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  1. So, my phone went kaput a few months back. HTC Arrive. Windows phone. Still one of the (the?) best reviewed phones @ Sprint. But alas, first gen, Sprint treated it like a dog, pulled it six or so months back from their lineup, went all in with the iPhone a year ago, and now got bought out by a foreign telecom. Supposedly they are getting a new Windows phone in six months or so. A little late. So, with the other half's parent's in town for the week, and the fact that it's their dime for our phones (the benefits for being "IT support" for a law firm...) we decided to kick the tires on new phones yesterday; ETF be damned. AT&T store. College town. Friday mid-afternoon, and then again Friday evening. Strangely empty at night apparently due to college student's rabid appetite for Skyfall for some reason... So, some thoughts. Two years ago I wouldn't have touched Android on a phone. Clunky at best. Today? Damned impressed by Samsung Galaxy S2/3, latest HTC handsets as well. Perplexed at who can easily use the Samsung Galaxy Note models and if they could even fit in anyone's pocket. Pretty sure our guy helping us at the store had a Samsung note in his button down shirt breast pocket. That phone dominated that pocket. And I hope he never bends over at the waist while on a non-carpeted surface. Android is selling 3 to 1 as the operating system for smartphones right now. Those HTC EVO phones were popular two years back but honestly Samsung has probably done the most to bring out the best in Android. The operating system has come a long way on phones and it shows. I've got a couple HP Touchpads here flashed with cyanogen so I'm more than familiar with Android. But honestly it looks and feels better on those new phones. iPhone 5? One small corner of the store. No one entering the store ever looked at them. I took a look. The latest iPhone has been described as "stale". Pretty much it. The whole thing is due for a major refresh. Not sure what else can be done on the hardware side (aside from bigger/better), for most smartphones when you get down to it, but the software looks/feels anchored in where it started from years ago. iPhone 6 is going to be more than slightly important for Apple. They had a Samsung Windows 8 tablet at the store as well. Impressive. I don't know where all the bile is coming from. Not sure when my upgrade will happen but have zero worries about it if/when it comes. What we all did end up getting were the Nokia 920 flagship Windows 8 Phones. Two whites, two reds. Yellow looked good. Black was matte, a little conservative. Cyan (blue) is online only - none in store. Feel in hand is just at the limit of comfortable size. Smaller would feel better but no problems here at the end of the day. Compared to the HTC Evo 4G, which this phone is probably best compared to for shape and size, it is just under a centimeter longer, maybe a half a centimeter wider, and just a little less thick. The phone is a thick Hershey bar, just not as long and a bit wider. I have no idea what drugs the reviewers (looking at Verge for one instance) were on complaining about weight. Just because many other phones are lighter doesn't make this phone's weight a problem. So your phone is now half as heavy? And? There is a point where weight no longer is anything to remark on. Technically it weighs as much as our old HTC Arrives but this phone, due to it's shape, feels much lighter. HTC EVO 4g = 170 grams, Nokia 920 = 185 grams. Clearly a horrific weight that will crush most mortals. Build is fantastic. A well refined mini-tank. Screen is great. Camera is as advertised. On the hardware side there is nothing to complain about - it's all there. 4G phone of course and we've got that in Harrisonburg but LTE is arriving pretty soon as well and the phone is naturally ready for that too. Sprint is still stuck on 3G here, and in most places. Another knock on them. Wireless network does do the 5ghz range so if your home router rocks that go for it. Windows Phone 8 is a really nice upgrade. All the tiles can now not only be placed where ever you want but can have their shape altered as well - your choice of mini square, large square, or large rectangle. Takes all of a second to move and change. Nokia perks include their GPS maps solution which is pretty damned fantastic. DL'd all of the North Am maps last night. 