Microsoft’s mobile operating system beats Google’s Android in three key departments. There will be others, these are the most noticeable:
Nokia’s Lumia 800 phone is a simple but elegant minimalist hardware block. The Microsoft operating system has the same minimalist aesthetic.
Its Metro front-end uses big, colourful tiles. They are instantly understandable and unambiguous.
Windows Phone 7 displays large, beautifully rendered, crystal clear type using the specially designed Segoe font. It reminds me of the signs you see on Swiss or German railway stations. There’s never a problem reading the screen or understanding what is going on.
Metro is simple, but not in the patronising Fisher-Price way that marred the Windows XP user interface.
Windows Phone 7 design not only looks better than my Android phone, more importantly, it is better structured. Most things are where you expect to find them. with Windows Phone form follows function.
In contrast, Android is a cluttered, disorganised mess. Sure, users can tweak Android to give it a more functional user interface, but that’s not as good as getting skilled designers to do it for you.
My HTC Android phone has a swype-like keyboard called HTC Trace. Trace is useful because it allows me to quickly enter text by moving my finger around the keyboard and not tapping out each letter.
Or it would be useful if it worked in every phone app. But it doesn’t. Worse, it doesn’t even work in all the standard apps that came configured with my phone. So I can use it with email, but I can’t use it when sending a text message. That inconsistency is a productivity sink.
In contrast, the Windows Phone 7 keyboard works the same no matter which app I’m using. Admittedly I haven’t tested this to destruction, but on the surface at least, Windows Phone is consistent, Android is not.
I’ve noticed other inconsistencies with menus and unsupported gestures in some apps on the Android – so far I’ve not found any with WP7.
3. Update mess
Updating Android phones is a disaster zone. I don’t need to say much more. Updates are slow if they come at all. I’ve heard all kinds of excuses, but they don’t cut the mustard, either a phone maker and its OS provider commits to fixing bugs and improving its software or it doesn’t. Google is slapdash in this department, Microsoft is organised and dependable.