With Android handsets and iPhones taking the lion's share of the smartphone market, Windows Phone is quite often overlooked by most consumers in their purchasing decisions. The popularity, or lack thereof, of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS likely plays an important part but it also detracts folks from getting the smartphone that may be right for them. Ask yourselves how many of your acquaintances have been in this position.
Many do not even take Windows Phone into consideration and the ones that do easily find a couple of reasons to dismiss the platform and jump on the Android or iPhone bandwagon. Yes, Windows Phone may not be the right answer for everyone but it might be for more people than naysayers think. And I have got 10 good reasons why consumers should give Windows Phone a chance.
Fans of smartphones with larger displays have a new reason to celebrate as HTC takes the wraps off the gigantically-screened HTC One max. The new 5.9-inch device joins the HTC One and HTC One Mini, creating quite a family of choice.
The One max is without a doubt the daddy of the group, and in addition to the larger screen it also features HTC Sense 5.5. Just like the One, the One max has an all-metal (well, mostly) body.
According to a new report by Bloomberg, Microsoft last month reached out to HTC to see if the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer would be interested in adding Windows Phone as a second OS to its Android handsets.
The story claims Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems unit, suggested "cutting or eliminating the [Windows Phone] license fee to make the idea more attractive" to HTC. The Taiwanese firm makes the Windows Phone 8X and 8S, but reportedly has no plans for further devices running the tiled OS.
This continues with the smartphone craze as two new Android devices are announced for the USA -- the HTC One Mini and the Samsung Galaxy Mega. Both devices aim to fill a need and are defined by their size.
Verizon subscribers who are in the market for a free, on-contract smartphone now have two more options to choose from, as the US mobile operator just lowered the price of the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Nokia Lumia 928 from $99.99 to zero, when purchased alongside a two-year agreement.
It is worth noting that the Windows Phone 8X and the Lumia 928 join the likes of the LG Lucid, Pantech Marauder and Samsung Stratosphere II in being offered for free alongside a two-year contract with big red. Unlike the HTC and Nokia-branded devices, none of the other three handsets are high-end smartphones.
Starting tomorrow, most Windows Phone 8 devices will be unable to sync Gmail calendar and contacts entries though new connections, as Google officially drops support for Exchange ActiveSync in its consumer-oriented email service. The search giant initially revealed that EAS would be ditched after January 30, but decided to give Microsoft a six-month reprieve, which ends today, to give the company time to implement CalDAV and CardDAV (the two protocols required for calendar and contacts sync, respectively) support in its tiled smartphone operating system, before finally pulling the plug.
New handsets, like the Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020, already ship with the Windows Phone 8 version (known as GDR2) which adds CalDAV and CardDAV support. However, the necessary update has yet to be rolled-out to the majority of older smartphones, like my Lumia 920 for instance (according to user reports, it is available on the unbranded HTC Windows Phone 8X), a delay which potentially affects most Windows Phone 8 users, if device market share is of any indication.
After installing the latest Windows Phone 8 update (codenamed "General Distribution Release 2" or "GDR2"), which started rolling-out late last week, a number of HTC Windows Phone 8X users are reporting that their devices became unresponsive, with the screen turning black.
According to user reports, the issue presents itself while playing music on the Windows Phone 8X. And, at least for the moment, there appears to be no universal fix to cure it, with the usual reset methods yielding mixed results -- most affected users claim this does not help, with just one of them actually managing to "resurrect" the unresponsive device.
Following rival maker Samsung, HTC continues the smartphone flagship miniaturizing trend by unveiling a smaller iteration of the company's popular One. The new handset, simply called One mini, offers appealing hardware specifications in a package that targets a wider market audience.
The One mini packs a 4.3-inch Super LCD 3 panel with a resolution of 720 by 1280 (341 pixels per inch density). The device is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, backed by an Adreno 305 graphics card, 1 GB of RAM and a non-removable 1,800 mAh battery. The smartphone ships with 16 GB of internal storage and no microSD card slot (therefore, users will be limited to the out-of-the-box capacity).
The magic is gone. As recently as mid-2012, rumors of a new iPhone was command performance -- bloggers and social networkers rushed every little bit of spec speculation to the web. A year later, has-beens are kings. Buzz belongs to the once high and mighty: HTC, Motorola, Nokia and Sony, each a former market-share commander. These companies are all something Apple, and even Samsung, is not: Hungry. Pride goes before the fall, they say. Pride brought down the big four (five, including BlackBerry), as their execs laughed off iPhone's launch in June 2007. They laugh again, as their companies bring truly innovative mobiles to market and Apple acts much as they did six years ago.
