Apples and Oranges

Android vs Windows: Think twice before buying a Windows Phone

apples oranges

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.


1. Introduction

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 marketshare

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.


2. Interface

Lock screen:

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

Opening 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.

w10 home

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.


3. Apps

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.

major apps

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.

cuddling devices

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.

visual studio

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.


6. Cost

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.

cost savings

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.


7. Features

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.

android pay


8. Security

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.

security rings


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.

crossroads

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.


10. Reviews

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.

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34 Comments

  1. Each to their own I reckon. But to avoid confusion I’d use the term Windows Phone rather than Windows Mobile. I got here trying to search for Android v Windows Mobile ( 6.5.3 ) in the ruggedised market. Android has made no impact at all in this market I’m afraid, where Windows Mobile probably has close to 100% of the market.

    But regarding the proliferation argument. There are only 835 million smartphones out there, out of a total of 6 billion mobile users (mostly symbian) Plenty of room for everyone, especially with Samsung and Facebook planning their own OS’s

    1. Hey Jeff,

      Thanks for making such a valid point. I have renamed the topic title as “Think twice before buying a Windows mobile phone instead of Android”

      However from the comparison standpoint, I don’t think comparing windows mobile symbian OS and that of Android isn’t a right comparison. Symbian by itself is a different category of mobiles and I don’t think it is right to compare with a smartphone OS. But what fascinates me is the adoption of smartphone by symbian mobiles. In my true honesty I believe one day Smartphone will overtake symbian mobiles. However you may feel otherwise.

      – Sam

  2. I comment when I like a post on a site or I have something to add to the conversation.

    Usually it is triggered by the passion displayed in the article I browsed.
    And after this article Think twice before buying a
    Windows mobile phone instead of Android. I was actually moved enough to leave
    a thought 🙂 I actually do have some questions for you if you usually do
    not mind. Could it be simply me or do a few of these remarks appear as if they are left by brain dead visitors?
    😛 And, if you are posting at other online social sites,
    I would like to keep up with anything new you have to
    post. Would you make a list all of your public sites like your
    twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  3. Yes you are right Windows is no where near Android. The biggest mistake I made was to sell my Samsung Galaxy S3 and got a Nokia 920.
    Hardware wise Nokia 920 is wonderful, but unfortunately windows OS is not up to the mark.

  4. I have a Lumia 920 and I actually prefer it than any other phone. The only thing that I found negative is the lack of apps for Windows Phone but it was the same for the other OS time ago. For custom users like me Windows Phone is easier to use than android. I always heard of free code or any other stuff like that supporting the use of Android but I think regular users as me would never programm any app on Android so it’s not necessary for us.

    1. Javier, thanks for sharing your views here. It is certainly understandable how Windows mobile plays a part in your life. Totally respectable. We also understand the lack of apps problem that Windows phone faces. But time and time again, we are sure MS will fix this. Good luck !

  5. i hve seen my friends using lumia.. i am personally an android user with my phone and tablet (Nexus7) . I have noticed that android is lagging in speed as you use it with more apps… on d contrary windows phone is quite smooth and fast in basic funtions like finding a num in phonebook etc… Also design wise windows UI looks more attractive and lumia phones also comes with good attractive design.. Windows might be fresh but looks a little sort after than android OS.. hope google will improve its OS efficiency/speed to retain its loyalist like me 🙂

    1. Certainly agree to your facts. Android tend to be slow on lower end handsets when they fill their memory space with too many apps. Windows does a cool job here. Thanks for stopping by joyofandroid.com

  6. Can’t agree that Android is open source. I think a lot of people would disagree with that claim. I also think that as another poster says there’s a lot of room for everyone. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with iOS7 and how Android responds. There’s been a very clear deceleration in Android dev in this half of 2013. How long before Android is assimilated into the Chrome OS?

    1. I certainly agree with you. We have to wait and see how Android responds to iOS 7. Only advantage I see as Android being an Open Source (as they say) platform is that the fact it is available on lots and lots of handsets. Even on the new Smart Watch that was launched by Sony.

