of mine who has the Lumia 900 has commented that his phone is not as smooth as mine). Multitasking is easy, accessing Facebook / email / your other faves is awesome via pinning your apps to Start. In terms of customizability, WP is definitely better than iOS, and on the same level as Android. Pinning is equivalent to widgets or icons for Android, except that scrolling is vertical on WP. In Win 8 though, they’ll add the ability to resize your tiles (can’t wait ;)).

Now the interesting thing is that WP lets you stalk people very , very easily, through the central application: People. You can sync all of your Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, etc contacts. Selecting any contact shows you your call/message history, and there is also a compressed news feed based on that person. You can also pin that person to Start for easier access. Creeped out yet?

Diving deeper into syncing contacts, WP has the ability to ‘link’ accounts together. i.e. Bob has a twitter and a facebook that used different emails. WP suggests to you that Bob Twitter may be the same person as Bob on Facebook. You can easily link them so they are just 1 single contact, and when you want to talk to Bob, you can select from all the various social media (whatever’s appropriate) to contact him!

Music playback is easily accessible from the lock screen, sharing photos takes a few seconds. Battery life is amazing. Note that I don’t have a data plan, but my wifi is on at all times. My phone usually lasts 2 days before it needs a recharge. Note that I don’t call for long durations that often (usually <15 min calls).

It seems like I’m promoting WP7 right now, but I’m really just pointing out all the built in features that WP has ;)

Now, for the things I -don’t- like.

I’ve had a lot of issues with setting alarms on it and actually waking up. Alarms at max volume for some reason is not as loud as normal music playback at max volume. I’ve missed a bunch of 830 classes because of my very quiet alarm.

So the obvious workaround would be to download a separate alarm app. Unfortunately, WP doesnt allow you to play music in your app if the app is not opened in the foreground. Eventually I just settled with really loud and annoying ringtones, and my alarm on my tablet as backup. I’ve never actually owned a phone that doesn’t allow you to set music as alarms (ie. only allowing ringtones.. which is unfortunate)

Another issue I’ve had is that during calls, if I get a push notification, the phone is no longer locked, so my face starts touching random buttons like End or Hold Call. It’s annoying, but it’s something to get used to.

The other main issue with WP is that there is a very small app store. All the ‘essentials’ are not available, and cool apps are usually introduced to iOS and Android first wayyyy before it will ever be introduced to WP7. I’ve been bringing around my iPod during outings just because I want to use Instagram. *sigh, when will the day come?

As a user, it may be very difficult to get accustomed to the common layout schemes used in most apps, as they are so much different on WP compared to other OSes. For some apps like Foursquare, I actually wish they follow the same design as the other OSes, but typical iOS and Android layouts can be very difficult to mock due to the available templates given to WP developers.

Without going into too much rambling, I definitely recommend WP for people who love reading feeds and sharing stuff via social media. :)

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One thought on “Jellybean & WP7

  1. Pingback: If we get Instagram on WP, THEN i will be happy. « there, then, and now.

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