Where am I? Read about how I got here.
Here I am in someone else’s platform. I need to migrate over to Android from Windows Mobile but retain the Microsoft ecosystem that has served me so well. Windows Central recently wrote their own piece on what is fast becoming a frequent task, but that was for switching to iPhone. This is my version, for Android.
Install the Microsoft apps
Microsoft have been busy building for everyone else’s platform whilst their own platform burned. Often, these apps were even better than the Windows Mobile equivalent. Nice. Kick your users whilst they’re down.
There are a tonne of apps available for Microsoft users, and I’ve focused on Office 365 and some consumer apps:
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Office Lens
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Groove (though it can’t read music on your SD card!)
I also included the MSN News apps, but quickly realised that without Live Tiles, I don’t have the same pull in to the app.
There’s actually an app “Microsoft Applications” which lists all Microsoft’s applications that can be installed. Well worth a look.
Reacquaint myself with Cortana
A feature I always used on my Lumias was Cortana. She was awesome. Excellent speech recognition, fast, clutter free and integrated in my ecosystem. Android has a Cortana app (one of my red lines) so I was hoping we could reacquaint with each other fairly fast.
Alas, she’s just not the same. She hasn’t got the same over-lock-screen access, she’s a little less available to my fingers and she doesn’t talk to me anymore. (I miss her “Wa-wa-waa”)
Other than that, she’s been fine with everything I’ve thrown at her. She also notifies me on my Windows 10 desktop, as she used to with my Lumia 950 XL. I am counting on Cortana filling that gap between my phone and my ecosystem. She does still let me send text messages from my Windows 10 desktop, but the first message will likely fail because she needs permission.
How it’s working out …
- I am really liking the Share contract that lets me select Share from any app and select which app should receive the Share. (Another feature killed from Windows Phone).
- My weekly shopping trip using OneNote as a live-synced Shopping List still works. With the Recent Notes Home Screen widget, it’s actually easier. But the syncing isn’t as slick as Windows Mobile. There is no feedback to the user to indicate that a sync is in progress or that a sync has finished and what the changes are.
- Microsoft Outlook doesn’t seem to be able to manage my Contacts, which is disappointing considering my primary repository is my Microsoft Account.
- I’m really liking the keyboard. Much of this blog was written on a physical mobile phone keyboard. Finally, I have freedom from my desktop to perform equivalent actions. No need for Continuum, either.
- Android Pay is awesome. I don’t think I’ll every use my card again. It’s so slick you actually doubt that the payment has worked and walking off feels far too like being a thief. Microsoft have Microsoft Wallet, but of course (with many things Microsoft), it’s only available in the US.
Ironically, Microsoft have gone to the effort of writing an app, “Switch to Windows Phone“. Perhaps they would have been better creating an app, “Switch from Windows Phone” to try and match what users loved from their own platform but with some degree of confidence in the longevity of the platform.