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Using Android in the Microsoft ecosystem

More and more people are switching from Windows phone every day. I can tell, because people are constantly asking me which platform they should go for between iOS and Android. I've already written an article detailing my month-long experience with an iPhone in the Microsoft ecosystem, and now it's Android's turn, as so many of you requested.

In my mind, to truly experience an ecosystem, you've got to use not only the software, but the services, and the hardware too. That's one of the reasons why I still haven't left Windows phone. But I get it, Windows phone isn't cutting it for everyone anymore, and every day more and more people are needing (not necessarily wanting) to switch platforms.

So, is it possible to continue living entirely in the Microsoft ecosystem with an Android smartphone? Over the last month or so, I've been using an Android smartphone in place of my beloved Windows phone to find out exactly that. This is the Microsoft Android.

The setup

As a full-time Windows phone user, I went ahead and purchased myself a brand new matte black OnePlus 3T 128GB (opens in new tab) with the intention of using it over my primary smartphone, which is currently an HP Elite x3 (opens in new tab), but continuing to use all of Microsoft's apps and services, just like I did on Windows phone.

The Android experience is never the same on any device. Depending on the hardware maker, things such as the home screen, notification center, settings apps, and more can differ. Luckily, Android is super customizable, so for the most part we can make Android behave the way we want it to.

Android has the ability of entirely switching out the default home screen and lock screen experiences with a 3rd party one. And Microsoft has their own offering for both of those things. There's a Microsoft home screen, and a Microsoft lock screen for Android which you can download from the store.

The Microsoft home experience is called Arrow (opens in new tab), and looks very similar to your average Android home screen. It has a quick launcher bar at the bottom of the screen, an "app drawer" where you can find all the app installed on your device, and a utility page that gives you access to recent contacts, photos, documents, calendar events and more.

You can even login to your Microsoft Account, which will sync up things like calendar events and documents directly with the launcher, which can be accessed by swiping left over to the utility page.

Then there's the Microsoft lock screen, which is called Next Lock Screen (opens in new tab). I actually don't like this lock screen, as I find it to be slow and clunky. Also, Android doesn't do a very good job at handling 3rd party lock screens as well as it does home screens. For example, using a 3rd party lock screen means you won't be able to use Android Pay unless you login first.

What's more, it's definitely evident that the 3rd party lock screens are just placed on top of the default lock screen. You can tell because whenever you restart your phone, you have to login twice, once with the Next Lock Screen, and then again with the actual default lock screen. It's really annoying.

The Next Lock Screen looks similar to the Arrow Launcher, with a quick launcher at the bottom of the screen. It also houses all your notifications in a list under the time, just like the normal Android lock screen or on iPhone. I definitely prefer this method of displaying notifications, unlike on Windows phone which doesn't really do this.

Now, to download any apps from the app store (known as the Play Store on Android), you need a Google account. You'll be prompted to make one when you setup your phone for the first time, but luckily you can use your Microsoft email instead of having to create a new Gmail address.

Most Android phones come bundled with Google apps out of box, because that's mostly why people want an Android. Here at Windows Central however, that's not the case. While you can't necessarily uninstall the bundled Google apps, you can definitely disable a lot of them. So that's exactly what I did.

Before doing anything else, the first thing I did is manually "disable" 99% of the Google apps that are bundled on Android. That includes things like Google Calendar, Photos, Gmail, Hangouts, Play Music, Play Movies, Google App, and Google Drive. I kept a few of the smaller utility based ones, because they might come in handy.

I disabled all of these apps because I intend to replace them with Microsoft's own offerings. I didn't disable Google Chrome however, because Chrome is arguably the only good web browser on Android. And Maybe Opera. But I stuck with Chrome.

The apps

Now that we've disabled all of Google's out of box apps and installed Microsoft's own launcher and lock screen, it's time to start replacing them with Microsoft's own apps. To see a list of Microsoft apps available on Android, I simply headed to the Play Store and searched "Microsoft" in the search tab which will bring up an incredibly long list of Microsoft apps available on the platform.

It becomes obvious very quickly that Microsoft is all in on Android, with literally hundreds of apps available from the software maker. So first and foremost, I went ahead and downloaded the Outlook app (opens in new tab), so I could get my Mail and Calendar setup on my phone.

Microsoft's Outlook app for Android is super nice and simple to use. You can add multiple email accounts to it, so if you're using more than just one Outlook account. The app is pretty feature filled too, with direct access to my OneDrive files, and my contacts list for quick emailing.

Speaking of contacts, with the Outlook app, you can sync the contacts saved to your Microsoft Account directly with Android itself. This means you don't have to manually add your contacts to your new address book on your Android, as the Outlook app should do it all for you, just like on Windows phone.

Unlike on iPhone, you can set 3rd-party apps as default on Android. This means the Outlook app will actually be used when clicking an email on a webpage, rather than asking to use the default Gmail app. This makes for a much simpler user-experience, as it means you won't have to copy/paste email addresses into the Outlook app when you have an email to send, the system will handle everything for you.

Installing the Microsoft Authenticator (opens in new tab) app is also a good move, too. It'll make signing into all the Microsoft apps easier, and in some cases will even skip the login process and just use your account info from the Authenticator app. This is super handy, as typing your email and password every time you want to install a Microsoft app is tiresome.

Moving on, OneDrive (opens in new tab) and Office are important apps to any Microsoft user, and luckily on Android Microsoft has some great offerings for you. You've got a pretty nice OneDrive app, which does exactly what the OneDrive app on Windows phone does, albeit with a slightly uglier UI in my opinion. You've even got automatic backups for photos, which is something I know many Windows phone users will be happy to hear.

You've also got your standard collection of Office Mobile apps. This includes Word (opens in new tab), PowerPoint (opens in new tab), OneNote (opens in new tab) and Excel (opens in new tab). The Office apps are pretty much on-par with the Universal Windows Platform apps on Windows phone. They even look the same, so you won't be lost or confused coming from a Windows phone if you're often using Office on your phone.

Each Office app has direct access to your OneDrive too, so you can grab any document or PowerPoint presentation you like directly from the home screen of the app. OneNote has a super handy widget that you can pin to your home screen, with quick access to your notes and note taking options.

I then went ahead and installed Skype. Actually, I installed Skype Preview (opens in new tab). You can install either, but the Skype Preview is newer, being constantly updated by Microsoft with new features. Currently, it doesn't house SMS messages like on Windows phone, meaning no Skype SMS syncing between the desktop app on Windows and your phone. Microsoft says they will be bringing this functionality to Android at some point however.

The Skype Preview app has a very simple UI. I find the app takes a little longer than I'd like to launch, but it integrates with the OS well enough so that actionable notifications usually bypass the need to open the app completely. When a call comes in, you can answer that call directly from the notification, which is also pretty nice.

Next up is Cortana (opens in new tab). The Cortana app on Android features a funky UI similar to that on iPhone, but is completely different from the UI found on Windows phone. I actually much prefer the far more simple UI that the Windows phone version has than that of the Android and iPhone versions. You have to swipe up, and then swipe over two times to get to your news view of the day, which is annoying.

