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Windows Phone Lives on in Android

For a little less than a year now, I have been using a Samsung smartphone for both work and play. Having owned a Windows Phone for nearly a decade, and happily so I might add, I was forced to migrate to one of two platforms—Apple or Android. Being the practical fellow that I am, I chose the Android route with little consideration for Apple, and for good reason.

After all, in my opinion, Apple seems to have a long history of gouging its customers similar to Disney, but I digress. People buy Apple stuff mainly for its cachet. It’s like a piece of jewelry. I get it. And just like a lot of jewelry, it’s often overpriced and not entirely functional. Yes, I will admit, I’ve never been much of an Apple fan, much less one of Steve Jobs. But Apple’s products are simply overpriced, and until recently, didn’t even include the latest technology.

Now, back to the good old Windows Phone. You know, that seemingly ephemeral blip on the radar screen of smartphones that no one had ever heard of, much less purchased, here in the United States. Interestingly, the device was wildly popular in some European countries, but not here in the U.S. in part because of the ferocious onslaught of anti-Microsoft trolls, or more specifically, Apple and Android stalwarts. They did nothing but trash talk the device constantly. I witnessed it firsthand being a Windows Phone fan.

The anti-Redmond giant types simply did not want the device to succeed and here’s why; First, Microsoft at the time was perceived as the anti-Christ in the tech industry, due to its hold on proprietary technology patents and the emergence of the open source software movement. Secondly, it had previously been chastised in U.S. courts for anti-trust behavior regarding the bundling of Windows and its web browser Internet Explorer. The public eventually soured on Microsoft and its technology and for quite some time, enough to essentially kill off any interest by developers and consumers in Windows Phone.

But that’s all history now. The de facto titans or leaders of the smartphone industry are Samsung and Apple. Pure and simple, it’s now a duopoly between the two. Windows Phone was a distant third, but it is all but dead now. Sans a select few of hangers-on that are hoping for Microsoft to release a new smartphone to replace it, mainly in the form of a Surface smartphone, it looks like it’s curtains for the device. And based on the latest soothsayers in the media, that idea has now indeed been shelved or put to rest by Microsoft.

So what options do Windows Phone fans have now? Fortunately, they now have two courses of action and maybe three, if and only if, Microsoft releases a Surface smartphone. The first foundational replacement examples are Android based smartphones from Samsung, otherwise known as the Galaxy series. They are robust and highly customizable, unlike Apple’s smartphones, particularly the home screens. The other option is Apple, but for many Windows Phone fans it's a non-starter. The iPhone's price and lack of customization would most likely deter them.       

Windows Phone Emulators for Android abound in Google Play, but one stands out among them all—Launcher 10. This formidable app allows Android users to completely replace their home screen with the Windows Phone UI or Live Tiles, and then some. In fact, the app actually outperforms the original UI with ultra-customizable features. Take my word for it Windows Phone fans, you’ll love it—if you can get yourself to switch to Android. It’s a big jump, I know, but it’s not as bad as it seems. In fact, the user experience is nearly imperceptible between the two phone platforms or devices (i.e. the Windows Phone and Android smartphone) once it is installed.

The only caveat I might add is that Google tracks your every move on Android based devices, otherwise known as “surveillance capitalism”. Tracking is turned on by default, but Google claims it can be turned off, albeit via a time consuming process.

The second-best choice for former Windows Phone users on Android is Microsoft Launcher. This cool little app by Microsoft essentially allows you to replace most of Google’s crappy stock apps that come on Samsung devices with their own, sans Contacts, and of course, the Phone or Call app. Unfortunately, their replacement for Samsung’s or Android’s stock home screen looks nothing like Live Tiles, but it does load all your favorite Microsoft apps like Outlook, OneDrive, Word and Excel effortlessly in one quick install.

Finally, my suggestion for Windows Phone fans for the best Windows Phone experience is to install Microsoft Apps and Launcher 10 you should you choose to go the Android route. Specifically, install Microsoft Apps first to replace your Google Apps, including the enabling of your phone to automatically save any photos you take on the phone to Microsoft OneDrive. Then, install Launcher 10 to replace Microsoft Launcher’s home screen with Live Tiles emulation app, Launcher 10.

Finally, if you're simply interested in replacing Google productivity apps on your Android device without having a Windows Phone UI, then install Microsoft Apps and Microsoft Launcher. One of the coolest and most productive features of Microsoft Apps is it's ability to push mobile texts to your desktop for two-factor authentication as well as to see any text via Windows 10 notifications--the flyout that's now native to Windows users. You can also reply directly to texts from your desktop rather than having to text cumbersomely on your mobile phone.

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  • Published by IT Specialist Network