The weirdly tantalizing Windows Phone 8

Features Marin Perez 09:46, Sep 25 2012

Windows Phone 8 has a lot going against it but it's still in consideration to be my next phone

I'm going to pick up a new smartphone this holiday season and I'm pretty sure it's not going to be an iPhone 5, the Galaxy Note 2 or even the next Nexus phone. I'm seriously considering getting a Windows Phone 8 device even though there are plenty of reasons not to. 

I don't mean to be negative but we don't really know what Windows Phone 8 will be. Sure, we've seen some previews of the new start screen and know that the core will be based on the same kernal as Windows 8 but we haven't actually seen it in action. This is kind of weird considering that it should be released in about a month. 

It's common for companies to not show their software to the public before its ready but Microsoft hasn't even shown this to the majority of its developers. By contrast, Apple gave developers acces to iOS 6 three months before it hit the market and this made sure that a host of apps were in the pipeline. Considering Windows Phone is already woefully behind the competition in terms of apps, not having an SDK ready is not a positive sign. 

Despite all that, I'm still intrigued by the hardware and software that will come with Windows Phone 8. I very much liked Windows Phone Mango even if I felt it was a pace or two behind Android and iOS. Microsoft's platform is powerful and the live-tile interface is genuinely unique. What I really like about the UI is that it's different for a reason: having these tiles give you ambient information can really save you time and lead to a better experience. 

Just take a look at how interesting the new start screen is:

I always thought it was weird that the home screens on Windows Phone left so much space blank and now I'll be able completely fill my screen with pertinent information. This isn't really possible with the iPhone and I'm still not convinced that the battery and performance hit you get with widgets on Android is worth it. 

Windows 8 also has performed well in the times I've used it, so I'm betting that Windows Phone 8 will be more than capable of handling my mobile computing needs. When we finally get an SDK that takes advantage of the new features, I'm looking forward to a host of new apps for Windows Phone 8 which put it on par with the competition. As sad as this may seem to you, if Windows Phone 8 doesn't have apps like Instagram, then I won't want to use it. 

The hardware is also drawing me in, even though I haven't put anything through its paces. The Samsung Ativ S is essentially a Galaxy S3 with Windows Phone 8 and that sounds pretty good to me. Still, that's the least appealing of the devices we've seen so far and if I took the Windows Phone 8 plunge, it would be a toss-up between the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X. 

The Nokia Lumia 920 is shaping up to be one of the best phones that Nokia has ever made in its storied history. The display is supposed to be one of the best made (it even responds when you have gloves on) and despite an embarrassing promotional video that proved to be false, the Lumia 920 with PureView technology should have one heck of a camera.

When I think about what I really do with my smartphone, a lot of the core things don't change that much from device to device. Whether I'm on Android, iOS or Windows Phone, checking email, browsing the web or sending texts is an equally good experience. I do take a ton of photos though and the Lumia 920 could have the best camera of any phone that comes out this year.

The one issue I have with the Lumia 920 is that it might be a little chunky like the Lumia 900 was and the HTC 8X is shaping up to be a svelte and powerful smartphone. In our hands-on time, Marc said the device felt wonderful in the hand and by this point, I trust HTC to deliver an excellent user experience and camera. 

We still don't have a definite release date for either phone and I'll try to see if I can hold off getting a new iPhone 5 by the time these two hit the market. I think Microsoft is missing a golden opportunity by not having Windows Phone 8 ready by now because I believe there are a lot of users out there who don't just want to follow the crowds and would want to try a refreshing platform. 

Think different, right? 


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