It does get some things right however. For example, there's this "hub" area which gives you quick access to the most common tasks Cortana can do. If you're someone who doesn't like talking to their phone, you can use these quick access shortcuts to initiate a command without speaking. For example, I can tap on "tell me a joke" and Cortana will do just that, without me needing to ask it with my voice or type it out.

The Cortana app can actually sync notifications between your phone and PC, just like on Windows phone. This means you can technically reply to texts from your desktop that arrive via your Android's SMS app. Not only that, but you can also take advantage of most of the actionable notifications on Android, including apps from 3rd party developers. I can reply to WhatsApp notifications from my Windows desktop that are synced from my phone. That is super awesome.

Finally, Cortana can also be accessed directly from the home button and the lock screen. As mentioned above, you can set apps as default on Android, and you can set Cortana to be your default "voice assistant" on Android too. Once set, you can hold down the home button to initiate Cortana, which is incredibly handy especially if you're a big Cortana user.

Moving right along, Groove Music (opens in new tab) is another important app for me. The Android app is pretty basic, still rocking the "Your Groove" feature which was removed from the Windows apps some time ago. It's basic, but it has everything I need from a music player. I've still got my list of songs, albums, artists and can still create playlists too. You can also search for music in the Groove library, and add them to your collection or download them for offline playback.

Other Microsoft apps I installed include Microsoft Band (opens in new tab) for health, Xbox (opens in new tab) and Beam (opens in new tab) for gaming, GroupMe (opens in new tab) for communication with colleagues. and MSN News (opens in new tab) as my news app. All of those apps work just fine.

Final thoughts

I'll be honest, I really wasn't looking forward to using Android as my daily driver. The last time I tried to switch to Android, is was back when Android 2.x was a thing, and my god that experience was terrible. In 2017 however, Android is as fast and as fluid as iOS is in most cases, which was a pleasant surprise to me. Of course, this depends on the Android smartphone you decide to pick up. I'll be writing more about the OnePlus 3T itself in an article coming soon, but for now, let's just focus on the software.

Android has multitasking mode, which allows you to use two apps at once. I know this is a big thing that Windows phone fans want too, but I honestly never use it. Perhaps that's because I forget its there, or maybe it's just not something I find I need to use.

In short, moving to Android from as a Microsoft user is a good idea. Sure, there's a lot of work you need to do before your Android is behaving the way you want, such as dealing with app launchers and lock screens and whatnot. But once you've got all that sorted, and all the Microsoft apps installed, you're basically good to go. After everything is set up, using Android as a Microsoft user becomes an incredibly pleasing experience.

Some of the Microsoft apps aren't as polished as they are on Windows phone, which is to be expected. But they work, and they work reliably. I'm yet to find myself using an Android app and wishing I was back using a Windows phone, because all the Android apps do everything I need them to do, sometimes better.

Now you will be missing out on Microsoft Wallet if you're in the United States, but there is Android Pay. I admit, I didn't try out Android Pay, so I can't really comment on how good or bad it is in comparison to Microsoft Wallet.

If you're a Microsoft users looking to make the switch from Windows phone, I'd say Android is a great choice, assuming you're okay with spending an hour or so setting everything up and customizing stuff the way you like it. The beauty of iPhone is that it's basically already setup right out of the box. With an Android smartphone, there's a bit more work involved before you're "done" setting up your phone.

With Android, you can definitely be "more in" on the Microsoft ecosystem over an iPhone. So if surrounding yourself with Microsoft as much as possible is your ultimate goal, Android is the way to go.