  7. Wow. I guess I shouldn’t have expected much more from a site called joyofandroid.com. But the misinformation and Android biases you convey are mindboggling to say the least. Let’s see, where do I begin?

    “You will not be able to see the exact notification when the screen is locked as in Android.” While I agree that the notification system in Windows Phone could be better, what you say is not entirely true. I can look at my lock screen and see upcoming appointments, missed calls, unchecked voice mails and unread e-mails and texts. Do I care about having Facebook or Twitter notifications on my lock screen? Not remotely.

    “Currently android has around 8 Million apps. Many top apps are still missing in Windows.” Eight million apps. So, just out of curiosity, how long would it take you to go through eight million apps to figure out which 50 or 60 you’d actually like to have on your phone? And while we’re at it, how many of those eight million apps are fart apps? Please. And in terms of what you say is missing “Instagram (don’t use it), Viber (wrong, it’s there), Pinterest (couldn’t care less), HootSuite (WTF is this?), Runkeeper (again, who cares?), Google+ (isn’t this just another attempt by Google to compete with Facebook?) and Spotify (don’t use it), I really couldn’t care less about most of these apps. Plus, what you fail to mention is that there are numerous viable (but not “name brand”) alternatives to these on Windows. “When it comes to app, android obviously wins the race at ease.” I didn’t know apps was a race. I thought it was all about what works for the user. If you’re going to address the apps issue, please get your facts right.

    “Android has been offered by multiple device manufacturers. On the other hand, windows mobile [of course what you meant to say was Windows Phone, since Windows Mobile is a totally different operating system] has been offered by only few manufacturers.” Well, duh, I guess that’s what happens when you give the operating system away for free. That said, as we all know, there’s android, and then there’s android. What you get on some phones is not what you get on others. With Windows Phone, on the other hand, you can pretty much count on getting the same quality experience regardless of what handset you get.

    “Android is a 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 on the Windows Phone marketplace.” Have you BEEN to the Windows Phone Store recently? Virtually every app there offers a free trial version. I have dozens of apps on my phone. The only ones I’ve actually paid for are the ones I really want (that weren’t already free to begin with). “Also, the fact that dozens of hardware manufacturers’ support produce [sic] android devices as opposed to just the few who make windows mobile [again that stupid misnomer] O.S compatible devices means that you generally buy cheaper on android. While there are a wide variety of low end mobile phones and tablets running android, Windows mobile O.S currently only runs in a few high end devices.” I don’t know where you’re shopping for your phones, but I got my Nokia Lumia 820 from AT&T for FREE. You can’t get any less expensive than that. And, yes, while Google may be giving away Android for free, when you figure in all the patent licensing fees that the Android manufacturers have to pay MICROSOFT (yes, the company that makes Windows Phone), the operating system can hardly be considered to be “free.”

    Notification center deserves its own section? Really? Discussed above. Move on.

    “One of the most annoying things about the windows mobile devices [once again you’re ignorance shines through] is that you can only close an application by going to the start menu>settings>system>memory and then running the programs tab to highlight an item and consequently stop it.” I’m not sure what phone you were using, but that’s not how it works. Hit and hold the back button and you’ll see every running app. Highlight what you want and hit the back button again and, boom, it’s closed. No “seven clicks” to do that.

    Clearly you are a Google fanboy who is enmeshed in all things Google. If that’s what you like, that’s fine. But if you’re going to pretend to write a review, please try to be somewhat objective. For people who are invested in the Windows ecosystem (Windows PC, MS Office, Exchange e-mail or Outlook.com, Xbox, etc.), the choice of a Windows Phone is clear. But, hey, to each his own. I just hope I could add a little perspective to the discussion here.

    1. Hey, Ray, thanks for this mind blowing comment. It certainly adds greater perspective to the discussion.

      I agree with the fact that Windows Phone is improving day by day in terms of offering, but at this point it is not at par with Android. Even though your perspective of looking at it is different (which is fine), there are few things like App traction among developers which are not great for windows app store. Developers are key for any OS to succeed when it comes to mobile OS where MS clearly falls short. By the way, Hootsuite is a social media management platform which is used by 6 Million users worldwide.