2 gigs, still leaving me somewhere north of the mid-20's in gigs free after you account for the operating system and those maps. The Nokia City lens is also pretty alright. Overlays stores/items of interest when in camera view. Kind of like a live, in-person Google street view with data overlay. All the other stuff is there too. Panorama photos, software lens, voice to search, use screen with gloves, etc. You can and maybe have read all about Windows Phone 8. No sense in recapping here. In many respects phone choice is philosophical. I had a Dell Axim (couple of variants) throughout the 00's. So with Android, it has a been-there-done-that feel to me, especially on phone platforms with the gadget metaphor and even more now that styluses are apparently making a comeback. I'm not saying the old Windows Phonestuff and Android are the same; just similar in intent. Apple is still just an icon based one-app-at-a-time thing going on. Yeah, yeah, multitasking. Still punch an icon to do stuff. At least Android pushes info out on the main screens. With WP7/8 the information is front and center. You can't run from it. Some of it is icons to launch apps but others push data to you in real-time. Or, displays the data you have currently. The photo square pushes favorite photos, animated, out to you as the launch icon. It is a compelling change, at least to me. Sure, you can argue that Android also has the info front and center thing if you want it, and yeah, I was tempted with the new Android phones, but the WP8 philosophy merging icons and information - for me I like it. As a comparison, the project management software industry is a harsh mistress. So many competing solutions. Basecamp, Freedcamp, Teamwork, Do, and on and on and on. Seriously hilarious how many choices you have out there. All to manage stuff to do. Some folks peeled off from Facebook a year or so ago and decided on a very different metaphor for project management. Intelligent lists but not just that. Also the idea that you can't run and hide from the lists. They are always right there. Telling you what needs to be done. Discussion, additional information on the tasks? Sure, but it's still all right there telling you what needs to be done. Asana is both a disconcerting change but also refreshing and glorious at the same time. With WP8 you get the info, now, in your face and in many respects is the same underlying metaphor as Asana. The computer feel is relegated. The complexity is relegated. When I played with the Android phones it really took me back to the Axim days; the tweaking, the unending configuration possibilities. But also the feel that it as a computer. One problem some reviewers had with Windows Phone was that it seemed "too simple". People almost expect to tinker and play with the phone. The phone isn't so much a tool to get calls, txt, email, etc and then get out of the way. The phone is the thing itself, a hobby, a fetish. I'd argue that Windows Phone might be the first phone to be like a game console. I'd also argue that it may not matter in two years. Windows phone having the actual windows core as it's base. Wondering if Android and Linux get a little closer together. Wondering with the level of CPU performance increasing in phones whether we will end up carrying our computers, our *real* computers, with us in our pockets. If our displays will be separate from the CPU system all of the time (tablet screens paired to phone, phone powering 32" desktop display with addon-gaming GPU). Weird times but hella fun for us. Did you know you could do the touch thing on Dell Axims, with your fingers? There are articles to be written about how it was all there for the taking between Microsoft and their hardware partners but neither one ended up pushing the others to greater things. Hackers pushed the platform, no one cared. Then Apple blew the doors open and now Google can make Nexus flagship devices but Microsoft gets pummeled for doing the same thing. Strange times... Cost for a Nokia 920 under two year contract is $99, and they throw in the wireless charging plate for free (we'll be getting ours in a week or so - not @ stores yet). A 32 gig phone, wireless charging, Nokia perks... It's a hard push for customers and it worked in our instance. $100 to $200 more for any of the Android phones I saw that i'd want to get under the same two year terms. And probably no wireless charging (a pleasant addiction once you get started with it - HP Touchpad cradle does this - most nice). Keeping the phone? I've got 30 days or so. If I change my mind I can go back and drop another $100/$200 and grab a Samsung android something or other. Right now don't see that happening. Note for those flipping their phones using the AT&T trade-in program. Pretty alright. Our HTC Arrives were priced $10 less than the eBay average sell of around $80 (so $70). I'll take that any day to avoid setting up an auction and eating eBay/PayPal fees and having to pack and ship. You may have similar/same luck in trade-in pricing on your phones.
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