While Apple’s iPhone is popular in certain countries, Android owns a near monopoly in the smartphone market. And it’s the go-to mobile choice for the Windows Guy.
There are a number of reasons for this but, put simply, Microsoft’s in-house mobile platform is an all-but-forgotten mess and the iPhone is a bit too isolationist and, yes, Apple-like, for many. So Android is pretty much where it’s at. It’s a successful and open mobile platform that Microsoft fans can rally around.
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Microsoft makes this a lot easier by creating a wide range of Android solutions that extend well beyond what we think of as apps. Sure, all of Microsoft’s best-known apps—Word, Outlook, Excel, and so on—are available on Android, of course they are. I assume anyone can search the Google Play Store for the apps they want.
But Microsoft offers so much more on Android.
Indeed, if your goal is to minimize Google’s grip on your device and use Microsoft’s apps and services where possible, your options are actually pretty exciting. (On a related note, be sure to check out iPhone for the Windows Guy: Minimize Apple’s Grip on Your Device if you’re an iPhone user.)
A few options to consider.
Replace the Android home screen with Arrow Launcher. Microsoft makes what is arguably the best Android home screen (or “launcher” replacement), called Arrow Launcher. It offers deep personalization, and even replaces the Google Now “cards” screen (reached by swiping right from the home screen) with Microsoft’s own version. Obviously, you’re free to remove any Google apps from the home screen, regardless of which launcher you use, and you can uninstall most of them too. (See below.) Arrow Launcher is a big topic, so I’ll try to cover this option in more detail later.
Replace Google Assistant with Cortana. Cortana for Android isn’t just an app on Google’s platform: You can use it to replace Google Assistant and then access your preferred digital personal assistant by long-pressing on your device’s Home button too. (The only missing piece: “Hey Cortana” voice control only works from within the app.) To do so, open Settings and search for “Assist & voice input.” Then, change the Assist app to Cortana.
Replace Android’s virtual keyboard with SwiftKey. As with iPhone, you can easily swap out the default virtual keyboard in Android, called Gboard, with Microsoft’s SwiftKey Keyboard. This alternative offers great customization, including a wide range of free themes, Flow swipe-to-type functionality, and more.
Backup your photos automatically to OneDrive. While I do prefer Google Photos over other photo services, you should always back up your smartphone-based photos to at least two services. And one of them can be OneDrive, especially if you’re paying for additional services. To set this up, open the OneDrive app and navigate to Settings > Options and configure the option “Camera upload” to On. You can also configure whether to upload over cellular data or Wi-Fi only, whether to include videos, and which folders to back up.
Look for Microsoft app widgets. You long-press on an empty area of the home screen to find widgets that more closely resemble the live tiles you might be familiar with from Windows phone. I don’t really recommend plastering your home screen with these things, but a few can be really useful, including the “OneNote new note” and “Cortana” voice command widgets, each of which is the size of a normal icon. Be sure to look through the whole list.
Hide or replace the Google apps you don’t want. While I will caution against a wholesale de-Googling of your phone—see Android for the Windows Guy: Google Apps to Embrace for a list of some of the apps you absolutely should not remove—there’s no reason not to hide (or, when possible, even uninstall) the Google apps you do not want and will never use.
Looked at more generally, these and other capabilities, and of course the full range of Microsoft apps, do a lot to create a sort of Microsoft Android system. It’s the best of both worlds.
I have been examining these things for quite some time. In fact, I do everything I recommend above. But what I’ve not been doing, aside from some international trips where the availability of no-extra-cost Project Fi cellular and data access made it crazy to do otherwise, is use Android full time. Instead, I’ve been using an iPhone.
I have good reasons for this, chief among them that the iPhone is more stable and reliable than any Android phone, including the Pixel XL I also own. Despite many very real improvements over the past two major Android versions in particular, I’ve just never been particularly excited by this platform.
But I’m going to try.
I anticipate roadblocks, key among them what to do about my primary phone number, which I’d like to port to Project Fi. (One thing that still bothers me about Project Fi and many other Google services is that you must have a gmail.com, rather than a G Suite custom domain, to use them. So I have to use Project Fi via an older Gmail account, and not my custom domain. Which is silly.)