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

307 Comments
  • Android ain't bad after all
  • Its livable, but not better than Windows for me. Still way overcluttered and overcomplicted IMO. iOS is to dumbed down. Windows was my Goldilocks "Just right".
  • Exactly pallentx, livable, but not better. overcluttered and overcomplicated
  • I left out ugly. With some work, you can make it look better in the launcher and a few areas, but the overabundance of whitespace and primary colors just feels cheap to me.
  • Have youo trid the SquareHome 2 Launcher? really  makes it look and feel pretty close to Windows. 
  • SquareHome 2 looks and feel pretty close to W10M but it is actually Pretty Ugly.
    Arrow Launcher is much betters though it wasn't very Tile-like.
  • MS needs to next build a tile launcher for Andriod. Arrow seems pretty bland to me, and app drawers suck. I use SquareHome2 on an Android tablet and love it. My next phone will be Android with a tile laucher. I hate the typical field of icons on Android and Apple.  
  • Actually, I just threw in the towel and got the Galaxy 8+ and I installed the 10 Launcher!  It even has "live tiles" so it gives you a richer "Windows Phone" experience.  Still struggling with making my microsoft apps the default, but I have to be honest...with myself...even coming from the 950xl, this phone is a beautiful hunk of hardware with a very snappy OS and a vast array of apps!  Curse you microsoft for making me break up with you!
  • If Android is too complicated for you, what do you use as a desktop?
  • LMAO. Bingo.
  • A desktop is a different thing. I dont want that level of detail on a small screen, touch based mobile device. That's why Windows Phone is not the same thing as Windows on the desktop.
  • Android feels more like early 2000s Linux desktop to me...
  • Ha ha that's true, well said.
  • Lagdroid security is about Win XP pre SP1
  • Which device? There are hundreds of Android phones and the most secure devices are running Android and so are the least secure. I don't see a Windows phone or iPhone being approved for use by the POTUS.
  • Wow.  I really hate icons.  That's so 1980s.
  • I know! Put squares around the icons and allow them to house functionless widgets! innovative!
  • cant agree more. windows 10 is a total failure on tablets and phones   
  • Since switching to Android a few weeks ago, ive gotten over the newness and still pull out my 950XL to enjoy some of that buttery smoothness.
  • I'm glad that you are having a buttery smooth experience on your 950 XL, but I and many others have had the complete opposite experience. I've got to be honest with you. I hate this phone more than any I've ever owned. I have never had a smartphone that wasn't a Lumia because I had never wanted to switch before now. Everything has been going downhill for Windows phones for a while now and it sucks that I didn't realize it sooner. Th reason why I hate my 950 XL is because I had such high expectations after loving my 1520 more than any other piece of tech. I'm quite satisfied with the camera but everything else has been a huge disappointment. I think Microsoft should make a custom Android ROM and device with UWP support. I would definitely buy it. They could do that and have a Surface mobile device that is more for business and runs Windows 10 on ARM. Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I know I will probably get a ton of dislikes, but I am not scared of having an unpopular opinion. What Android device and launcher would you suggest for a Lumia-like experience?
  • Sold mine over a year ago. Worst device I've ever owned and gutted I spent all that money on one.
  • really? Smoothness on 950x... you gotta be high somehow! That **** lags like android 2x...
  • Speak for yourself, my 950XL runs nice and smooth, I also have an LG V20 and it isn't even close, it is called lagdroid for a reason.
  • You are seriously delusional together with Gidorra and FiveOrThree or something!!!
  • Newer update is made my phone smooth and fluid.
  • Only overcluttered if you make it that way. Depends which phone you go for too as they all skin Android differently.
  • Perfectly summed up.
  • Overcluttered? You can literally have just three things on your home screen. Come on man. Its up to the user to have the layout the way they want just like on Windows Phone. You can have a lot of live tiles or just a few.
  • I don't think the article made enough out of Arrow.  The simple fact of the matter is, Android, running Arrow, is much better integrated with MS services than Windows is.  All your recent documents are right there, on your home screens. OneDrive also works better (esecially with large files) than it does on Windows Mobile. Next lock screen does suck, though.
  • Alternate lock screens on Android just suck in general since there isn't an actual framework for third party lockscreen. Every third party lockscreen is just drawn over the stock lockscreen. 
  • I like Next Lock and really want to use it, but it can be sluggish and a bit flakey so I can't. I had it on my older and cheap Android so I thought that was the problem, but Zac has similar issues so it's either the app or an inherent problem with Android.
  • So if I install that Arrow app, will the Outlook account finally sync the contacts? Because I've had enough since "sync experiences problems and will be back shortly". Also why isn't Groove working in my region as well?
  • The title should actually read "using MS services in an android ecosystem"
  • How sad is it this article even has to be written.
    MS needs a blow torch to the nuts for what they've done to WP.
  • I made the switch over two years ago. However, I didn't continue with Microsoft apps or try to make my Android devices look like Windows devices. Other than OneDrive, which I use to backup my photos, I switched to Google apps and services for everything else. 
  • Ditto. If I want a Windows phone, I'll buy... oh wait. 
  • Makes sense, no real reason to continue to use their software when if offers no real advantage and perfectly viable alternatives are available, apart from probably Office.
  • It's useful to know that you *can* continue to use the MS services you like, though, even if it makes more sense to choose the best option in each instance.
  • I think Microsoft will regret not pushing Mobile within next couple of years and keeping silent at a time like this where most loyal users and contributors are switching to other platforms, first few weeks we may use Microsoft's services and apps but some will start to give up on Microsoft because there is no point of waiting when what everyone needs is their in the platforms which their corporations invested in the mobile platform unlike Microsoft. Also worth noting the all the third-party availabilities from TV remote apps to Amazon's Alexa, widgets, VR/360 hardware, home automation and smart devices, what has Microsoft to offer for its consumer side... not much compared to Android and iOS. I'm likely to switch myself within next 2-4 weeks to Android as had enough of waiting for Microsoft to fix issues in the Windows 10 Mobile platform also never ending issues with Lumia 950 XL devices, making a call, replying to a SMS and taking a photo shouldn't halt or crash the device! If they can't do something as simple as that; then they have more money than sense. Microsoft just needed to be committed and invest in the platform and its contributors as Apple and Google did/do.
  • I agree nitsuk. I love my Windows phones (640 and 928) and I love Windows 10 desktop, but I'm moving slowly to Android (new tablet, next phone). I am a lawyer and lawyer's use Word. But for that I could see my self doing fine with Google Docs, etc. and a Chromebook. Since I'm retiring in the fall, I might just then wait for my all in one Dell to die and get a Chromebook.
  • Well this is what will happen if Microsoft doesn't get their act together because they still can however is now fully down to them because even myself as an primary Microsoft user and contributed am not happy to go back to a platform without the apps I need to do my work or have little fun on the personal level with a fun app which my children also would enjoy. Our clients have already asked if they can use Google Drive instead of OmeDrive for business because is available for integration under more services, all started since we started switching them over to Android which then they started using Chrome. Just having difficulty understanding how and why Microsoft has been able to drop the ball to this point on these essential areas.
  • I think you are SO right but Microsoft aint listening.....their demise
  • I think all they are concentrating on is selling services based on subscription which is great however the issue is under Android and iOS there are so many more options, cheaper and innovative that once users have access to that market they may not think twice about staying regardless of how good Microsoft's services are sadly as humans we always assume the grass is greener on the other side.
