It’s time to end the duopoly. For too long, Google and Apple have dominated the smartphone market mercilessly, and that’s not a good thing for consumers. Fortunately, there’s a third way. As surprising as it is to point to Microsoft as the plucky up-and-comer, that’s where we are right now. But, Windows Phone has long been an underrated OS, and now that Windows Phone 8.1 has arrived and droves of new high-end and midrange handsets are hitting the market, there has never been a better time to switch to Windows Phone. Here’s why:
1. Cortana Is Smarter Than Siri
Microsoft’s new digital assistant is simply more capable than Apple’s right now, with features like contact-based reminders that can be triggered when you contact a specified person, or if they contact you. Cortana also has a more powerful natural language processor that brings you better, more relevant results to your search queries than Siri, who all too often can’t get the job done.
2. Major Apps are Finally Available
Apps are no longer the Achilles’ heel of Windows Phone. With favorites like Spotify, Whatsapp, Viber, and Instagram all releasing official apps on the Windows Phone Store, you’ll have access to dozens of your favorite web services on the go. As the platform continues to grow, third-party support has continued to get stronger, while Microsoft and Nokia’s core apps more than pull their own weight.
3. Microsoft Office and Outlook
If you use Microsoft Office or Outlook frequently, Windows Phone is a good choice. Both of Microsoft’s premier services come with Windows Phone smartphones, including free access to the mobile app versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and OneNote, among many others. For those Office apps, you can also take full advantage of your free allotment of cloud storage on OneDrive.
4. Live Tiles
Nothing is more emblematic of Windows Phone than the Live Tiles. Instead of the small, static app icons you get with iOS and Android, apps in Windows Phone can be opened up using Live Tiles, dynamic squares that can display messages, calendar reminders, news headlines, and more—it all depends on the app, and every app uses its Live Tile differently. Even better, you can customize the size and color of your Live Tiles, to make your smartphone your own.