I’ll figure it out. But I also need your help: Are there any Android-related topics that you really want me to examine? Let me know! I’d like to build out this article series into something that is both useful and complete.
<p>I like SquareHome 2 as a launcher, although it is missing the swipe-to-the-left-for-apps-list thing of true W10M. But Arrow doesn't have that either AND Arrow moves the damn icons around as you use them, meaning your home screen cannot be used with muscle memory. Infuriating.</p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><a href="#90302"><em>In reply to rbryant:</em></a></blockquote><p>I use SquareHome 2 and it has the swipe-to-the-left-for-apps. Have a play around with the settings and you'll find it.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90302"><em>In reply to rbryant:</em></a></blockquote><p>I actually use Arrow launcher, but I disable the auto arrange option so they just stay where I leave them. After that it's a nice balance of Windows and Android</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90302"><em>In reply to rbryant:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Arrow might not have swipe-to-left, but clicking on the app menu brings up an alphabetical apps list. It might not be 100% identical, but I find it's close enough. And the latest version of Arrow is a lot less "self-optimising" than it used to be.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90302"><em>In reply to rbryant:</em></a></blockquote><p>I believe Arrow's default is to organize apps by frequent use. You can change that in settings…</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90302"><em>In reply to rbryant:</em></a></blockquote><p>Actually you can turn off the auto arranging of icons in arrow launcher now</p>
<p>I know it is a known issue, but contact management on Android is …..not very good. To say the least. Any update on that would be much appreciated.</p><p><br></p><p>Wholeheartedly agree with you recommendation of Arrow Launcher. Makes the user experience far, far better</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90303">In reply to Bart:</a></em></blockquote><p>YES! An article on this would be awesome as mine are such a mess. I generally save them to my Google Account but it also wants to save to my Google Account on Outlook and I also have my Exchange Account and personal Outlook.com account to add contacts to. And I have duplicates out the rear… 🙁 </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90303">In reply to Bart:</a></em></blockquote><p>Right now, there's no good way to handle this on the phone. But … Yes. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90303">In reply to Bart:</a></em></blockquote><p>I only save contacts in Outlook.com, on my Samsung they clone to the Samsung contact book (as well as the Outlook app). If I edit in the samsung app the data ends up on Outlook.com but usually in a new field (ie edit a phone 1 no & it might be phone 3). Have to tidy up on Outlook.com</p>
<p>All I have to do is look at the screen shots and realize why I still dislike android. I guess it isn't shocking that Microsoft's mismanagement of windows phone allowed it to be beat by this junk.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90304">In reply to RM2016:</a></em></blockquote><p>Home screens do not a mobile platform make. You need apps and capabilities, which Android has.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90313"><em>In reply to Paul Thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p><em>And that isn't a result of Microsoft's mismanagement? In regard to windows phone, they have moved around like a drunken elephant in a Mac store.</em></p>
<blockquote><a href="#90304"><em>In reply to RM2016:</em></a></blockquote><p>While I'd agree to some extent that Windows Phone was prettier or more simple to get info right where you needed it, the Android screens are a complete sandbox experience. Even in the article, Paul recommends a different UI download. There are hundreds of UI tweaks and changes that can be made, including a few that mimic the old Windows Phone screens.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90304">In reply to RM2016:</a></em></blockquote><p>All you have to do is look at the ugly Fischer-Price tiles of Windows phone to realize why it failed.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90304">In reply to RM2016:</a></em></blockquote><p>I switched to Android and then switched back to Windows Phone (for a few weeks) and then drug myself back to Android… It's nice that you can customize things like your launcher and messaging apps, etc… but the biggest things for me were things like Android Pay (this alone is keeping on an Android device), Google Maps, and the countless little apps that I use now that just either weren't one WP or were and have since been killed. 🙁 If MS puts out some kind of game changing Surface Phone I might take a look again but for now WP is kind of dead in the water… </p>