  • No reason to use scroogle services, I don't use gmail or any of their products.  google is your basic ADVERTISING company, not a tech company and it shows in the shoddiness of android.  Chrome is just an ad delivery tool for all the google fanboys.
  • I completely disagree and believe Google Maps and Google Photos are some of their best apps because of the technology.
  • Not mentioning Google Earth which is the best app ever invented - for me.
  • Salty fanbois downvoting you.
    I guess they are still in the anger stage, huh.
  • haha, i love them. 2 days earlier one of them stated that the app gap is a hoax and full W10 on mobile devices will defeat everything :))
  • Google apps and services suck, Android rules
  • Honestly, two years ago there wasn't many Microsoft apps to choose from at that time and what was available wasn't very good. Microsoft was in their iOS/Android infancy at the time.
  • Yeah, I'm already moving some things over, or at least copying them into Google services. I found that having contacts in GMail works better on Android, I may start doing the same with calendars. Running MS services on Android, for many, will be a transitional step while they work out the Google work flows on their desktop or other devices. I will definitely stay with Office 365/One Drive, especially while I have students living in my house. Office for all 4 of us with 1TB of storage in OneDrive each is a great deal. As for Groove, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, etc, thats all negotiable and depends on what works best.
  • Which is exactly the reason MS is so short-sighted to not continue to push mobile, and give up on windows phone.  Few users will continue to be MS-ecosystem loyal on iOS or Android when their own platform has their own ecosystem offerings which usually are more naturally embedded and feature-rich.  The phone is part of the trifecta (phone, tablet, PC).  If MS isn't strong in any of those then they will continue to lose ground to the Google and Apple.  People want the ease to have all their stuff sync between all their devices using the handfull of familiar apps/services.
  • Microsoft Wallet was extremely limited (tap to pay was only available in the U.S.), so the fact that it isn't included on Android phones, is no big loss.
  • MS wallet would only work with 2 of my many cards.  Android pay works with every single one.  Wallet seemed slightly faster at completing the transaction though.
  • I am struggling with this decision.  I have an iPhone 6 but still use my Lumia 950 regularly.  I really do like iOS but I am also keeping an eye on Nokia's android offerings.  Saying that.  I can't help it, the Android OS just looks so ugly to me.  I gave it a shot back in the HTC One days but wasn't a huge fan.  I am leaning more towards a newer iPhone but I'll keep my options open depending on how the higher-end Nokia phones look (yes, I know they are not 'true' Nokia phones but I still do like the semi-throwback designs). Thanks for the article as it does certainly offer some great information. Lastly, I can't really say I'll stick with many of MS' services.  The more I use my iPhone and Mac, the less I see the need to go out of the way to support MS or see a need to use any of them.
  • And so this is an important point. I understand the whole "go where the people are" mentality of Microsoft's to a point. HOWEVER, they have hedged a lot of bets on other OS' and are "hoping" that when people leave Windows they take the services with them. I don't think this mentality is going to pay off for them. I find many users, who are even IN the Microsoft ecosystem, don't really care about MS Services. Some are interested but never bother to download apps or configure them. Others simply don't care and find the default Apple (iOS) or Google offerings to be just as good. I fear this is just going to continue the exodus from Windows. It is way past time for Microsoft to really embrace UWP completely. This is really the only card Microsoft has left to make Windows viable. 
  • Exactly.  What's even scarier is the entire 'invesement in ecosystem' angle.  I believe this is one of the main reasons why we'll never see a Surface Phone.  People have already invested in other ecosystems.  Not many people are going to start all over in Microsoft's ecosystem after investing money into iOS apps/games or Android's as well.  This is why, even given my little time spent with iOS, I will most likely stay with it to keep what I've already purchased. This is where the Xbox division really nailed it with Xbox Live.  Developing friendships online and by embracing online services kept gamers in their ecosystem.
  • This. Ouside of the PC in the enterprise, Windows is dead.
  • If Android is ugly its because you are allowing it to be so. Of the three OS's Android is the most flexible and can be customized to look almost exactly the same as a Windows Phone if that is what you want and with all the MS apps working seamlessly alongside it the OS sits underneath largely hidden from view. If a 51 year old man like me can make my my S6 Edge look almost identical to my Microsoft 950 so can younger people . Sorry Tjalsma but the ugly excuse is a bit weak.   
  • Congratulations on your outstanding cosmetic Android manipulation capabilities.  Admittedly, it's been a while since I've owned the HTC One.  However, even to this day, every single review or picture I see of the OS looks ugly.  Beyond that, if it's so easy to make the OS not look like a garbled mess, maybe it should come out of the box like that.
  • Everyone has a different definition of good looking and bad looking. Judging by the sales, Android OEMs do just fine defining "good looking." 
  • Agree that everyone have different views of looking good or bad, but Android sales are driven by price, not looks.
  • okay go find the top selling android device and care to look up it's price! (S7E and now S8)
  • You are using statistics wrong. The best selling smartphone may be S7/S8 but overall expensive phones ($400+) make up just 10-15% of all android smartphones. The remaining 85% is occupied by cheaper devices.
  • Just to chime in here, Android is capable of running launchers. If you go to the Google Play store and search Windows Phone Launcher, you'll see several options. You can literally make Android homescreen look like your Windows Phone. There are also "replacement" apps like dialers and contacts that can simulate the Windows Phone look and feel. I've use several when I was toying with Android in the past and they aren't bad at all. I've now fully switched to Android, but haven't found the need to go the Tile UI look. But if it's UI you're looking for, the Play store will have it.
  • Just switched last week to Moto G5 plus, downloaded 'Microsoft app' app from the Play store... allows you to easily install all the different MS apps... also recommend 'Android Central'
  • That is the phone I've been checking out. Very nice in hands at Best Buy. Screen is beautiful! Likely going to get the Amazon Moto G5 Plus version with ads and save a few bucks, and I'm a Prime member, so use a lot of services.
  • I've always used Android, with One Drive etc. Since Creators update I can now send/receive sms to/from my pc using Cortana and get reminders etc. Android and Windows do work well together
  • My 950xl is dying. I can't decide if I want the customizable android or the reliable but ugly iPhone. Only thing I'm sure of is Microsoft is making me switch by killing off Windows phone.
  • I'd recommend the iPhone.   It's reliable, and almost always works when you need it to.   Sure, it doesn't have dancing Live Tiles, but honestly most people don't sit and stare at their home screen for hours on end; they live inside the interface of one app or another. Go for the latest and greatest, the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus.
  • Hell no, stay away from iPhone, it's ridiculous limitations will constantly frustrate you, at least they would frustrate me. Any modern smartphone without even basic file management or file sharing over Bluetooth is a joke.
  • Iphones are just like all apple products: they're a lot like a really interesting book with a really fancy cover and impressive title page, but then you find all the pages are glued together 'for your own protection'.  
  • Haha! 'this page is intentionally left blank'
  • Go for an Android phone, put squarehome 2 launcher on it with MS apps and you wont look back.
  • One recommendation is that if you go iPhone, don't get sucked into iPhone software. Take the time to setup outside of their ecosystem in case you ever want to leave.
  • how is it dying??? This comments wreaks of "pity me".
    I've had a 950XL since release and it works well. Performance doesn't degrade like it does on Android or iPhone after a couple years.
  • I'm not sure what you read that said pity me but, random reboot, black screens / won't unlock, and crazy apps crashes every 4 or 5 launches. Tried recovery tool, production and slow and fast rings builds. I've had it since the day they were releases so think it's just has hardware issues. I have never wanted to keep a phone for more then a year anyway. It's time for me to move on. HD7, 8x, Radar 1520, and 950xl. Been a great run.
