Windows Phones and their mobile operating systems which were developed by Microsoft have been discontinued. I decided to keep this article because I often like to review old posts and this post provides a way to look back on some of the interesting gadgets from the not-too-distant past. Enjoy.
Are you wondering what the differences are between a Windows phone and an Android phone? Then look no further. This guide will describe some of the primary differences between the two types of phones, how you can tell a Windows phone apart from an Android phone and will provide you with information that can help you decide which one of these two phones would be the best choice for you.
How to tell the difference between a Windows and Android phone
What makes a Windows phone a Windows phone and an Android Phone an Android phone? Well it’s almost all in the software.
Both phones use a unique Operating System (OS) that allows the phone to function. Windows mobile phones run on the Windows OS (Operating System) which was created and is maintained by Microsoft; Android phones operate on the Android OS which is owned and maintained by Google.
A really cool, yet sometimes confusing, thing about these two Operating Systems is that they are utilized on smartphones produced by many different manufactures.
Instead of the iOS which can only be found on iPhones which are solely manufactured and sold by Apple (think Mac computers), and BlackBerry phones which are maintained and sold by BlackBerry Limited formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM), the Windows and Android Operating Systems are used by many different manufactures.
The Windows OS can be found on phones made by Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, etc.
The Android OS can also be found on phones manufactured by Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, etc.
The iOS on the other hand can only be found on iPhones which are only manufactured by Apple.
This opens up a wider selection of phones to choose from produced by a larger range of manufactures to choose from, many of which operate on the same software excluding a few minor differences that may or may not be added by the phones manufacture or the phones wireless carrier.
So when trying to understand the differences between a Windows phone and an Android phone think software and the Operating System that the phone runs on.
Differences in Software
Windows and Android phones both run on very different Operating Systems which are constantly evolving and changing to become more efficient, more powerful and more user friendly.
If you held an Android phone in one hand and a Windows phone in the other hand what would be the best way to tell the two phones apart?
When looking at the display screens of a Windows phone and an Android phone when both phones are powered on you will see a noticeable difference between the two types of phones.
A Windows phone has a very unique look to it. As opposed to the standard icons that you might find on a typical computer or an iPhone or even an Android phone the Windows Mobile OS has a very Window-y, Block, Square or “Tile” look in place of Icons.
Take this into account when deciding on a Windows phone. Though the Windows OS has a very clean and crisp look and using it is very straight forward it might take a little getting used to if you are used to icons or if you are coming from a different smartphone that isn’t utilizing the Windows OS. Don’t let this deter you from choosing a Windows phone of course, just keep it in mind. The user interface of a Windows phone is quite different then what you might be used to but on a touch screen device like a smartphone or tablet it can be very user friendly and easy to work with.
The main differences to consider between Windows and Android
One of the main things often considered when someone is choosing to get either a Windows or Android smartphone are the Applications that are available for that device. Applications allow a much more enjoyable experience on your smartphone and are one of the most desired features on a smartphone as they can increase the devices usability as well as its entertainment value.
As a minor example of how applications can be useful, you might not carry around a flashlight with you wherever you go but you’ll often have your phone with you. There are many different flashlight applications to choose from which will allow you to transform the flash of your smartphones camera into a flashlight. This is one of my dad’s favorite features and he uses his Android smartphone as a flashlight all of the time.
If you like watching movies then you could download your favorite streaming media service’s official application to watch you favorite videos, shows and movies.
There are thousands of apps to choose from on both Windows and Android smartphones. Whether you wish to download one of the many popular games available or a weather application or a fitness or diet app, a vehicle fuel tracking or pricing app, music apps, news apps, a customizable texting app, social networking apps, etc.
These are just a few examples (don’t worry the flashlight feature is available to both types of phones), but typically the more app selection the better.
Currently the Google Play Store (Android’s App Store) has quite a larger selection of apps to choose from then the Windows Store.
While both Windows and Android cell phones have access to a variety of different applications which allow further customization to the phones lock screen both types of phones allow you to personalize this screen right about of the box.
The Lock screen is the screen on your phone which you see if you have chosen to setup a password or before accessing the full functionality of your cell phone which can allow you to view key information about your phone with a quick glance and without the need to even unlock your phone.
This type of information often includes recent notifications, the time and date, weather information, and no customization would be complete without a personalized background image.