<p>I wouldn't mind a more in-depth look at the Outlook app for Android. My wife has an outlook.com account (private calendar and contacts) and an Office 365 account (business calendar and contacts). This works splendid on the PC, but Android messes everything up. When she makes a call, contacts aren't available for example.</p><p><br></p><p>How do you enter your accounts to get everything to work smoothly in both Outlook and the rest of the phone? In OS? App? Both? Neither?</p>
<p>OneDrive maybe good for a "dumb data dump" backup for you pictures but the "photo management" part is total crap. It's sooooooooooo sloooooooow to lookup that travel picture in that specific album. Google Photos and even iCloud Photos is blazing fast with caching and thumbnails and both have also good basic editing tools (which happen to be also way more advanced than the Windows Photos app). Also tagging and facial recognition is more miss than hit with OneDrive.</p><p><br></p><p>Same thing with OneNote actually. Great note taking solution but syncing on mobile seems to take forever and sometimes stuff just doesn't sync at all. Oh and Groove has the same slow sync issues. This isn't an Android exclusive either because on iOS10 the same occurs.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90307">In reply to norwayyyxxx:</a></em></blockquote><p>This is why I recommend Google Photos. It excels at photo management.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90307"><em>In reply to norwayyyxxx:</em></a></blockquote><p>I do what I imagine Paul does: use Google Photos for active photo browsing and search, and OneDrive for backup of the unaltered files. I don't trust Google to not recompress or otherwise mess with my pictures, and if I'm going to print or use them for something later, I always go to the original files on OneDrive.</p>
<p>The <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.appmanager&hl=en" target="_blank">Microsoft Apps</a> app is a great resource. It lists all the Microsoft apps that are available with a short summary and an install button. </p><p><br></p><p>I Used Arrow Launcher for a while, Then Google Now, and finally settled on Nova Launcher. </p>
<p>I just switched from my Lumia ICON to the Pixel XL. It was a difficult decision as I loved my Windows phone but I had to acknowledge it was time to move on. (The phone was breaking down and I needed to replace it)</p><p><br></p><p>I'd find anything on how to improve the user experience on Android to be very beneficial. In particular how to tailor the Microsoft apps for the best experience. The Outlook app for Android app is very nice however I receive two copies of each email I receive. I have not figured out how to stop that – so an article on how to get the most out of Outlook would be great, as I do not want to use Gmail.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90315">In reply to Ser Barristan:</a></em></blockquote><p>The Outlook app is excellent but has been quirky lately. I've seen the issue you've mentioned but have also seen the inbox to show empty (when it isn't) or emails taking 5-30 seconds to fully display. </p>
<p>Nice article Paul. Some challenges I would like you to explore are:</p><p>-Outlook vs Gmail for email, calendar, and contacts. When I use Outlook, I feel I'm missing some of the notification benefits of Gmail for appointment reminders.</p><p>-Contacts - I could not get rid of duplicate contacts – I seem to have them from a dozen sources. I also could not edit Microsoft product based contacts.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90319">In reply to khanman:</a></em></blockquote><p>Will do.</p><p><br></p><p>Contacts is a disaster at the moment.</p>
<p>Yeah, you couldn't be more right. I have almost dropped Outlook entirely so many times I can't count because of the drunken tangle that MS services make of contacts. I think it would be perfect if I synched my Outlook email as an Exchange server and used the built-in Samsung apps, but installing the Outlook app adds another layer of weirdness, and Skype is just possessed. I can't make heads or tails out of why contacts appear, reappear, won't delete, automatically merge… it's awful.</p><p><br></p><p>Your help would be greatly appreciated!</p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><a href="#90405"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I'm interested in Samsung for a Windows guy.</p><p>How did your experience go with sync Outlook.com email, contacts & calendar with the built-in Samsung apps? </p><p>I've read the Samsung apps have good widgets. Is this true? </p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90319">In reply to khanman:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I use Outlook for my Google Calendar and get notifications just fine. And agreed, contacts are a mess.</p>
