It was about two years ago when Microsoft reached out to me as a someone already (in)famous for living without a cell phone for 5 years. Their pitch: give the new Windows Phone platform a try for a month and tell them what I thought. And from then on, I quietly began using a smartphone again. Fast forward to Monday this week and I found myself being courted to check out the latest from Redmond...
I first began using a Windows Phone-powered Samsung Focus, which proved to be a solid first smartphone, later switching to various bigger-better Windows Phone models (the HTC Titan being my favorite), occasionally inserting a few Android devices into the mix as I began reviewing smartphones for the site.
Today, I find myself amongst the myriad of Apple iPhone users, the fifth iteration my primary device. But as friends and colleagues have often heard me complain, I've always pined for the simplicity and informative versatility of what was once called the "Metro" live tile UI (now officially labeled as "Modern UI" by Microsoft), as I'm still beholden to the graphic charm and functional utility of the live tile language that first convinced me smartphones were actually getting smarter.
Still, the OS-previously-known-as-Metro was equal parts unrealized potential as it was hinting of something beyond the static iconographic user experience offered by either Android or iOS. Live tiles only partially or infrequently updated, and some of Windows Phone's quirks were further magnified by the mobile operating system's lack of developer support and mind-boggling hardware spec limitations (explained as a strategy to standardize the platform across manufacturers). There was just enough "hits" to offset the "misses" that I found myself becoming a newfound fan of the world's biggest underdog, Microsoft, but enough misses I became curious enough to explore beyond a monogamous commitment to sow my proverbial oats with a Galaxy here, an iPhone there.