BY | November 23, 2012

Both are from top tech companies and both are going to compete in the market in the days to come. Shafey Danish wonders as to how in Windows Phone 8 vs Apple iOS 6 competition WP8 stacks up against iOS

After Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, users complained it was missing many features that are readily available on rival platforms like Android and iOS. When Microsoft launched WP7.5 users complained it was missing support for hardware (beyond single core 1.4GHz processor, higher screen resolutions, SD card slot). Now Windows Phone 8 is here. How does it stack up against iOS?

As far as the basics are concerned, calling, camera, texting, apps support, social network integration, cloud services, all three operating systems are quite strong. There are however significant differentiation in other features.

In some Microsoft surges ahead of its rivals, on others it is still lacking. For example, iOS has a more comprehensive way of answering a call than WP8. iOS allows you to answer by text in a variety of canned messages with one click. This is missing in WP8 which has a less robust answering options.

IOS has iMessages, that mimics blackberry’s BBM service, which lets you send free messages to other Apple devices. WP has a more comprehensive option in this regard. Its Skype has the advantage of being available on all the platforms. Skype lets you send messages, voice calls via VoIP and do video calls. In this respect it combines the functions of FaceTime and well as iMessages. Since it is available on all other platforms, it is much more useful. In fact, Skype is so invasive in its functionality that it encroaches into the services of other platforms rendering them unnecessary.

WP8 lacks a comprehensive notification centre. In this regard, Android is king. It has a notification centre that is easily the best of the three, with iOS coming second. WP8 lacks a notification centre altogether, but it says live tiles makes up for it. Recently however Microsoft has said that they are taking a hard look at bringing a toast notification centre to the platform.

Data transfer is easiest in WP8. When you connect it to a device it acts like a USB drive in which you can simple drag and drop files as you would in any USB drive. This is lacking in both iOS and Android.

Xbox Live and Xbox Music has been built into WP8 which means that you can download everything that is available on the Xbox platform. For the record Xbox Music has more titles that even iTunes, and it has a comprehensive library of other media options too.

In games iOS is still ahead, which is a little surprising given the huge library of excellent game titles that are available on the Xbox. Both iOS and Android has an excellent collection of games titles which WP8 phones currently lack. Once Microsoft begins porting some of its more popular games from Xbox to WP that lack will go away, but when that will happen is anybody’s guess.

Even though all platforms have comprehensive security feature, WP8 is ahead in this respect simply because it has introduced 128 bit encryption which will appeal to its enterprise customers.

Customization is the Achilles heel of iOS. It offers static icons and nothing more. Windows Phone 8 goes a little further by letting users select between 3 sizes of the live tiles. But you cannot have the tiles in portrait mode (you can in the iOS), nor can do remove them (you can replace them with others) and the wide layout means that you need to scroll through more to get to the app you want. Android is the most versatile in this respect, allowing its users to virtually choose whatever they want on their home screen. WP8 needs to offer more and different layouts for the start screen. For those who don’t like it, it must offer the option of removing  them altogether. More themes and more colours (beyond the 20 being offered now will be most welcome).

Voice commands, or rather voice assistant is another area where WP8 is behind the competition. While it offers voice commands, they are nowhere as comprehensive or as fun as Siri or Google Now.

Talking of Google Now, when will Microsoft allow Google’s excellent suite of applications on its platform? It will help greatly with getting users to come over from Android.

In NFC, WP8 has the best solution with its Wallet. Google Wallet allows you to store your credit and debit card information, iOS allows you to store your coupons in Passbook. WP8 allows you to do both in Wallet, and the functionality resides in the SIM card so it is not going to freak out the carriers.

On the social network integration front, Facebook is baked right into WP8, as is twitter. Other options like Dropbox and LinkedIn, not really. Here again Android takes the crown, while iOS comes second.

WP8 also brings multiple users support of sorts through Kids Corner. You can now let your kids (or adults) use your phone without worrying that they might see things that you don’t want them to see. You simple have to go into settings and restrict their access to areas that you are fine with. This feature is again lacking in Android and iOS. Android 4.2 does bring multiple user support to tablets, but not to phones. Apparently Nokia has a patent for that one.

Though WP8 supports higher resolutions and higher core count, it has only allowed dual cores till now. We are sure quad cores are coming, but in the matter of screen resolution, apparently 720p is the highest you can go. That might be a problem given that Android phones are coming with 1080p resolution. Regardless of whether that would be useful, WP8 should offer support for full 1080p, or else it might again be accused of falling behind its competition.

All in all, WP8 is a pretty solid package. While it still needs to fill out its full potential (Smartglass for example is a great idea which does not work on many devices right now), the basics are in place. The integration with Xbox Live, Xbox Music, the easier data transfer, native VoIP support, better security, make it a great phone with a great potential.

With the Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has finally closed the gap between Android, iOS and WP8. The one place it is lacking is apps, and they are coming fast.


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  • akashtaker001

    Android had mass storage option where it acts as a USB when connected to pc since day one. Get your info right

  • Denis R.

    WP8 doesn’t provide a way to remember position in audio books,something that apple has supported for years. In order to listen to an mp3 audio book on a Windows phone, you have to go through an elaborate procedure to make it into a fake podcast.