<p>Cortana can't see my appointments unless i use Gmail calendar app, why can't i just make Outlook my default calendar app than surely she'll be able to work all her wonders with this too.</p><p>And give Cortana the ability to act with SMS just as on on Windows Mobile.</p><p>Android may have the apps but it doesn't have all the basics built in to the standard OS, i don't want to just install an app for something that was built in to Windows Mobile and should just work out the box</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90322">In reply to Matt Barker:</a></em></blockquote><p>What "basics" is it missing? Google Assistant is far superior to cortana anyway. There's really no reason to use any Microsoft cr(apps) instead of the superior native Google apps.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90350">In reply to BoItmanLives:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sure there is. That's why I wrote this.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90366">In reply to Paul Thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Actually no there isn't. Gmail app so far outclasses Outlook. Likewise, I can see everyone mentioning Contacts issues – yes, with Outlook. No problems with built in Android/Google apps. Google search and Google assistant work way better than Bing/Cortana for non-US and non-english-speaking people, which is majority of the world. OneDrive has many competitors, most are better. MS does not offer any competitive Gallery/Photo app, unless you count OneDrive as photo viewer. Edge is non-existant on anything else except W10, which makes Chrome only premium browsing experience on Android. Google Keep is way better than OneNote, but ok, this is subjective, we'll call it a tie. YouTube has no MS replacement either. Audio and video is nowhere, just like Photos. And in the end we've got a wonder of Google Maps app, and related apps/functions, all of which have no real competition. Today I tried to use W10 Maps, and as Here before it – it still can't even properly parse house/street number, so if I search for "Abc Street 10, Amsterdam" it will offer "Abc street". Sorry, but mapping software which offera to take me to a STREET but not to a HOUSE is useless when the street is 10 miles long. And hey – I'm just mentioning some apps I use.</p><p><br></p><p>Android as OS sucks, is slow, and a memory hog. But has awesome apps, and most Google apps and bulit-in Android apps are really good, and much better then competition. Win (10) mobile has good OS, but most apps are shit. Not all, most. Likewise, most MS apps on Android offer none or very little reasons to switch from Goggle's own. I dislike Google, but instead moving my Gmail account to Outlook on phone, I've moved my Exchange account to Gmail. Left Here and MS Maps in dust where the belong. OneDrive still lingers, but MS lost many points here when they lowered my OneDrive allowance from 10TB to 1TB, which made me leave O365, and 5GB OneDrive doesn't help much. While I don't use GDrive any more than OneDrive, Dropbox suites the need just fine for 0$, as well as Box with 50GB for 0$ as well. I've uninstalled Word and Excel as most MS Office documents I open either open just fine in other apps, or I simply get them as PDF or as photos/scans/images. Remote Desktop is one nice app from MS I still use on Android, but that's because noone does it fast as simple as they do (for RDP protocol). Oh, and Office Lens is nice for "scanning", like RDP client, nice, small, fast, and gets the job done. Rest got uninstalled over years, and I never went back or missed any of them. So yeah, on ANDROID, it's simpler and BETTER to stick with Google's own apps or whatever is built-in. Including keyboard… Gboard is way ahead others. So Paul, except liking MS as company more than Google, what would be real reason to de-Google my phone? I mean, Google already spies on me and has all my data simply by using Android and Gmail. What do I really get improved by using Microsoft apps? And remember – for an English speaking person, but living in Croatia, Europe. For God's sakes, half of MS apps and services don't even work (properly) outside US and few major markets (!!)</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90350">In reply to BoItmanLives:</a></em></blockquote><blockquote><em>Did you know that in neither Android, nor iOS is there native ability for text-to-speech and speech-to-text? In Windows (since Win Phone 7.5 in 2011) you can flick on your BT headset and, when texts arrive, you are prompted to have them read to you, then, asked if you wish to respond, call or ignore. You can have your phone buried in your briefcase and that will work. Not so with Android or iOS.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>
<p><em>"The only missing piece: “Hey Cortana” voice control only works from within the app."</em></p><p><br></p><p>It's a bit long winded, but "OK Google, launch Cortana <wait> Hey Cortana…" works.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90325">In reply to maethorechannen:</a></em></blockquote><p>:)</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90325">In reply to maethorechannen:</a></em></blockquote><p>Holy Crap! Will try that! Thanks!</p>
