Published on September 11th, 2012 | by Nick3
Windows 8 Phones Compared with iOS and Android
The performance of Windows Phone OS against iOS and Android had been, well, mediocre at best. It’s not that bad, at least in my opinion, but it wasn’t really able to get a few levels higher into the competition. There are just some problems that it wasn’t able to address correctly, and some essential features even more inferior compared to its alternative counterparts (like Office functionality for example).
But how will Windows 8 Phones fare this time? Let’s compare some of the more generic performance criteria to Android and iOS to give us a clearer view of its capabilities and specifications.
Look and Interface
The general interface of iOS and Android is represented by a grid, where icons leading to apps show at the home screen. Widgets can also be conveniently placed on the home screen, although smaller Android models require placing the widgets at other pages. The interface of these two mobile OS platforms is in contrast to the very simplistic “Metro” style interface of the Windows Phone OS.
For Windows 8 Phones, the interface hasn’t really changed, as the “Live Tiles” are still their primary alternative for standard app icons and widgets. The noticeable difference though this time is that the tiles are lot more customizable. You can freely stretch and resize the tiles to fit in more in the screen.
Browsing and Accessibility
In terms of OS browsing and accessibility, there is not much difference between the three mobile OS platforms. They all have more or less the same way of leading the user to various phone setting options, as well as how the apps are arranged in the apps menu. One obvious change of course is the way each app is shown in the programs menu of Windows Phone 8. They are presented in a slide down menu fashion, not like the grid-pattern structure of iOS and Android.
Media Storage Options
Android smartphones have full support for microSD cards by default since Android 2.2 (Froyo). iOS still doesn’t have microSD card support, and users would always have to rely on the iPhone’s internal storage. Thankfully, Windows 8 phones also have microSD card support, an upgrade that they have rightfully done ever since users of the Windows Phone 7 were struck in despair at the function’s unavailability.
Maps and Navigation
Since the eventual detachment of Google Maps from the iOS, they have developed their own maps app. The primary functions are providing traffic updates, points of interest and street-by-street navigation, which are more or less mainstream options.
Google Maps for Android is still regarded as one of the best map apps, providing not only all of those options, but also the fabled Street view. The Bing maps of Windows Phone 8 will be exclusively given to Nokia. It provides basic navigation, but is a bit better than iOS Maps in terms of providing dynamic public transit updates.
Near Field Communication (NFC) Options
The development of near field communication technologies has basically made it possible for smartphones to acts as our digital wallet. This is done by having the unit communicate wirelessly on an authorized device. For Android, we have the Android Beam and Google Wallet, and for the iOS we (partially) have the Passbook. Windows 8 phones have the Wallet Hub, a central transaction system that automatically manages and keeps your payments, deals, loyalty-cards, app purchases and even credit cards.
The number of applications available to the iOS and Android had grown significantly as they were developed through the past few years. Both operating systems have already more than 600,000 apps, all designed different, have different functions and most are meant to make your use of the smartphone more productive in some way.
As Windows Phone 8 gets released, the number of apps developed for the mobile OS has already grown to 100,000. Not impressive comparatively, but we think that it is more than enough to boost your phone’s functionality. Besides, the number is expected to grow significantly as Windows 8 for PCs and tablets (and even the Windows 8 hybrid laptops) get released.
Calls and Messaging
The standard Messaging app in Android is more or less straightforward. Menus represent messages from contacts, draft messages are saved automatically, and unsent message strings gets a warning icon. iOS has better options though, having the option to seamlessly send messages across different kinds of devices using the iMessage.
Windows Phone 8 probably has the best in terms of integration, as you can send Skype, Facebook, and regular phone text message using the same interface. As for calling options, the iOS can provide call filtering, and Android can create auto-replies that would play when you decline a call. As for Windows Phone 8, well it can filter calls too, albeit manually.