I’m a couple weeks into the experiment and one thing that strikes me is that I’m really not missing Android, which is odd because that’s the adjustment I had expected to find the most difficult. There are lots of little things that I like about the Android software. And in terms of hardware I really love the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx that I’ve been using for the past few months. I didn’t want to give it up. But it turns out that the transition on mobile has been the easiest thing of all. For me, anyway. Your mileage may vary. I’m dividing my time between two phones: an HTC Titan with a big screen, and a very sleek Nokia Lumia 800 which is about the size of an iPhone but actually has (dare I say this?) a sleeker design.
I’m not sure why switching phones has been so easy. It may be because I’m not a heavy app user, so I’m not getting pried out of a bunch of apps that I just can’t live without. And/or it may be because Microsoft did such a nice job with Windows Phone. If you haven’t played with a Windows Phone yet, you should check it out. It’s a nice environment to live in. Different from Apple/Android, for sure. The best thing I can say about it is that it feels more modern.
The desktop switch has proved more troublesome. I’m mostly using Windwos 7 on a Lenovo W520 hooked to a big screen. I can find way around pretty easily. But I can’t make myself fall in love with Internet Explorer. I miss Chrome. I’m not having any big huge glaring problems. It just mostly feels unnatural to me. It’s like you’ve been wearing the same pair of shoes for a long time and now you put on some new shoes and they just don’t feel right. You’re not getting blisters. But it just doesn’t feel the same.
Maybe this will wear off. Maybe I’m just biased, and can’t filter that out. Microsoft is pushing a new campaign called The Browser You Loved to Hate” in which they admit that IE hasn’t always been so great but that, guess what, the new version, IE9, is actually pretty good. I got a good presentation on the virtues of IE9 during my visit to Microsoft. Hardware acceleration, speedy performance, the ability to snap a bunch of tabs into a single group that loads together. Yes, nice.
Using Hotmail instead of Gmail has been a totally invisible switch. I simply set up my Gmail to forward to Hotmail and I’m good to go. (Confession: With some correspondents I’ve kept using Gmail simply so that I won’t confuse them. If/when I decide to switch to Hotmail permanently then I’ll drop this on them. For now I don’t want to inconvenience people.)
Next challenge: Windows 8. Microsoft sent me a Lenovo U300 ultrabook loaded with both Windows 7 and a preview of Windows 8. I had a few minutes to play with Windows 8 but will spend more time wtih it today. First impression: I really like the Metro interface, and I think it’s a good idea to start trying to make smartphones-tablets-PCs all look and feel the same. (Apple is doing this too.) However, there’s going to be a learning curve. Metro is nice, but not entirely intuitive. Clicking through to desktop view makes things more familiar, except there’s no Start button anymore. Argh! Thing is, during my visit to Redmond I had a demo of Windows 8 and with an experienced driver at the wheel everything goes great. And I was able to easily pick things up and get going with it. Now, a few weeks later, here on my own, I find myself dicking around a bit.
Two thoughts: One, I didn’t pay close enough attention during my tutorial in Redmond. Two, even so, I don’t think Windows 8 is going to be too hard to figure out.
Nevertheless, I’m guessing Microsoft is going to hear some bitching about this. There’s no way around it. Windows 8 is different. The key will be convincing people that it’s worth taking a little time to learn a new way of doing things. People hate change, unless you can convince them that there’s some very clear and easy to define benefit. Ball is in your court, Microsoft.
I’m off to start tinkering with the U300 and Windows 8. More later.