<p>I know this is slightly off topic… but why will Microsoft not allow us to automatically backup photos to OneDrive for Business? It is the same app, but every time I have tried to set this up, it says I have to backup to OneDrive Personal. I use a separate phone for work and take work related photos, but I have to back them up manually. WTF Microsoft?</p>
<p>Was the Wordflow keyboard on Windows Phone 8 so much better than anything else out there or am I looking at it through rose tinted spectacles? I've tried Swiftkey, Gboard, Swype and the Sony Xperia keyboard amongst others but find them all frustrating.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90331">In reply to brian_c:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yep, I didn't really understand why they bought Swiftkey. I loved that keyboard for Windows Phone they built in-house. Come to think of it, they've never even brought it to Windows 8 or 10. I still don't think the Swipe feature made it to full Windows yet. Swiftkey has had the best auto-complete fails though, so it's got that going for it. </p>
<p>Try a OnePlus 3T. Impressive for its price. iPhone may be the most refined platform (yawn), but android will provide a never ending source of drama (aka material) to cover – just like peak windows. I like the Nova launcher. Haven't tried arrow, but reading that it adapts app icons to usage doesn't interest me. I like to lay stuff out where I expect things to be. Switched to firefox browser with bing as default search — so that breaks some google lock-in without much pain.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90332">In reply to ben55124:</a></em></blockquote><p>Arrow now let's you control how to use it. Either by "app usage" or just like Nova. It is much improved. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#90332"><em>In reply to ben55124:</em></a></blockquote><p>One my biggest disappointments with my OnePlus 3 t is that it doesn't suppose the main band T-Mobile is using for LTE 700</p><p><br></p>
<p>Would be useful to know how Android (pick a manufacturer) integrates with Office 365. I currently use a Windows 950XL and Outlook / Calendar / People all work as expected (I also use these apps for iCloud too but that's my personal stuff). I use Onedrive for personal and business and Skype for personal and business on the phone and again, all work fine.</p><p><br></p><p>How does Android deal with this ecosystem? Any gotchas? Does it all work seamlessly? I'm not too bothered with the Outlook.com stuff on Android as I would use a gmail account. but Office 365 for Business and iCloud would be important (mail / calendar and contacts).</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90333">In reply to James Wilson:</a></em></blockquote><p>The Outlook app is quite good with the main problem being contacts. Android phones usually play better if you still sync with your Google Account. I tried using Outlook (Microsoft Account) only for my contacts and just ran into problems. </p><p><br></p><p>I use OneDrive, Skype, Skype for Business, Office 365 Administrator and they all work great. Skype for Business has gotten better but it sometimes is slow to notify you. </p><p><br></p><p>There are some third party apps for iCloud but I've not tested them.</p><p><br></p><p>I am also invested in the Amazon ecosystem and all of those apps work well. </p><p><br></p><p>As for as gotchas? Aside from the aforementioned contacts mess, it works rather well. And as neat and cool as Google Assistant is, I may default back to Cortana so it syncs with my Windows Devices and calendars. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#90333"><em>In reply to James Wilson:</em></a></blockquote><p>"Nine – Outlook for Android" is the app you need. It works much better than the MS Outlook app. Normally $20! However it's currently available half price. Well worth spending a few notes on it if you're going to live in an Android world for long.</p>
<p>The beauty of Windows is the choice. Not everyone has $1500 to spend on a laptop, and you've always been able to get Windows laptops that range from functional/crappy in the sub-$500 range to does all you need but maybe not the ultimate expression of build quality in the $500-$1000 range. I'd love it if you actually give some of the Android devices which parallel these prices ranges in the phone space a review. Some examples: One Plus, Moto G. Thanks</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90335">In reply to elessar25:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree. The Moto G series phones are excellent for a mid-range and great for those who do not want to do a "Next" Plan. You buy it outright and go. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90344">In reply to wolters:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90335">In reply to elessar25:</a></em></blockquote><p>I recently upgraded from my 2014 Moto G but I must agree it was an excellent device for the price. I've nothing but good things to say about the Moto range.</p>
