Written by Jane Gadsby and Luke Shacklock (Current year 13 students studying at Sawtry Community College, Cambridgeshire)
Following Apple’s rapid growth in the smartphone market through the development of the first iPhone in 2007, the advances in mobile hardware and software saw exponential growth. As the market leader in desktop computing software, Microsoft conveyed its expertise into developing a fresh new mobile OS to compete in this quickly growing worldwide market, offering a host of exciting exclusive features. But we must ask, does this new mobile platform really have the potential to take on its established rivals or is it just an over optimistic attempt that is destined to suffer the fate of the likes of Symbian and Palm OS?
The way we use our smartphones is changing as we integrate more and more of our lives into our handheld devices. Windows phone 8 realises the growing demand of its consumers and supplies many exclusive features to satisfy accordingly. Unarguably the market leader: 1 billion people worldwide now use Microsoft office (www.winbeta.org)
In Windows phone this office suite is adapted for use on mobile devices allowing documents, presentations and spreadsheets to be accessible on the go thanks to the SkyDrive service pushing all files to all devices registered with your Microsoft account. This USP makes the device appealing to the billions of users that choose Microsoft applications in their lives, both in private and public sectors.
Luke and myself asked a group of our peers (Sixth form students at Sawtry Community College, Cambridgeshire) to extract their opinions on the software and hardware differences in the Windows 8 Phone and iOS 7. When interviewing our age group, the responses were mostly positive, with a majority rating it to being very ‘user friendly’. Users reported that they initially approached the metro design with apprehension, which then was quickly dissolved after a brief experience with the software. The individuality is appealing as you are in control of your desktop design; this distinguishes it from iOS, which has a more homogenous user interface.
We found that many felt comforted when purchasing an iOS device by the lack of fragmentation in Apple’s hardware. With licensed software, third party manufacturers often use third party hardware that isn’t necessarily tailored to the software it powers. However the higher prices of the windows phone products express quality comparable to that of Apple’s design.
Apple had monopolized the mobile gaming forefront, with a vast amount of applications available to download for free, enticing audiences to engage in gaming without dipping into their disposable income. Microsoft have utilized their strength as the market leader strength by offering the synchronization with Xbox Live allowing gamers to play from home and when travelling.
Looking from the perspective of a younger aged audience, price is a critical consideration to make when purchasing a mobile. Windows manage to offer a range of budget smart phones that do not dramatically downgrade in build and hardware quality.
Look feel and features are fundamental in any handheld mobile device. Windows 8 now gives greater freedom to customize the lock screen much more than before; such as Xbox Live friends and game notifications. With provision for multi-core processers and higher resolutions screens, the progression is clear from previous windows 7.5. As such the ‘people-hub’- allows groups of fellow users to communicate and share data. Although weaker in comparison to AirDrop, Apple’s iOS file sharing, which enables easier transferability of documents. However, it must be considered, with of iOS7’s animation and 3D effects, the battery life is undesirably impacted.
The verdict is Window 8’s secure and organized platform. It offers a fresh, new and appealing environment which incorporates both the users’ demands for work and play. Although it must be considered how both handsets offer definite quality. Tangibly and intangibly windows 8 is the majorities preferable choice.
Sawtry Community College