Windows or Android—this question always pops in the mind of any die-hard Microsoft fan.
Should I continue being an ever-loving Microsoft devotee, or should I take a risk with Android?
You can keep buying emotionally, or you can analyze the real facts listed in this post and judge for yourself. This post slices and dices the facts of Windows Phone (although Windows 10 Mobile dropped Phone from its title altogether) vs. Android by discussing several relevant issues.
Choosing the right mobile OS is as important as choosing the OS for your PC. Choosing the wrong mobile OS may lead you to disappointment when you try to use the hardware, apps, and features of your mobile to the fullest.
Think twice or even thrice before you choose the right OS so that you don’t regret your decision later. This article will help you to choose between Android and Windows 10 Mobiles.
As you might know, Windows 10 Mobile OS is developed by Microsoft. It replaced the previous Windows Phone OS platform, and it’s a version of the full Windows 10 that is on my desktop right now. It was first released via public beta February 2015 for certain Lumia brand smartphones. The official version appeared on Lumias in November 2015, and in March 2016 eligible Windows Phones began receiving the update.
With Windows 10 Mobile, your smartphone is going to bear a striking, albeit smaller, resemblance to your desktop. Whereas Android has its issues with fragmentation, Windows has taken a lot more unified approach. Apps, other mobile devices, and even your desktop work more easily with each other. Windows is not an open source platform, and some say that this leads to better quality apps, while others lament the quantity of apps available.
Android is a Linux-based operating system mostly used in smartphones; but also in tablet computers, cameras, wearable devices, media players, TVs, smart glasses, home appliances, cars, gaming consoles, your home, and more. Initially, Android was developed by Android, Inc., which was later bought by Google in 2005. Andy Rubin is the man behind Android.
Android is open source software that allows anyone to modify and distribute freely using the permitted license. Moreover, Android has a lot of apps that are written primarily to attract consumers.
As of September 2016, there are approximately 2.4 million apps available to download in Google Play per Statista. Android has a smartphone market share of anywhere from 69.18% (according to NetMarketShare) to 87.6% (As of Q2, 2016) according to IDC, and around 1.5 million Android mobile devices get activated every single day per DMR.
Windows has long supported live apps on its lock screens and notifications from different apps, but the release of Android 7.0 Nougat includes a Notifications Banner and direct access to the app sending notifications. Both operating systems provide voice assistant support and camera shortcuts from the lock screen.
What’s also interesting is Microsoft’s decision to venture into Android’s territory: take, for instance, Next Lock Screen, which is intended to integrate some of Microsoft’s design onto Android phones. This aligns with Microsoft’s cross-platform, unified approach.
Download: Next Lock Screen
As you enter the Start screen of a Windows Mobile, you will find a habitat very similar to that which runs on your Windows PC or laptop. Windows’ interface avoids list of icons and replaces them with Live Tiles. These Live Tiles give live information or feeds from different applications. It can be a little busier and more colorful than what you get used to with stock Android.
Still, Windows’ app tiles manage to be uniform and minimalistic. And they do offer a nice glimpse into what’s currently going on with each app. Android’s interface is—well, largely whatever you want it to be. If you don’t like the Home screen your device came with there are plenty of ways to customize; you can also keep the screen attractive and clean.
Android 7.0 Nougat just took things up a notch with its split-screen multitasking. Microsoft just reduced its multitasking carousel on Windows 10 Mobile to about half the size it was. However, this may not be a bad thing regarding multitasking, as the carousel was just mostly apps running in the background as opposed to side-by-side. Ultimately, a user interface has quite a bit to do with your personal preference, but Android does offer more options regarding customization.
The last estimate Windows gave us was that it has more than 669,000 apps, but that was back in September 2015. Surely there are more now, but Microsoft hasn’t been forthcoming with the numbers lately, which is somewhat odd. Nonetheless, when we compare this statistic with Android, Windows is behind. Currently Android has around 2.4 million apps in the Google Play Store alone.
It is always not only the quantity; quality of available apps matters the most. Many top apps are still missing in Windows. For example Snapchat, Pinterest, HBO Go, Google + and more are completely missing in Windows. Furthermore, some apps, like YouTube, have suitable alternatives but they are hardly familiar. Windows has narrowed the app gap considerably, but it is also having a problem motivating its own and third-party app developers to come and stick around.
When it comes to apps, Android obviously wins the race with ease. Several of the most widely used mobile apps are owned by Google.