<p>CONTACTS. Contacts. Contacts. What an incredible mess. If I add a contact on my android phone it disappears shortly thereafter. Adding a contact in desktopweb outlook only sometimes syncs down to Android.</p>
<p>I've recently made the jump to android and I must say it's amazing how disappointingly bad the OS (marshmellow) is coming from Windows Phone… No pictures in contacts and no way to sync them (facebook app only wants to sync people FROM your phone to facebook… what's the point?), it keeps forgetting contact numbers or other info (and where's the easy way to put in an address???)… How professional to having to keep asking people who they are because my phone can't seem to store and keep numbers. New contacts in Whatsapp cannot be added to an existing contact or be saved as a new one because after closing the app, the contact information is gone again… Plus all the little things like when downloading a file, being able to save it directly on the SD card instead of in the phone memory first… Really, if it wasn't for the quality and quantity of the apps on Android, I would have thrown the phone through the window already. Such a shame Microsoft lost the mobile war. I'm curious to see (and I still hope) they can turn things around with (full) Windows 10 on ARM.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90341">In reply to Nicolas De Roo:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>PEBCAK.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90341"><em>In reply to Nicolas De Roo:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Use Gmail and all your contact pictures sync, are editable from the website. Works flawlessly.</p><p><br></p><p>Lots of android users having those issues if you add Outlook.com as EAS. Same with calendars.</p><p><br></p><p>I also can't get multiple calendars setup in my "stock apps" from Outlook.com yet Google calendars all work and sync fine.</p><p><br></p><p>Which is normal since Google is heavily invested in Android.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90341"><em>In reply to Nicolas De Roo:</em></a></blockquote><p>The pictures in contacts was a major problem for me, but someone recommended I use "Nine – Outlook for Android", and that is much better than MS Outlook. You get a full Outlook experience. However, it isn't cheap, but if you want proper email on Android with Exchange/Office365, it appears to be the best available. That said, all of the other issues with Android have made me start carrying my old Lumia 950XL with me for some things, and it is sooooo much better looking.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#90437"><em>In reply to Engineerasaurus:</em></a><em> Nine, in my recollection, doesn't sync contacts. </em></blockquote><p><br></p>
<p>Great Article Paul, especially as I've resigned myself to remain in Android for quite some time (had to painfully leave Windows Phone in the fall of 2015)</p><p><br></p><p>I'm currently using the vastly underrated Moto Z Force Droid with Arrow Launcher, Outlook and all the Microsoft Apps that I like to use on a regular basis. I did have Cortana as my main assistant but when Google Assistant was pushed out, went to it for a while but may go back to Cortana, as the rest of my life is Microsoft Centric (Surface Book, Dell XPS tower, XBOX One.) </p><p><br></p><p>Quick note on the phone…the camera rocks. It is slower than iPhone 7+ and Pixel but wow, does it ever take amazing pictures.</p><p><br></p><p>I am also using this phone with adoptable store with a 256GB U3 MicroSD card and I've not had any slowdowns or problems with it at all. Almost have to use it with only 32 base storage. </p><p><br></p><p>Yes, I wish I could go back when I was rocking a 100% Microsoft Word with my Lumia to go along with Surface. And I respect these guys but it almost makes me sad to see Windows Central pumping up Windows Phone when it just can't stand anymore. </p>
<p>Just a couple of questions-will you testing another Android phone aside from the Pixel XL? Also, do you use Google apps on your iPhone (kid of a Android for the iPhone guy-ish) Interested to see how this progresses.</p><p><br></p><p>Thanks!</p>
<p>Alternatively stick to your Windows Phone. As soon as I feel the app gap (which I don't, not yet) I might read Paul's article again :)</p>
<p>Interesting article as always. Although you can't really remove google from an android device (at least most people can't for various reasons), adding msft applications on top, merely introduces another data collection middleman to the equation.</p><p>Android a superior and open platform, gives msft the capability to deploy their applications – services as first class citizens, without the restrictions of the limited app ecosystem provided by windows mobile.</p>
<p>I see you haven't returned your Pixel XL. lol.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90353">In reply to jjaegers:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thanks — that looks excellent! I'll look into it.</p>