  • That's just how the creators update is, I'm afraid.  It's ruined my L950.
  • I'm in the same boat sadly...
  • Same reason I sold mine over a year ago with same issues. A joke of a device.
  • Performance is bad.
    The software was ***** on release and now nearly two years on the hardware is *****. At no point has the 950 been better than the competition. I know because I own both Android and WM flagships.
  • Android Pay is head and shoulders above Microsoft Wallet.
  • ...and Samsung Pay is better than them all :)
  • Not having week-view for the calendar in outlook is the biggest thing I miss from my windows phone. There are some third party calendar apps I'm trying out but syncing everything is overly complicated. Also, the MSN apps (sports, news, money) work fine but don't have the dark theme like the Windows phone apps. Beyond that, very happy with the switch.
  • I'm with you about the calendar. There are some decent calendar apps on Android but they only sync with the google calendar, and I've wanted to continue to minimise my google footprint. The Outlook for Android app is the only way I know of linking to the outlook calendar (and contacts) so if anyone knows different I'd love to hear about it. 
  • I made the switch to a Moto G4+ last year, and the experience has been mostly positive. I suffer from a severe and completely unjustifiable case of Googlefobia, so the first thing I did was flash Cyanogen (and subsequently Lineage) to remove as much Google as possible. I wish that Windows Mobile would just meet my needs so that I wouldn't "have to" to go the lengths that I do with android. 
  • The One Plus devices come with Cyanogen out of the box, so that might be a better way to go for your scenario.
  • OnePlus has been using their own version of Android since the OnePlus Two was released in 2015. Only the OnePlus One had Cyanogen. 
  • Oxygen
  • I noticed there are some launchers for Android that try to make it look like Windows. Has anyone tried those and are they any good? Interesting that Microsoft's own launcher does not attempt to do that.
  • They are all terrible in comparison to the W10M start screen.
  • Which is terrible compared to Arrow on Android.
  • Nonsense chancooluk! Squarehome 2 is very good and very flexible. 
  • Use SquareHome. It takes some time to get it set up, but it works exactly like the Windows 10 homescreen. 
  • It actually has some improved tile options. I bought an Asus 8inch tablet (my RT is lacking some apps) after reading about MS tile like launchers, knowing I would have a tile option.
  • I tried Arrow and I tried (and paid for Squarehome 2), but I have found that 10 Launcher is the closest to a Win Phones feel.  I even dropped another 6 bucks for the "live tile" experience, that really gives it a WP user like me a sense of confidence in entering an entirely new ecosystem.
  • Just to add Cortana on Android is far inferior than WM10. For example it doesn't have geonotifications.
    Also when activated as default AI app by holding home button it doesn't jump to microphone, you have to activate the microphone separately.
  • Use Google Assistant. You don't even need to change regional settings and download language packs for it to work out of the box.
  • I told Cortana on my Android to remind of something when I get home and as soon as I was pulling into my driveway, Cortana popped-up and submitted my reminder.
  • Any way to get movies you have bought in store on android?
  • Currently, no. Microsoft would have to release their movies and TV app on Android. Most content providers won't allow users to transfer movies between ecosystems. But if you register your Microsoft and Google accounts with Disney Movies Anywhere, purchases in one library will transfer over to the other. 
  • this is really ******* me off right now. i'm going to have to torrent stuff i bought which is just dumb.
  • Is it possible to comfortably use an Android while living in the Microsoft ecosystem? The marriage between Microsoft and Android would make the Windows 10 Mobile a 1000 times better, since Microsoft own 90% of the Android patents why not use android apps the Windows 10 Mobiles. If you have an Android phone with Microsoft Apps, you'll notice they work better on Android than the Windows 10 Mobile anyway. They need to lay aside they bickering and bring the two together, Call it Windroid, or anything as long as they bring them together, make them interchangeable on devices.
  • Contacts don't get saved on the Outlook ID anymore, on Android. 😔
  • I was just dealing with this too. When I downloaded and set up the Outlook app on my S8, all the contacts synced contacts app fine. However, when I tried to add a new one to my Outlook account using the contacts app, it wouldn't work. If you dive in to the settings of the Outlook app it specifically says that it will sync the contacts to the phone, but you can't add a new to your Outlook account yet. Apparently that functionality is coming. I did some research and found an email client called Nine which apparently does everything the Outlook app does, and includes syncing new contacts to your Outlook account. I haven't tried it yet, because it costs $10, but I'll probably try it soon.
  • Yep, Nine is awesome. You get a two week free trial to try it out. I have added contacts and calendar events with no problem using it and it always shows on the server every time :)
  • U re right, it's a horrible experience to save a contact on an android phone with Microsoft account in board to later find it disappeared
  • I find for Android, the best way to use the Outlook app and sync is to only use Outlook to sync email, but add your Exchange/Outlook.com accounts in the phone Account Settings and sync Contacts, Calendar stuff from there. They end up showing across all relevant areas then including adding contacts in whatever contact/dialer app you use.
  • That's interesting, hadn't thought of that. Will give that a shot too so I don't have to shell out $10 when I'm happy with the email function of the Outlook app. Thanks!
  • That's what I've been doing. It works, but it's stupid that one has to do that. Defeats the point of even using Outlook.
  • yeah android system has accounts and adding it this way is how it can sync your contacts using the SYNC ADAPTER devs know about it! It's entirely MS fault for this hustle cause the APIs are there for devs to leverage!
  • Can you provide a little help for me here? I went in to Outlook and disabled contact sync for my personal email. I then went to the contacts app and saw the Outlook account and contacts were no longer1 there, which was good! So I went through the steps of adding the account from the contacts app. At the end, it said that account had already been added before, but it still showed up in my list of accounts. So I clicked on sync, waited a while, and nothing came in. I restarted the phone, waited some more, still nothing. So I went back in to Outlook and restarted the contact sync, and they started coming back soon after.  Should I wait longer, or is there something else I should do? Should I perhaps remove the accounts from Outlook completely, or uninstall Outlook then add the accounts to contacts before reinstalling? Sorry for the long message, just hope you might be able to help! 
  • I like iOS too, I'm using some (but not all) Windows apps on the iPhone SE, a smart little phone.
  • The SE is the "right" size for a phone, as far as I am concerned.  I hate how stupidly large my L950 is. If Apple updates the SE, I will buy instantly.
  • +1 It really is. I like mine but I will be looking forward to a refresh.
  • There's no indication that one is coming, though, is there?  I think it will turn out to be a one-off.
  • Yeah I haven't heard anything. I guess we will see.
  • I'm glad they make that option for the handful of users like you that like it, but dang, that thing is way to tiny for me. I'm not a fan of the XL phones, but the L950 is just right for me.
  • I think I'd use a different word than “handful” when talking about the SE (hah!) but, in all seriousness, I bet the SE outsold every smartphone ever not made by Apple or Samsung.  Tens of millions…  
  • If you're wanting a windows-phone-like launcher Square home 2 is really cool. I used it when I was switching to Android. I ended up using Nova later, but it works really well and gives a similar experience to live tiles on Windows Phone.
  • Thanks for the thorough write up Zac. Question -- How well does the OneDrive app integrate with the Android's device backup and syncing of settings? With Windows Mobile it backs up my Windows Phone and Windows Mobile Start screen layout and certain settings such as wallpapers etc. Is that consistent with Android without using Google's equivalent of OneDrive (Drive?) Also, is there an equivalent Find My Phone you can use in the Microsoft ecosystem you can use on the Android device?