4. Mobile Options
Android is open-source software. It offers high flexibility. Android has been offered by multiple device manufacturers like Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola, HTC, etc. These different mobile manufacturers are competing with each other on price, quality, features, specifications, etc. to attract customers.
Not surprising, Android has the majority share of the global smartphone market! Depending on your budget and features, one has a lot of options to choose from when it comes to the Android operating system. On the other hand, Windows Mobile has far fewer options regarding manufacturers and handsets. One could argue, however, that Windows devices suffer far less from issues with consistency and a slow pace of adoption for new versions of the operating system.
5. IDE (Integrated Development Environment)
To start developing applications for Windows 10 Mobile, you will need to use the Visual Studio. However, Microsoft has integrated Visual Studio with open-source Eclipse IDE. Still, it will most likely cost you more to develop apps for Windows 10 Mobile. You also have to consider your impact regarding market share, but on the flip side, Microsoft has a large presence in the business community and some very loyal users.
To develop an Android application, a developer just needs to download open-source Eclipse and the Android SDK. I did this for a college class I took—and found the acquisition of these resources to be quite simple and not at all costly. You simply are going to be able to reach a wider audience and certain demographics with Android. You can also develop for a variety of devices, cash in on more marketing revenue, and deal with fewer restrictions.
You may not care about development if you are not interested in doing it yourself, but it still affects you. Developers are the creators of your apps and mobile environment.
Yes, cost. Think about it; by definition, Android is an open-source-community. By definition, this means that you get a lot of free goodies by just owning an Android device. On the other hand, it is unlikely that you’ll be getting a lot of free applications as developers have to pay more to create accounts in the Windows Mobile marketplace.
Also—the fact that dozens of hardware manufacturers support and produce Android devices—as opposed to just the few who make Windows Mobile OS compatible devices means that you will have more price points to choose from. That is not to say that Android and Windows Mobiles can’t be priced similarly; there is just more of a selection in each price range with Android. It depends on the make and model, but Android usually edges out Windows Mobiles when it comes to the cost of repairs.
Android boasts Android Pay, Google Now on Tap, Android M’s Doze, Hangouts, and more customizability. On the other hand, Windows 10 Mobile operating system affords you Cortana, Continuum, Skype, and greater unity between devices, but Android still leads the way by being the more polished operating system.
A lot of people view Android as less than secure, and it does have its issues. But Android’s arsenal of highly configurable security management tools is growing, becoming more sophisticated. Windows Mobile operating system has its vulnerabilities and lacks biometric measures Android doesn’t, but also offers better virtualization-based security and inherent firmware and data encryption features. And of course, you are less of a target when you have significantly less market share.
9. History & Future Success
Some predicted that Microsoft would figure out a way to integrate its 800-pound gorilla PC status into the mobile market. So far, no dice. It was late to get in the game seriously, and hasn’t taken hold quite like Microsoft undoubtedly was counting on. I don’t agree that it’s dead, but at times it seems like it’s barely hanging on.
In the meantime, Android continues to enjoy its leading place in the market. There are plenty of detractors and iPhone loyalists, but Google isn’t exactly hurting when it comes to Android. And the company always seems hungry for more, constantly trying out new ideas.
Is what’s popular always what’s best? Certainly not. Each operating system has its merits. But business often takes on a brutal grow or die mentality. No company can afford to grow arrogant and not stay on top of the next big thing.
Here is part of an interesting review from Pocketnow:
One of the reviews mentions Android mobiles. Here are the actual excerpts from the user review.
“In almost every measurable sense, my Lumia 950 is a worse smartphone than whatever I’m carrying in my other pocket, and one of its most compelling features (Continuum) is totally useless when I’m traveling. But my Android phones, while imperfect, are secure in their success.”
Nonetheless, the author goes on to state that “It’s fun to be an underdog; it’s fun to carry something that makes people say “what’s that?””
Android vs, Windows: Our Bold Verdict
It remains the same for iOS, Android, and Windows—there will always be fans with a cult-like devotion. I’m bound to favor Android as a familiar starting point, but that doesn’t prevent me from keeping an open mind and considering other possibilities. Windows 10 Mobile OS does offer hope, but with Android, there was never any question. I truly think Microsoft has some great ideas; but has yet to carry them out with the same adeptness, or offer as much freedom regarding customization, as Android does.
And for me, the latter is a deal-breaker.