<p>Thanks Paul but I already de-googled most of the android phones that are replacing the aging windows phones that my family had. I never found “Assist & voice input.” in the setting but then again I never accepted the terms for Google to listen and record everything I do with the phone. When I long held the home button and it tried to coax me into giving Google the permissions, said nope and so I guess I don't have those system settings to change it to Cortana.</p><p><br></p><p>You seemed to miss out on some of the great items to add such as the Microsoft accounts app that is also a two factor authenticator. That is one of the first apps I installed before going with office, OneDrive, and Outlook. Also replacing Chrome browser with Dolphin or Brave is my preferred method of getting rid of another data collection point with Google.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90440">In reply to RonV42:</a></em></blockquote><p>Ron, which android phone(s) do you have? I have a Moto Z-Force Droid and it is under Assist & Voice Input and for sure, I can use Cortana as my main assistant. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#90458"><em>In reply to wolters:</em></a></blockquote><p>I have the Moto g4. It's running Android 6.0.1. If I search settings for assist nothing comes up. If I search for voice the only thing that shows up in settings is Google voice typing. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90613">In reply to RonV42:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm still checking for you…interesting in that should be available since the Moto's are close to pure Android. </p>
<p>One item on Android that is much nicer than on Ios is Lastpass. Having the app integrated into the notification panel and able to fill in all passwords is the main reason I chose Android over ios. </p>
<p> I'm still on WP, but my daughter has android. One problem she has is that for some reason in Groove she can't download songs from her Music Pass and then play them while offline. Does anyone else have this issue?</p>
<p>Love this article (and others like it). Have implemented most of these but haven't been able to find "Assist & Voice Input". Looked in all obvious places in settings, Any thoughts.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90461">In reply to VirtualDanMan:</a></em></blockquote><p>Which Android phone do you have? </p>
<blockquote><a href="#90462"><em>In reply to wolters:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>LG V20. Thanks.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90464">In reply to VirtualDanMan:</a></em></blockquote><p>Try this…You can change the long press assistant shortcut by going to settings – apps – pull the menu in the upper right corner – go to configure apps – press assist and voice assist – assist app – change to cortana and from here you can long press your home button to launch cortana instead of google. </p><p><br></p><p>Hope that works…I know LG has a different "skin" for settings…</p><p> </p><p> </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90604">In reply to wolters:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Suh-weet! Works like a champ. Thank you for your help. It was really dug in there.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90771">In reply to VirtualDanMan:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Glad it is working… 🙂 </p>
<blockquote><a href="#90462"><em>In reply to wolters:</em></a></blockquote><p>I, too, can't find the "Assist & Voice Input" option on my Samsung Galaxy S7 (AT&T – US).</p>
<p>I have done most of this, but the one app I just could't to anymore was Outlook. It's all there except contact & calendar sync, and having to sign into my Outlook.com account to add a contact was tedious. Unless I was doing it wrong, which is possible, I couldn't get a contact to add to my account (even though the app said that's what it was doing) and if I added in the Contacts app it would just get lost in the next sync.</p><p><br></p><p>Other than that (and brief moments of "why couldn't W10M be a thing") my daily life is working on Android. I actually never thought I'd say that.</p>
<p>Some things Microsoft need to fix:</p><p>Outlook Contacts: Inability to create or edit is insane</p><p>Outlook Meetings: Inability to change reminder time on meetings you didn't create is annoying. Eg get sent a meeting I know I need one hour reminder for, can not alter whatever the sender set</p><p><br></p><p>Groove: No access to SD Card music frustrating</p><p><br></p><p>Cortana: Can not use as is not 'official' in our region. In Windows (desktop/mobile) can get around this by changing region to Australia, and Cortana works pretty well. Can not do this region fudge in Android</p>
<p>Contacts management is horrific on Android (losing saved numbers etc.) when using Outlook as your primary Contacts location.</p>
<p>I've tried Swift Key but I think GBoard is just plain better.</p>