The fruit-logo company has a huge problem that is core to future competition. For nearly a decade, Apple benefitted from free-marketing, as enthusiast tech bloggers and reporters and over-eager Wall Street analysts and investors fanned the smallest flicker of rumor into raging fire. Now Android rises, like one of those robots in "Pacific Rim", to crush the iPhone monster. Meanwhile, Apple's humbled stock price gets less bang from rumors. CEO Tim Cook signaled three months ago that new "innovations" won't come until autumn -- and there are no leaks to rally the faithful against the horde of Android and Windows Phone infidels. The problem isn't bleeding market share -- a circumstance in most every market outside the United States -- but one of bleeding mindshare.
On Wednesday, US mobile operator Sprint announced that the new HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo will be the first Windows Phone 8 devices to join its portfolio. The two handsets arrive this summer in Sprint's online and brick and mortar stores.
"We know our customers are anxious to get their hands on these Windows Phone 8 smartphones, HTC 8XT and ATIV S Neo", says Sprint's Fared Adib. "Without a doubt, they will rival any smartphone on the market today". On a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, the 8XT and the ATIV S Neo will be available for $99.99 and $149.99, respectively.
On Wednesday, Taiwanese maker HTC unveiled a beefed up version of its Butterfly Android smartphone, called Butterfly S. The new handset, which bears an uncanny resemblance to its six months-old predecessor, features improved hardware specifications and runs "Android Jelly Bean" (the iteration is not revealed at this point).
Similar to the Butterfly and other high-end Android smartphones, the Butterfly S packs a 5-inch Super LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a 440 ppi (pixels per inch) density. The handset is powered by a 1.9 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor (that is also found in the Samsung Galaxy S4) coupled with 2 GB of RAM and a whopping 3,200 mAh battery (by contrast, the Butterfly sports a 2,020 mAh unit).
Today, cross-promotion network AdDuplex sent me its latest Windows Phone report for June 2013 which, once again, places the Nokia Lumia 920 as the most popular device running Microsoft's tiled mobile operating system. The handset accounts for 12 percent of all Windows Phones, followed by the Lumia 710 and the Lumia 800 with 11.6 percent and 10.6 percent share, respectively.
According to the report, the Finnish maker is behind nine of the 10 most popular Windows Phones. The only non-Lumia entry in the top is HTC's Windows Phone 8X which takes the ninth place. The most noteworthy changes in the rankings comes from the Lumia 520 and the Lumia 620, which have managed to surpass older Nokia-branded Windows Phone to take the fourth and the fifth place, respectively.
More than two weeks ago I asked: "Will you buy HTC One?" Preliminary results are in, and many of you express intentions to get the smartphone. Last week, I expressed how much more I like the One than iPhone 5.
The unlocked One is backordered at HTC.com, while T-Mobile can't meet demand. Someone wants this smartphone, and it might just be you. Forty-five percent of respondents say they will get the handset "as soon as available", while another 11.5 percent "within 3 months". Buying polls like this one, and that includes those conducted by outfits like ChangeWave, only measure sentiment -- what people would like to do. What they actually do often varies for lots of reasons. Clearly there is lots of interest in HTC One.
Anyone moving up from a feature phone to smart one and considering iPhone 5 should look at HTC One. From a design perspective, both stand out for mostly metal enclosures, and they share similar design aesthetics. On T-Mobile USA, HD voice is available for both phones, too. Beyond that, their functionality couldn't be more different, because of screen resolution, physical size and overall interaction -- the latter more about operating systems than anything else.
I probably would chose the One over S4 but haven't used the Samsung. I reviewed iPhone 5 in September and one is in process for the HTC flagship. Simply stated: One is the best smartphone I have ever used. The device is so beautiful, the display equally so, that I want to hold and caress the device. Often. Social and news UI BlinkFeed changes how and how often I use a smartphone. More. More. More. The smartphone makes me happy in a way not since the original iPhone nearly six years ago.
The question is long overdue, particularly since I asked about Samsung Galaxy S4, the other major 1080p smartphone freshly released. After some delays, the One can now be purchased -- well, if you can find the thing -- and HTC is advertising rather aggressively. I've seen commercials in prime time, sometimes two in a row, throughout the week.
This afternoon, I hauled off to one of the two San Diego T-Mobile stores selling HTC One. Both are stocked out, but there was a live phone I could play around with. I toyed with ordering the smartphone from T-Mobile online late last night. Opportunity lost. The One is "out of stock" today. AT&T and Sprint also sell the One. Supplies are limited.