      Thanks for letting us know about the viber app availability which I have updated on the post. I will look into the app closing fact that you mentioned and update the post accordingly.

      Though we agree and respect all your above said facts, we will not agree to your comment on the review being biased towards Android. We took every care to make this review worthwhile to read after carefully reviewing tons of customer feedback available on the internet. Few who really love Android bad mouth Microsoft and vice versa. We don’t bad mouth unless and until we have clear data driven facts which are listed above with resources. I am sure Windows phone will improve drastically as days pass-by and this review would eventually be re-written in a year or so. Cheers.

    2. One more thing that is wrong: music controls. This does not need to be accessed by a Live Tile as mentioned in the article. Simply press one of the volume buttons on the side of your phone and a Now Playing tab drops down from the top of the screen. This can be accessed from the lock screen as well. You can pause/play, or hit forward/back as well as view the current song and band. If the phone is not currently locked, you can also tap the song title/band name segment of the Now Playing bar and it will take you into the music app that it is playing from. This works for music playing from any source on your phone, not just Xbox Music.

      Now, one feature I do miss from my old Blackberry from years ago, is the ability to skip forwards or backwords through the song list by a simple double-press on the up or down volume control. Very slick. Maybe someday we will get this on our Windows Phones.

    3. I just bought lumia n find it cannot delete once u load face book connections it is a negative system . Online window admits it once Fb,twitter frds added cann’t be deleted but why?
      Once a frd added one should be able to delete too. Again one cannot delete received or dialed numbers one by one it is always all or none. I have left a suggestion to Microsoft if they can do some solution and give online update.
      if any frd has a solution plz plz share it .

      1. Thank you for your feedback.
        This is why we hate Windows as of now. It is not user friendly to find solution.
        We highly appreciate that you brought this up.

  8. I m using lumia 520 , n i think i couldn’t evr had a great smartphone under 12000 .buckss… Lacks the apppsss as such in android’s google play…. But aftr shifting frm … Te brand android i think…. Prabably i made a right decision….. Ccuz i was using Samsung s nd….. It hanged a lot… But in thz 2 mnths hav passed nt a single time it has crashed…. Salute to Microsoft…..nt if it comes to games xbox live full fillss ur wish of playing games by 70% ….. Microsoft aand nokia are doing welll……. Great job guys keep,it up….. Do welll in apps n u can beat android… I regret fr apps nt fr Os windows 8 is very lovable interface……

  9. i use lumia 620 its really great phone the picture clarity is so good even u can compare it with an iphone. It was a bit confusing in the beginning to use a windows mobile but u can get used to it in jus a day it has the best games and its clarity is so awesome and u have the best battery back up then any android phone. Every one are so keen about apps are u all going to use all the 8 million apps???? android phone hangs often but windows no way it will if your a professional go for a windows that a better if yr a clg student who jus need a lot of apps to passtime go for android.

    1. We completely agree with your points. But apps are going to be the future. They will re-define or enhance the capability of OS. That is why even Windows releases lot of apk for developers and promote them. In this fight, android wins the race.

  10. I read all the comments for and against Window OS used in Nokia. I am using a very basic model of Nokia for the last 3 years without any problem and i plan to buy again Nokia 520 and wish to go for it although there are some odds.

  11. This review is one sided. Only mentioning the “good” of android and the over exaggerated bad of Windows Mobile. If I wasn’t into doing my own research, I’d be brainwashed into believing that Windows Mobile is a CraP OS. Please try and give us as much info and allow us make up our own minds. BTW I use iSO

    1. Thank you for the feedback. We will consider your comment when we are updating this blog post.
      Thanks for reading.

      Regards
      Martin

  12. I’m using windows 10 mobile ? and it’s cool to use my mobile never hangs up. If I filled my internal with all applications you trust about your window mobiles it would be taking a time to operate but it will never hang or shut down.on the other hand if I talking about android in one sentence.Then android would be a good mobile but low price android hangs too much sometimes it’s shut down. You know everyone love to play high graphics game on their smartphone.When my friends play high graphics games on android phone believe me those mobile are not made for high graphics games.
    And this blog never mention this type of problem.It just show how bad ?? is windows phone but for me windows is far better than android.

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