<p><em><a href="#90497">In reply to Vitor Canova Weingaertner:</a></em></p><p><br></p><p>Agreed. The swype typing and prediction is much better in GBoard. I was hoping for that wordflow keyboard, but they never put it on Android.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90497">In reply to Vitor Canova Weingaertner:</a></em></blockquote><p>SwiftKey used to be one of the first apps I'd install on Android, but recently it seems to have gone stagnant (even before it was acquired by Microsoft). The predictions seem less accurate and there seem to be more themes than features coming out.</p><p><br></p><p>Gboard for both Android and iOS is my go-to now. I've noticed that swipe typing predictions seem to be getting iffy in Gboard lately, but it's still the better choice overall for me.</p>
<p>I'd like to understand why MS apps don't seem to support external SD storage. Specifically for me, Groove and One Note. When I sync my notes or download music for offline play, there's no way that I can find to put that data on the SD card, so I'm forced to use internal storage, which seems to fill up fast. I would be much happier with these apps if they would use less of a footprint on my internal storage.</p>
<p>Two programs I can't do without on Android:</p><p>1. 'Nine' email. Paid. Works like outlook should. Full contact, calander, notes, and task sync.</p><p>2. 'Sync.ME'. Free. Syncs pictures from Facebook and helps blocks incoming spam calls. Doesn't get all spam calls but also has caller ID feature to help you decide.</p>
<p>I know I've emailed you a couple times on my issues with my migration to iPhone. I've had enough issues that I finally gave up. I moved (temporarily) back to my Idol 4S on WM10 until this Spring wave of new Android phones is complete. I'll see what I do after that.</p><p>The final straw for me was typing a new text message in iMessage. If I type in 'John…' the stupid look up is so slow that it actually would add 'Johnston Schools' to the iMessage instead of John Jones, or at least letting me pick. (I confirmed this as an annoyance even with die hard iOS guys.)</p><p>I had a couple app crashes that I later discovered was b/c of a badly behaving bluetooth camera shuttle 'click' button. It was a cheap little freebie from China…so that's easily not an iOS problem. </p><p>The nicest part of iOS is that you know if there's an app, accessory, or cool <whatever>…it is going to be available on iOS. </p><p>I followed Paul's guide when setting up my iPhone and I think it nails how to approach the iPhone if your migrating from WM10 or even Android, but you still want to use MS's services. </p><p>The battery life on my 7 Plus was nothing short of amazing. I can tape my daughter's all day VB tournaments and still have 20-30% left at the end of a very long day. Absolutely stellar!</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#90693">In reply to EnterMegatron99:</a></em></blockquote><p>Interestingly, the iPhone market share is sinking to Windows Phone levels at the moment – in Germany it has about the same market share as Windows Phone 8 had at its height!</p>
<p>you have to pry my Windows phone from my cold dead hands. </p><p><br></p><p>I tried android months ago, and it didn't work correctly, there were a some annoying problems with it. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#91608"><em>In reply to lordbaal1:</em></a><em> I've switched – though I am keeping my 950 up to date on the fast ring. I find the Android UI to be almost exactly that of WinMob 6.5 – a mess. I do like all the apps and the ability to connect one app to another more – say Evernote with Pocket Informant or all my health apps together. </em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>But I hate the meager battery life and the necessity to constantly kill apps to get more than 6 hours of moderate business use each day. </em></blockquote><p><br></p>
<blockquote><a href="#91608"><em>In reply to lordbaal1:</em></a></blockquote><p>I used to feel that way…until the Lumia 950. After I hit my limit with the damn thing, I considered an Android, but I'm so ticked off with the quality of MS' software the last couple of years that the idea of Android with a bunch of MS apps on it terrifies me. And also, I think I'm ready to go back to a flip phone after too many years of progressively more and more notifications saturating my life (I even get MS notifications at 4am!). I sit in front of a PC enough to where I no longer want to carry another one around in my pocket nagging me about lord-knows-what-this-time.</p><p><br></p>
<p>I enjoy reading the comments from the Windows phone users. Thanks, it made my day :)</p>
<p>Good tips Paul. I am loving Arrow Launcher. But I find that Cortana only seems to read the Google Calendar. I have not yet taken the plunge on going full Goog, so my calendars and contacts remain in Outlook. Thoughts on that appreciated. Maybe I need to go back and review Android for the WinPhone Guy. </p>
<p>Biggest Problem is music I own and Phots I have on onedrive. Looks like Groove can't "Make Available Offline" an album which has the same artist already in the same state.</p>
<p> Another issue How to… </p><p><br></p><p>Make Micro SD Card for internal instead of Personal</p>