Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr
It's a little under two years since I last bought a new mobile phone, so when my operator offered me an early upgrade and a shift from a 3G network to its 4G LTE service with four times the data allowance, I decided it was time to take advantage of the deal.
I could have gone back to iOS or Android. After all, I still have a library of iOS apps on my old iPhone 4 and on my iPad, and the same for Android on my Nexus 7. But I've been using a Windows Phone device as my daily driver since my last upgrade, and I decided I'd stick with the platform for my new device, choosing the new Lumia 930.
So why did I stay with Windows Phone?
It's not about the apps or the camera
While Apple's iPhone 5s has a 64-bit ARM SoC, there's little else to distinguish the current generation of hero devices. They all have excellent cameras, most have separate sensor processors to handle motion detection, and they all support Bluetooth Low Energy (which Apple has branded as iBeacon) connections to external devices. They've also all got HD-quality displays, with "retina" resolutions, and fast LTE radios that work anywhere in the world, as well as fast WiFi chipsets.
I wasn't driven away by the so-called app gap. With test iOS and Android devices on my desk, I'm fully aware of the state of app development and the app stores on all three platforms. Windows Phone does lag the other mobile ecosystems, and where key apps are on all three devices, the Windows Phone app often doesn't have all the features of its more mature rivals.
But the apps I want and need are there, and where there aren't official apps, there are good and effective third party solutions.
It also wasn't the camera that kept me. Nokia's camera technology is superb, especially on devices with its PureView camera modules. I find the Lumia's camera fun to use, and in conjunction with Windows Phone's Lenses apps, an intriguing test bed for computational photography. But it's not the same as a purpose-built camera, with a large sensor and interchangeable glass. So while the Lumia camera has replaced the point-and-shoot I used to carry, I still go back to my DSLR for serious photography.
They're both important reasons, one pro (camera) and one con (apps). But neither are enough to make me either leave or stay with an ecosystem.
It turns out that, for me at least, the reason to stay with Windows Phone was more about how it fits in with how I live and how I work -- in the ways I have built that most personal of devices into my life.
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