  • Yes, there is a find my phone feature in Android. You just login to Android Device Manager, and your devices will all appear. You can ring them, see them on a map or remote wipe them.  As for backing things up, most launchers offer a backup solution that will save your configuration to any cloud storage, including OneDrive. For those that don't offer the cloud sync, you can still manually upload the backup file to OneDrive. 
  • There's no "Microsoft" find my phone feature. There's one built into Android though, however it's handled by Google.
  • I am using Windows Phone 8.1 based Lumia 730 as WP8.1 is stable and just not buggy like Windows 10 Mobile.......until I get a good Android phone.
    And no one here in India is ready to buy my phone even for less than half price if the handset.
  • Because for that price, they will get new Android phone with good configuration. Only Windows Mobile fans will buy!
  • I will switch when Microsoft kills Windows Phone officially for now I will rock the last of Windows phone, I misplaced my L650 had to deal with an android phone for two months, needed apps were there, OS was fluid but sometimes gets stuck wen heavily used I guess that's about the power of the phone, but constant advert of apps and other stuff from installed 3rd party apps was nagging and frustrating, saved contacts cannot be found for a reason and cannot sync to my Microsoft account which was a pain in the ass as i get new contacts almost every day from my line of work. Music app is a mess compare to groove. Had to get another L650 back again and continue with it
  • I don't understand what you mean "officially."  It is officially dead.  Or did you miss this: https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/08/microsoft-writes-down-7-6b-of-its-noki... ?
  • That's lumia. Not Windows phone.
  • Great to hear, keeping my Lumia 640 LTE for the summer even if it annoyes me a bit now. But as soon as the Nokia 6 is out in Scandinavia, or I buy one at Ebay, i will in do the jump in the fall, on newest Android as a Microsoft user... <3
  • I wish Microsoft would put out a skin for android that replicates the windows mobile start menu. Or better yet, restart the plan to have android apps run natively on windows phone. Of course that might piss off the two or three remaining winmo app developers but I think that is the price that needs to be paid.
  • Look up SqaureHome 2, it's exactly what you're asking for. 
  • This is actually really quite good. Some of them looked gimiky and had comments complaining of ads but this one looks great. I have a Nextbit Robin laying around to eventually replace my 'dead' Lumia 950 and I now have the homescreen looking exactly like my Lumia 950... photo live tile, widgets as tiles, adjustible sizes, everything. I'm pretty blown away. Thanks for posting this.
  • My thoughts exactly. I think Microsoft should invest their time into their own version of Android which works like W10M. They could do it much better than any third party could. I don't have much experience with SquareHome2 but microsoft could do it better without question.
  • Using my 950XL and still loving it!
  • Everyone i know with a Galaxy goes around with the thing plugged in all freaking day. I dunno if this is everyones experience but it seems that battery life on android is abysmal.   not switching to either - WP or flip phone.  Smart phones are just not that important to pay for something that's not what i really want.
  • Well currently the battery life on my L950 is abysmal... So anything for me at this point would be an improvement. Alcatel idol 4s would probably have great battery life but I just can't handle the lack of apps anymore.
  • Moto z play for you sir
  • Guys Is it possible to setup android or ios on my lumia 950 xl. I know ıt was bizzarre
  • No
  • Thanks bro
  • Thanks for the write-up! Couple of questions. How exactly do you "disable" the Google apps? I haven't seen any specific settings where you do that. Also, I can't figure out how to make an app a default for something unless the phone asks. Like with Cortana, I can't figure out how to make her the default voice assistant when I hold the home button. When I go to apps in the settings menu, then I filter to default, if I click on something there doesn't seem to be an easy way to make an app a default. When I hold down the home button, it automatically brings up the Google assistant and never asked if I wanted it to do something differnt. I've been using the S8 now for a week and it works really well with Microsoft services. The only complaint I have so far is that with Outlook, even though it syncs your contacts to your phone, you can't add a contact from your phone. Seems like a major oversight. Thanks!
  • In order to disable apps, go to Settings->Apps and click on the app you want to disable. Do that for each app. For default apps, go to the same place but tap the gear icon and you'll be able to see your defaults and change them. As for the assistant, not every Android phone allows you to change this, unfortunately.
  • Thanks for the answer, I'll give this a shot. Too bad about the home button thing cause I was playing with an S5 for a while to see if I liked it before I jumped in, and I was happily surprised that I could make Cortana the default.  The default app thing is weird though, cause when i filter to see just the defaults, then click on an app to make it default, it really only shows you what defaults it already has then lets you clear those. There doesn't seem to be a way to specifically choose what defaults you want it to have.  
  • http://www.androidcentral.com/everything-you-wanted-know-about-disabling... For default apps, go to settings, apps, three dot menu at the top, default apps. That will list the default home screen, voice assistant, SMS client, web browser, email client, etc. Default voice assistant is only for phones using Android 7.0 and above. 
  • I don't have the option to select a voice assistant in Settings\Apps\...\Default Apps on my AT&T S8.  What gives?
  • Same here. Only options I have are Browser App, Calling App, Messaging App, Default App Selection, Set As Default, Home Screen, and Device Assistance App. But as Libra89 said above, not all phones allow you to change the assistant. Still not really figuring out how to choose an app as a default without the system asking, though. Thanks to Tom for the explanation of disabling. I was curious why you'd do that, but it makes sense.
  • Go into settings all apps find the Google search app Google Assistant app whatever the name is click it then click the clear default button you are done . now tap home button you have the option to choose and then to make it one of them a default. But generally an Android even if the default is already set everytime time you download a new app that does the same thing as default it tends to clear the default and will ask you to choose the one to go with either one permanently.. this applies to all categories of the apps ie browsers voice assistants launcher video players and so forth and so on
  • If you go to Settings\Apps\...\Default Apps\Device Assistant App, you can change to Cortana.
  • Holy cow, that was it! Thanks so much! As many times as I've  been to that menu it never occurred to me to click on that setting, I don't know why. I really appreciate that. 
  • I love Windows 10 mobile but will be switching to an Android which I really don't want to do (SMH). Will definitely be coming back to Windows when Microsoft release this ultimate mobile device. But I'm waiting for the Nokia 9 to come out in the summer before I make the switch. I'm not a big Samsung fan when it comes to there phones even though they are good phones.
  • Right off the bat, you point out something I absolute despise about Android: It's not the same exerience device to device and you HAVE to go through a bunch of idiotic customization just to make the thing palatable.  That is a NON-STARTER for me.  In fact, that's why I abandoned the older Windows Mobile. Next, it's Live Tiles or nothing, as far as I'm concerned.  App Drawers or whatever is unacceptable.  And the fact that in order to even get near the arena of the Windows phone experience you have to do all sorts of garbage with 3rd party apps, plugins, tweaks, whatever, is also a non-starter.
  • You should check Launcher 8 Pro, it brings your loved tiles to your Android device, regardless of which brand you have.
  • You don't have to do anything, you can use any device right out of the box. You just have the option to customize unlike other operating systems.  SquareHome 2 is an Android launcher with live tiles. 
  • Why should Samsung's phone look and operate exactly like LG's? Why can't Samsung have their own unique experience? Your annoyance is exactly what made Android great. Just look at the effort these manufacturers put into Android compared to Windows Phone. The reason is obvious. Windows Phone benefited no one except Microsoft. Balmer was too cocky thinking he didn't need manufacturers and carriers to be excited with his platform.
  • How does Android handle phone backups? It's very easy to backup and restore on W10M...
