For the past year or so, I’ve been wrestling with how to advise Windows users who are disappointed in the failure of Windows phone and wish to choose between Android and iPhone. This week, that choice became much clearer.
As you may know, I’ve been writing “Android for the Windows Guy” and “iPhone for the Windows Guy” posts from time to time. And while I will continue to do both, I think I can now safely focus more on one platform over the other.
To date, the “Android or iPhone?” debate has resulted in a split decision of sorts. Microsoft supports both platforms with a wide array of mobile apps, though it seems that it releases more experimental, “Garage”-type apps on Android. Android has seemed like the more natural destination for Windows/Windows phone fans as it is the clear successor to Windows, with the same openness and ability to customize the system. Indeed, one of the important advantages of Android over iPhone/iOS is that you can customize anything: Not just the software keyboard, but the lock screen, the home screen/launcher, virtually anything you can think of.
And yet, my choice has been the iPhone. I find Apple’s platform to be cleaner and more consistent from a design perspective and more reliable. The performance is better, the app/media ecosystems are better, and the phones themselves are superior overall. (Though certain Android models have surpassed the quality of the iPhone’s camera, which does mean a lot to me.)
What this means is that it’s been hard for me to recommend one over the other. I may prefer iPhone/iOS to Android, but I understand the allure of Android, especially to the Windows community. And the truth is, you almost can’t go wrong with either from a long-term perspective: Your investment in Android or iPhone/iOS is a good one, as these platforms both count over a billion users and will be around for the long haul.
Phones are only part of the story, of course. And ideally, the phone you use integrates into your life, and with the other personal technology choices you’ve made.
On that note, the “for the Windows Guy” bit in those article titles isn’t pandering: I am a Windows guy, I approach technology from a Windows-centric point of view, and it is important to me that the devices and services I use work with or interact with the PC systems I use all day long every day. I believe there are many people like me out there, and that they are looking for answers in this post-Zune/post-Windows phone world. That they want to continue to use Windows PCs, but they understand that they are better off using a rival phone platform (and perhaps a rival tablet platform as well).
And then this happened.
I’m not sure why Microsoft didn’t reveal this during its Build keynote events this week, butthe software giant did reveal in a Build session that it is updating the Action Center in Windows 10 in significant ways for the Anniversary Update that will ship this summer. Among those changes are two that impact this discussion:
Action Center in the Cloud. Action Center is being updated so that when notifications are dismissed on one device—your PC, your phone, whatever—they are dismissed on all your other devices. This is huge, and necessary.
Android notifications mirroring. Windows 10’s Action Center is also being updated so that your Android phone’s notifications will appear directly on your PC. When you dismiss an Android notification on your PC, it will be dismissed on your phone too. (This will work with Windows 10 Mobile, as well, but not with iPhone.)
In other words, if you are a Windows guy, if you have bet on Windows 10, then you should adopt Android, and not iPhone, as your smart phone choice.
On that note, I will be switching to Android this year, most likely with the Nexus 6P running on Google’s Fi network. And while I will of course continue to use and keep up on both iPhone/iOS and Windows 10 Mobile/Windows phones, it is now clear that the future of phones for the Windows Guy is Android.