Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HD2: Windows Phone 7.5 vs Android

Martin Podval
My HD2 cell phone gain the time. 4.3'' 800x480 ppi display, 1GHz processor, all facilities like Wifi, GPS, SDHC cards are the properties of new cell phones but also the characteristic of my two years old HD2.

The best part of this cell phone is the set of operation systems which you can deploy to this device. Windows Mobil 6.5 was the original, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is now available since yesterday as well as various version and customizations of Android. Note that you can also install MeeBo and Ubuntu to you HD2 but it doesn't seem as a common use-case.

I'd love to share my feeling since I've used Windows Phone 7.5 Mango for a week as well as I'd like to compare it to HD2's Android.

HD2 and Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

I've started to use famous Yuky Back to the future ROM having basic Windows Phone 7 system available to standard upgrade via Zune. Simple instalation followed by mentined updates brought my phone into pre-release Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.

First thing you have to appreciate is the time necessary to start the system. It takes one fifth of RafDroid, previous android system I have used. Next stuff you will see after PIN typing is tile system on which the whole system is based.

I really love it, very nice typography is done, the whole system is based on the same type and thats the reason why I'll probably return to Windows Phone system later in the future. See screenshot. It's new, very nice! All internal features are developed in the same style so the message client is based on very lightweight graphic template. I believe that's the style into which all system, including Android, will tend to in the future.

The next deliciousness is the social integration. One screen contains the aggregation of all social sites you logged in, facebook, twitter, linkedin. You just read messages or tweets, click and reply, retweet etc. That's the second but last surprise.

All the rest read is about cons. The battery is the worst issue I've encountered. The reason was probably HD2 cell phone, which means that another native WP7 devices needn't suffer. The battery life is about 16-20 hours if you don't use the phone! The half if you write a few messages, read the internet etc. Terrible.

The lack of application. As Java is famous because of community and third party frameworks, C# maybe beats Java at the language level but that's all the stuff, Windows Phone versus Android is the same story. Microsoft's market contain's a few application, the quality is vary. Maps are good example. Microsoft maps are build-in, I've downloaded also google maps as well as mapy.cz application. None of those application was able to show me the way from my position to any other, it just showed target address and wanted to start GPS to navigate. Android's google maps uses location feature to find your position and do that, WP's maps have no such functionality or it was hidden for me.

The same is applicable to all apps, android ones are featured and tuned but Windows Phone apps contains only base functionality.

The other terrible feature is the full integration with bing. Bing is not proper search engine for me, but you have to jailbreak you windows phone to allow google searching - for search feature as well as when you want to change search provider within the browser.

I'm not also sure with build-in integration of facebook and twitter. Facebook is to expand it's functionality. Android's facebook is up-to-date but such build-in feature is not so much updatable. Note that standalone facebook application is almost half year stale.

The last thing I hate is SD card locking. As you can suppose I've decided to remove Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and deploy Android system. I've just take SDHC card out of my phone and try to format in my notebook. Windows 7 doesn't find this card and i've to start to read tutorial how to make my card accessible, my own card. That's outrageous. Windows Phone just lock your card, I've read forum that a few guys said that they throw their cards into bin and just buy new ones! I had to install unlock application into my phone followed by using Magldr into reformat card's MBR and use special program to format the card. Huh, the last think to kick the whole system.

HD2 and Android

I've planned to make a cell phone from my HD2, not tablet with 16 hours life on one battery charge. First version of Android I've used was Rafdroid. It's very nice system which uses HTC Sense. It provides nice base screen I loved already in my Windows Mobile 6.5.

That's the problem: it starts almost two minutes and it's very slow. Instead of this build, I've just use clear and simple package based on Nexus Android. It was right step.

I've find out that I do not want base HTC Sense screen anymore because I don't want to patch up the base screen by giant hour widget and there is a lot of weather applications anyway. Because I'm living in Czech Republic, there is beauty one for my country with text forcast.

I'm using all comfortable applications android market offers. I've installed Go Launcher EX to make the syste more beauty, I use best Gmail application, very nice maps, not falling evernote apps as well as Dolphin Browser with tunned feature set, translator with non-paid text reading and more and more applications. My SDHC is not locked and encrypted.

And the last thing: a few sms, internet browsing a few minutes call: 3 days per one charge!

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