  • Usually through Google Drive, which works the same if I'm not mistaken. Just turn backup on and set a time to how often it should back up.
  • Thanks!
  • Backing up which parts? 
  • Thank you. Also wtb Cortana in canada...../sigh
  • I've tried, just using a friends Android, no thanks. Very frustrating. I use Directv. It's like my mother in law calling me up to fix her Dish receiver she has messed up. 
  • Great article Zac. It was a good read to see how you navigated Android. I'm glad that you made the point about having the phone that you choose will influence your experience.
  • Being on Verizon there really weren't many options, I did love my icon though, but I eventually gave the galaxy s6 a shot. I never realized until I switched how much I really used Cortana. Granted she's available on android and ios, but nothing beats Cortana than when she's on Windows Phone. I'm currently rocking a HP Elite X3 and although att sucks donkey nards, I love my phone. I think I will keep being that windows "fan boy" up until there is no other choice available than to switch to either droid or ios, until then though, W10M for me it is.
  • Android on my Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is very nice with Microsoft services, my home button is customized to use Cortana or Bing Search, all the Google services in my phone are disabled, except the Google PlayStore. I don't miss Windows Phone at all.  Besides, apps like OneDrive, OneNote, Word, Excel are really fluid and fast on my Android device. 
  • The problem for me is that you can not create or edit contacts in the Outlook app - I have to do it on the website or on my PC in the People app / Mail app.!!
  • I am interested to hear of those that changed to Android what MS apps you swapped out, I have an iPhone as well as my W10M, and when I go to my iPhone I inevitably revert to Apple Music and regular Apple Mail app cos you can't default Outlook on IOS. The rest of my apps work on either platform cos I learned early on not to become a prisoner to the Apple ecosystem.
  • I didn't change out any apps. I still use all the MS apps on Android. The only app that isn't as good is Cortana. I lost the ability to have Cortana text for me when driving and right now isn't linking my calendar. That was working but appears broke after the last update.
  • Well Android prepare to be invaded by Windows fans. It been a long run for me with windows mobile I love this OS alot but if owners are abandoning it I cant stay, My next phone will be the LG g6 thanks Daniel I thought I will lose my beloved Microsoft services... By the way does Cortana music search work on Android
  • G6 a great choice.
  • Don't you have to pay for the office apps to edit documents? That's a huge blow if so and one reason why I like my Windows Phone.
  • I switched to Android and have been using Outlook, OneDrive, Office, OneNote, MS Authenticator, Cortana, Skype, SwiftKey (MS owned now), HERE Maps (Yes not MS I know), and Firefox (viable alt to Chrome IMO) with great success and ease. NOVA Launcher Prime for customization (Some great icon sets out there to unify the look more and other great features). Would love it if W10M was more mature and supported in the market, but I eventually had to change to do everything I want and need to use a phone for. I'm not a big Google fan (as you can see I use alternatives to most major Google stuff), and using MS services/software has been an easy thing for the most part.
  • My big issue is two fold, the Android OS looks like crap and is useless. The MS launcher doesn't really help. I want a useful active home screen (Live tiles). I have tried a few 3rd party live tile replicators on Android to play with but would have liked a more in depth review on trying to replicate the look and feel of windows mobile on Android. The second issue is hardware features. I use a Lumia 950 I don't want to downgrade hardware, I want hardware that has QI charging, Glance, Tap to wake, Iris or fingerprint reader, a really good HDR camera, removable battery, Micro SD card support, 1440P screen. So on the software side how do I best mimic the look and feel of WM10 and on the hardware side whihc phone could I pick that would be the least downgrade from a Lumia 950?
  • Up until the removable battery, it looked like a Galaxy S7 or 8 could fit the bill.
    It's up to personal opinions and preferences, use what you enjoy and works best.
  • The last time I tried to switch to Android, is was back when Android 2.x was a thing, and my god that experience was terrible.
    I recently set up an Android phone for my mother after switching her from iPhone to Windows about a year ago. She wanted a cheap phone with a larger screen than the iPhone 5, so iPhone 6 wasn't really a good option. I had the same hesitation as Zac about recommending Android. I worked at an AT&T retail store from 2006 - 2011 and was in charge of setting up live demo phones. I always hated Android phones because they seemed to be some of the slowest phones. When I left AT&T, the newest phones were running 2.3 (Gingerbread). It was about a month before 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) was released. I was recently told by an avid Android user that the operating system didn't really get good until version 4.1.   As for actually using the phone within the Microsoft ecosystem, I still haven't figured out a fluid way to use the Outlook Calendar. I know it can be used from within the Outlook app, but can it be used as the default calendar app for Android to show the day's scheduled events (like Windows phones  show on the lock screen)? As a workaround, I created an .ics URL from my mom's Outlook account. I then added that URL as a subscription on her Google calendar online. Then from the phone, I had to turn on syncing for the newly added Outlook calendar within her Google account from the Google Calendar app. She can now view items in her Outlook calendar, but she cannot add items to that calendar as it is read-only.
  • I recently switched to an S8. I'm using the Launcher 10, it is awesome, my Home screen looks and behaves just like my 950. Besides that, now I can use apps that I really needed which were missing from Windows 10 Mobile. I still use the MS apps (Outlook, OneDrive, etc.) on Android. Very happy so far...
  • I had to pause reading and advise to skip Microsoft Authenticator, as I've found there are several applications it doesn't support, Googles authenticator is far superior.
  • Well thats great since i plan on going to android sometime in the future if MS doesn't give us a sign that they want to keep W10M alive. Android has come a long way and fun thing is when MS adds something on W10M you will see it on android in the next update(when you get any xD) but thats good since android starts making settings and handles of apps/notifications like windows and ios, when its finished it will be stronger :/
  • It takes work to make Android look and feel like a WP but it can be done with the right apps and some willingless to do so. Once done the experience is a positive one. Live tiles, an identical layout to an existing WP home screen is easy. If you love your Windows phone stick with it by all means but people that say Android is ugly, there are no live tiles, its unreliable etc are just wrong. I could show you a photo of my 950 and S6 edge side by side and I guarantee you would be amazed at the similarity.  
  • How to set Cortana as default assistant in home button? 
  • Can Cortana control Groove Music on Android?
  • Good article.  Been rocking my Galaxy S8+ for a few weeks now and it works flawlessly with MSFT products and services.  I like you did disable a lot of Google apps. My one question for you though is how did you set Cortana as the default Voice Assistant because for the life of me I can't do it on the Galaxy?   Thanks
  • I would disagree about it working 'flawlessly'... but they work decent.  Can't figure out the Cortana default either... i wonder if they removed that option in Android N?
  • It took me a while to find updated instructions online when setting up an Android phone for my mother this weekend. I was not prompted to select a default assistant when holding the home icon and sliding up (as most websites suggested). That just opened Google Assistant. Follow the instructions at this link to change your default apps. Change the default Assist & Voice Input from Google Assistant to Cortana. http://www.tomsguide.com/us/change-default-apps-in-android,review-3309.html
  • 😇
  • I don't care about home screens, launchers and widgets. The Windows ecosystem I need on a phone is OneNote and Microsoft made it close to usable only on Samsung Galaxy Notes. On Windows Mobile it's total garbage.
  • Huh? OneNote works amazing in W10M (on my 950 XL and my old 640 XL)... works decent on my S7 Edge as well.  The old WP8 version was bad though.
  • It's probably pretty good if you're in the US and you use your Outlook account just for one account or use aliases. In Canada (English or French) you can't get Cortana on Android. The Outlook app on Android doesn't support Connected Accounts, which is not the case on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, the webapp and the Gmail app (!!!). So I'm sticking with Google's ecosystem on my Android phone. When they sort that kind of thing out, I'll go back. 
