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Well, I got it: Nokia Lumia 920, Windows 8

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OK, well I got my first real solid experience with the windows phone on my flight back today.  SO here goes:

The Windows experience on the phone is much more like Android and iOS than the Windows we are used to on the desktop.  Whatever that means to you, to me it's a little on the sour side, but also no big deal as of yet.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm curious how Windows is going to be dealing with basic file/folder management on the phone.  That's a big deal to me, but I'm also open to new ways of doing it on a small touch device...but right now, there isn't anything special I can tell that's different from any other mobile OS where files get locked to their apps (if no hacking occurs).  It seems as though Sky Drive linking may be the solution, which is not bad actually.  Skydrive is good, especially if you use the Office suite.  But for just basic file management, people like us will miss a lot of functionality.  Still better than android and ios on that front.

Secondly, the interface is, i think, nicer than android and ios.  Cleaner, less cute and for kids, more for adults.  There is a lot of potential, but currently it's just potential...nothing is happening.  Even basic apps like Dropbox aren't ready for primetime (again, sky drive competition).  The tiles are very cool in that you can resize the boxes, and supposedly convenient information can be shown there.  The only app i have doing it well is facebook, which makes good use of a bunch of tiles to show what's going on.  The other apps stink right now.  The email/text/etc apps you'd expect to make excellent use of tiles and show the last couple emails or notification, etc.  But now, it's minimal.  It'll let you know if you have a new text, it will show the first line of your latest gmail.  I'd like something more flexible.  Hopefully, apps willl start having user options of what to show on the tiles.  Right now, it's dictatorship...the app developers choose what to show, if anything.

I was also expecting more customizeability with the tile colors and sizes.  You can choose from 30 or so colors, and it will only color non-colored apps (which is most of them).  Some apps, like the att apps, are aready colored, you can't change those.  And it's not like you can tweak the appearance like in desktop windows, where we are used to messing around with fonts, font sizes, title bar, background color, etc.  Nope, just one color.  All the tiles will have that color, and the accents in various programs will have that color.  not much tweaking available.

the speed is on par with ios, definitely faster than android, or just better.  I think it actually beats ios in terms of touch response, but I'm not terribly confident of that statement.  android sucks balls here, even the s3 with all it's specs is lame with touch response...which indicates it's an android issue, not a phone issue.

So far, I like the phone much better than any iphone or android phone.  It's a good phone, and windows is not bad on the phone.  The things to keep an eye out for for those considering the purchase of a windows phone:
--wait for a healthy FREE apps market.  Only then will you be able to judge this versus the other phones.  Good free apps are the sign of a healthy app market.
--keep an eye on on news about tile features; this is the best and most unique feature of the phone, being able to glance a lot of detailed info right on the home screen.
--hopefully future updates of the phone will bring more hardcore system options, control-panel type stuff.  This phone hardly has anything.  It has an option for "theme" and there are just two things you can do: change accent color, change overall look between "light" and "dark".  very lame.
--i'd also be interested in alternative keyboard options, like swype.  My professional friends LOVE swype.  but I'd like a keyboard that has cursor keys (up-down-left-right) which for some reason ALL mobile OSs avoid.  it sucks trying to highlight accurately with your finger. By the way, Windows phone also has (by a slight margin) the best copy/paste tools of the mobile OSs.  it sucks on iOS, it sucks on Android, and it sucks a little less on Windows.  that's how i'd put it.

Here's an article with several points i agree with:
I want to see the following in WP8

-A file explorer that will allow us to bulk transfer our photos, music, videos, documents, or anything else to anyone else over any means. This includes transferring over bluetooth and/or NFC. This includes creating file folders with directories. Moving files from one directory to another. Etc. If they are going to force us into "Apple" mode where we can't manipulate anything, that = fail. My 4 year old BlackBerry Bold had a file explorer and that thing was basically a calculator.

-When I plug my phone into my computer I want it to be able to act as a USB mass storage drive. Zune is not the solution here going forward. Can't tell you how frustrated I was when I had some videos on my phone, connected to my computer and Zune automatically deleted them because they weren't present in my "My Videos" folder. I was travelling and needed these videos for the plane. And yeah it was only after that happened that I found the setting buried in Zune to not "automatically sync My Pictures/My Music/My Videos to your phone upon plugin". As far as I'm concerned Zune is a nice looking POS software that needs to be replaced ASAP.