When comparing the lock screen customization options available on both Android and Windows phones both phones hold their own pretty well against one another. Throw in the possibility of customization through a third party application and you can have access to some powerful personalization before even unlocking your cell phone.
The screen that you see when you first turn on and unlock your cell phone can be one of the most important components of your phone as it’s kind of like the nerve center of a smartphone. Through this screen you access all of the different functionalities and features available on your cell phone.
The Home screen of an android cell phone is pretty similar to many other smartphone and can be compared to the look and feel of the desktop on a standard PC (before Windows 8 computers of course). The Home page is one of the most accessed and utilized screens when using an Android device and consists of shortcut icons which lead to different folders, features and settings on that device.
Out of the box the Home screen for an Android cell phone usually consists of a phone icon, used for making calls; a Contacts icon, for accessing the phones address book; a Messaging icon, for sending text or multimedia messages; an Internet icon, for accessing the world wide web; and an Apps icon used to access the list of applications which are installed on the device. Many Androids also include shortcut icons on their primary home pages that lead to the Email, Calendar, Camera, and Play Store applications.
Android cell phones allow you to add additional pages to the Home screen, designate a primary Home screen, rearrange these pages and of course add shortcuts to these pages which lead to your commonly used apps or widgets. This handy feature allows for a clean and easy to access interface on the phone.
The Home screen on a Windows phone looks very different than what you might be used to and certainly stands out when compared to the Operating Systems and user interface available on other smartphones. It consists of closely aligned “Tiles”. Blocks of features, many of which lead directly to the function that you which to access and don’t require you to click several times to get where you want to go.
As opposed to Android where you can run out of screen space and have to create new Pages for the Home screen as you can only fit so many shortcut icons on any given screen the Windows Home screen not only allows you to rearrange its Tiles but allows to you resize them as well to maintain a clean look and feel on the phone. This nifty feature is debatably one of the primary characteristics that set Windows phones apart from just about any other smartphone.
I am just going to briefly go over this subject as the typical smartphone user doesn’t often have a need to tinker with their smartphones preinstalled software and a tech geek would most likely already be familiar with the concepts and information already listed in this article as well as what I am about to mention but when it comes to manipulating or customizing a cell phones Operating System Android still reigns supreme.
While the average cell phone user will never even touch the surface of what an Android cell phone is capable of technologically if you are a software geek that likes to tinker chances are an Android phone is going to be your best friend when it comes to software customization.
Rooting, Jailbreaking and Bootloaders may be foreign words to the average phone user but the possibilities available with the software of an Android smartphone can be powerful possibilities when utilized properly by someone that knows what they are doing and who knows how to fiddle with such features. And if you don’t know how to tinker then Android phones are also really difficult to permanently brick/break when it comes to its software.
This is also a nice feature, in the grand scheme of things, as most software issues that can creep up unexpectedly can be resolved with a little research online avoiding the need to send the phone in for repair. When you can fix your phone yourself for free… well free is always in my price range.
Another thing that you might want to consider is the phones compatibility with other devices.
If you plan on connecting your new smartphone to other devices such as a smart watch, or if you plan on keeping your phone synced to a fitness device, or wish to sync your phone to your cars stereo system then the Android platform is arguably the best choice available.
Popularity of Windows phones vs. Android phones
While both Windows and Android are two of the most popular types of smartphones in the world Android is the more popular of the two platforms.
In fact Android dominates the smartphone market share by a huge margin followed by Apples iOS (the iPhone) with Windows smartphones coming in third. While the Windows OS is growing in popularity amongst smartphone users Android phones still have a commanding lead over the competition.
When choosing between a smartphone that operates on either the Windows or Android Operating System both phones are going to deliver whatever you need out of a smartphone. Arguably the two most important things to consider are going to be the phones app selection, in which Android trumps Windows with a much larger selection of third party applications to choose from, and secondly is usability of which both Windows and Android phones are very user friendly and this is going to be more a matter of preference.
If you want something different but quick and clean then a Windows mobile phone certainly stands out from its competition.
If you want something somewhat familiar to a standard computer with shortcut icons on a home screen such as the desktop of a PC then Android is going to be more your style.
I have owned both Windows and Android smartphones and I found them both very user friendly and to be honest I don’t think you can go wrong by choosing either type of smartphone. If someone was to ask me what my favorite platform was and I had to choose between Windows and Android though… I would choose Android as my favorite smartphone Operating System.
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