22 Jun 2013

Tiles for Smiles - The Windows 8 Phone

Here's a surprising post for anyone who knows my focus and views on Microsoft products, however I'm not one to blindly follow (Apple) fashion for no reason, and although I don't doubt OSX as the finest (mainstream) desktop OS of today, nor Ubuntu (desktop) as the only serious choice for symbiotic backend server admin, I've just never fancied the iPhone thing. I did need a decent smartphone though so on a whim looked into Windows 8 devices, liked what I found, and bought one. Yes, the Linux guy is running Windows, and enjoying it.

In a former life I supported corporate enterprise IT, Windows desktops, Active Directory/Exchange, you know the game, and if I never see another MS desktop again in my life that would be fine with me, but Windows 8 'Phone'? You know what, it makes total sense, especially for 'business' (which was my main requirement). Love them or loathe them MS 'do' email very well and sat inside the Windows 8 'Metro' OS their email client is a joy to use after my Nokia Asha 300 (a tolerable phone, but not for anything other than texting).

The tiled Metro UI is perfectly suited to the phone and I may even go as far as to check out their Surface tablet too. Touch is key here and for me it's a winner, although Metro on Windows 8 'desktop' just doesn't make sense at all, and even less so on MS Server (I mean, really?).

Having a global client base means I use Skype extensively as a core comms tool and the icing on the cake for me is its seamless integration with 'People'. People is the centralised contacts application in Windows 8 and it's pleasing and sensible being able to combine details from multiple email accounts, Skype, Twitter, home/business addresses etc into a single entry. Google mail/contacts/calendar hook up & sync is catered for and everything is straightforward and logical to manage.

So, what device? Well, after extensive research I went for the Nokia Lumia 520 (in white), and although still early days it's so far so good. I didn't want anything too large (or expensive) like the 920/925/928, and didn't need a high end camera component (photography isn't something I'm into these days). The 520 has a 4" screen which is more than enough to manage mobile email and web browsing, maps etc and at £129.95 SIM free (including free delivery) I thought it was a decent price for a tight Yorkshireman.

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