-"Manly" looking tiles. My phone is not a toy, it's a tool to get sh*t done. **** the phone has the best mobile MS Office on it baked into the OS. I'm also a guy, not a chick. And therefore "baby blue" and other flourescent colors being the only option is just not appropriate. Grey, Black, White, and otherwise darker colored themes need to be offered, period. There's no excuse for that. And if someone like Joe Belfiore with his questionable sense of style is making these color decisions then he needs to be canned. Give me a break, this OS is way too good to be ruined by ugly colors.

-Folders for apps. The App list on the "second home screen" is decent but is tiresome after a while. Just allow us to create folders i.e. "Photo", "News", "Finance", where we can put similarily purposed apps inside as to reduce the amount of clutter in the App list. I mean there is already a folder/hub for "Games", why not let us expand that to everything else.

-A "notification" center is not really necessary but instead the "Me" tile should be repurposed for this. In fact, the whole name "Me" tile is generally dumb. I do not pin the "Me" tile to the home screen as it looks narcisistic to have a huge picture of yourself that says "Me" on your home screen. In fact, what is the point of the "Me" tile? To get notifications, check in, and post messages to FB/twitter. So perhaps the nomenclature is appropriate but I do not want my profile picture displayed on my home screen. Regardless this tile already fetches Facebook, twitter, and other notifications, and should be expanded to include all applications. I'm sure this is not the direction they are going to take, but really it should be.

So to summarize, in order for WP to succeed it really needs to strike a better balance between the "Apple" model (closed) and the "Droid" model (open). As of right now the restrictiveness is too much. It will be hard for me to consider WP, let alone recommend it to others, if I can't accomplish basic tasks that are well within the ability of a modern smartphone. These are powerful devices and should not be dumbed down ala Apple for the masses. There are intelligent people out there who want an alternative to Droid and Apple and who want a powerful device that will serve their basic computing needs on the go. People will buy WP8 if they can add features that make them truly powerful devices out of the box, and as a result App makers will start to pay attention and we'll finally start seeing some quality big-name apps here on WP.

Otherwise, I'm getting the next Nexus or praying Nokia adopts Android.
--- End quote ---

It's true.  I can't bulk transfer anything.  Only one freaking file at a time.  This has got to change, cmon.

This is probably better suited as a mini-review than a comment, but here goes anyway. At this time, I am on my third Windows Phone device and very happy. I had a first generation device, HTC Trophy on Verizon. I switched to AT&T for a Lumia 900 and am now carrying a Lumia 920. Now, I was I was happy -- but that happiness isn't the kind that comes from having everything. It's more an inner peace that comes from finding joy in ones limited state. Maybe it's a Zen platform.

Coming to this place has been a journey. I've owned palms and I've owned old Windows Mobile devices, I've owned more than one Android phone and multiple WebOS devices. In many ways, all of these other platforms gave me more. Deeper menus and complexity, bordering on attempting to be PC replacements, small as they may be. While on some of these platforms I may have had more power to affect change I can't help but feel like it was ultimately a great deal of time wasted fiddling because I could (as with my experience with Linux, could becomes must...).

A couple years ago I stopped thinking about my handheld device as a computer replacement or even extension of my computer and just embraced it for what it was -- took it instead as a separate thing altogether. That change of expectation made a great difference. Windows Phone is a much simpler experience than Windows -- you could argue it's all superficial. But here's the meat of it: it very elegantly does everything I need it to do. I can't do everything with it, but oh how I love what it does.

I know that some are really upset with Microsoft right now -- I'm the opposite. In the last few years, I've gone from jaded and Linux bound to becoming alarmingly close to fan boy. . . I guess I like the cloud and "not manly" icons.

A couple years ago I stopped thinking about my handheld device as a computer replacement or even extension of my computer and just embraced it for what it was -- took it instead as a separate thing altogether. That change of expectation made a great difference. Windows Phone is a much simpler experience than Windows -- you could argue it's all superficial. But here's the meat of it: it very elegantly does everything I need it to do. I can't do everything with it, but oh how I love what it does.
-allen (November 14, 2012, 12:07 AM)
--- End quote ---
This is exactly how I feel.  It's the reason why i even bothered getting the phone.  Most of my complaints do have to do with comparing it with a full desktop PC, which is quite unreasonable.  complaints about music/video...easily solved, I use my actual GOOD music player device like a sony walkman, or the sansas.  I already know what i'll be using this phone for: phone calls, keeping up with urgent emails/texts (the rest can wait for desktop), navigation help occasionally (though I prefer my large tablet for that), help looking up stuff on the fly, finding places to eat, addresses.  That's pretty much it.  Well said, allen.


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