  • I'm using Arrow Launcher as well and set it up for Vertical Scrolling. If only they can make it even more like the UI of Windows Mobile 10, that would be perfect. The only thing I really missed about Windows Phone is the UI. Give me my tiles please.
  • I've tried the Arrow Launcher and it's not bad, but it's quite clunky I agree.  Nova Launcher is so much better.  I deeply miss the live tiles though.  W10M as a whole has a much better UX and UI, it's much more intuitive and smartly designed.  It's just missing the apps.
  • Just tried SquareHome 2, looks somewhat like W10M but so much uglier. Went back to Arrow Launcer.
    https://goo.gl/photos/TDw53NeUs9mkq9Qw9 https://goo.gl/photos/szaG3owcSx1RKe746
  • Dan you have to disable the system lockscreen so that you don't have to unlock your device twice. #Android101
  • Which leaves the phone without a locking mechanism, which is horribly insecure.  Just don't use a third party lockscreen. 
  • That doesn't work all the time, especially when on a Company Policy.  Also, that disables the native locking mechanism which puts the device at risk.
  • Installing MS apps helps but Android stock apps are so unfriendly towards non-google accounts.  Exchange contacts don't sync properly (profile pics, contact notes, birthdays, new contacts created on the phone do not show up in the Outlook account), full day calendar events (including birthdays in the birthday calendar) show up as spanning two days frequently, notes inside calendar event has formatting issues (line breaks are removed), no way to turn off conversation mode in the mail app (this one's just a terrible design choice), skype/live/linked contacts are completely unpredictable and often missing, etc.  It really makes it look like Google isn't trying to let you use your non-google accounts much.  MS on the other hand has been accommodating support for other accounts great, perhaps being the underdog.
  • All those issues seem to be with Microsoft apps. Why shouldn't Microsoft fix them?
  • Those are not Microsoft's issues... As he wrote, Microsoft has been great with supporting third-party accounts.  Google on the other-hand always forces Google Account down our throats in their stock apps, and some of their apps do provide third-party access (such as Outlook/Exchange accounts), but it doesn't do it well.  Yet in the Microsoft's Outlook app on Android it works well.  
  • No, stock apps have loads of problems with MS products, but fortunately with so many apps in the Play store, there are lots of alternatives that work well with Outlook or apps are made solely to fix these problems (e.g. exchange server contacts not syncing/working before in stock Contact app so there is quite a few apps out there existing just to manually sync the contacts with exchange once in a while).  The only issue with these third party apps is that they don't often look all that well designed.  Email clients, for example, have options and features to suit everyone, but the design looks like an afterthought.   Thaman04: right on.  I also have to use multiple Gmail (free and business) accounts and on W10 and W10M, work without issues.  The Outlook app is also pretty good on Android now, very refined (but it also didn't sync well early on).
  • It wasn't till I discovered the Arrow launcher that I realised exactly what I'd been missing about W10M. Arrow doesn't give you live tiles (though in practice I found slow refresh rates etc made live tiles less useful than they appeared), but it does a great job of putting key and up to date PIM information on or around the primary home screen, as well as using vertical scrolling intelligently. I don't bother with the lock screen because the fingerprint sensor means I barely ever see it. Desktop notifications via Cortana are a nice touch, though I use Pushbullet for SMS sync... it does a far better job than anything Microsoft's managed on any platform since it tried to cram SMS into Skype and I'd say it was indispensible. Wallet's an irrelevance outside the US, but Android Pay is great, and has become the major reason why I'd now struggle to go back to W10M. I really liked W10M but it has to be said that Android is now a much fuller and more rounded smartphone experience.    
  • I agree...I also use Pushbullett and it is great. 
  • Thanks for the article, I'm very sad about leaving WP, but MS is giving us no other choice, they are killing W10M. I wish MS steps up and I will return to the platform, but now is time to leave, which I will do as soon as I get enough money to buy a good Android phone :'(
  • Good writeup.  I have a 950 and am becoming dissatisfied with the experience and the S8 looks pretty nice.   Did you try to use Skype for Business?  I use my phone for business and I need that app.
  • I use Skype for Business on my S7 Edge... the app is faster than the W10M version BUT it disconnects ('cannot connect to Exchange Server') message pops up so many times... which never occurrs on my 950 XL.  It's so annoying.  It seems to have a problem keeping the connection active in the background.
  • I switched to an Honor 8 from my Lumia 640 a few weeks back and life has been mostly good. I've got Arrow Launcher installed, along with Outlook and OneDrive and I've gotten to the point where I think I can access my Microsoft services about as well as on the 640. Based on the update frequency of Microsoft's offerings on Android, it's obvious they take the platform seriously. And in that regard, I feel very comfortable about my switch.
  • MS should take all the ex-Band developers and just dedicate them to making a singular Android app that magically converts any basic Android device into a fully usable Windows-like phone, taking all these tweaks into consideration. Heck even just focus on customizing an S8, maybe then Samsung can slap a Microsoft logo on it. I'd bet this is what everyone expected when the S8-in-MS-Store was announced...
  • happy with my 950, (1 year old) still running like new. don't know why I should leave it??
  • Nobody's telling you to, just personal opinions. Use the product that works best for you and you'll be happy with :)
  • You shouldn't leave it.  If you like it, then keep it :)  I love my 950 XL.... I have a S7 Edge as well, and while it's useful to have more apps, it's not really worth it simply for apps alone.
  • Strangely coincidental - I've been really looking into moving to a OnePlus 3T. Still dithering over whether to buy now or wait for the next model in a few months time, because the 3T looks like a great bit of kit. Great article!
  • Thanks Zac for the article.  You forgot to mention some big annoyances with Android as well: - ZERO Facebook integration (Facebook removed all contact integration with Android - so now you can't view your FB contacts or photos in your Contacts app) - W10M and iOS still allow this. The People app on W10M is much more easier and intuitive as well.
    - Outlook is superior on W10M and iOS - You can't add formatting, tables, etc like you can on W10M. You can't separate mail + calendar notifications in Android's notification platform since it can't distinguish between the two since it's a single app (you can only customize a few certain separation settings in the app itself)
    - Groove Music is MILES better on W10M, it looks so much nicer on W10M and on Android won't let you play music on SD cards!
    - Tons of bloatware that you can't uninstall without rooting (depending on OEM, but Samsung's devices are full of it)
    - The screen doesn't turn on when notifications come in (you'll need a third-party app for this, but again W10M and iOS do this natively)
    - Tons of annoying ads (you may have thought Windows was starting to add some, but on Android it's bloated with it... constantly being asked to review apps, ads in news feeds (that weren't there in W10M), youtube has ads during, overlayed AND under each video (yes all 3 places at once), etc.
    - Cortana works good, but I agree with the other comments that there's too much swiping/tapping to see things that you normally see instantly in W10M.
    - The quick actions in W10M (and maybe iOS) are better and easier to customize than on Android.
    - Widgets are a somewhat ok replacement for live tiles, but they do not always scale nicely, and you can only fit so many on your screen.  Live tiles are definitely better and I miss them a lot.
    - Notification count badges on the icons are not native to the OS (something I desperately miss with live tiles).
    - Android as whole is just ugly... I get that there's lots of customizations and themes, but it still doesn't match the clean, smooth, modern design of Windows.  I especially miss the Dark theme and accent colour that's native to the OS (some apps provide that as an option, but it's annoying having to set it each time... and not many do).
    - Microsoft account is not deeply integrated into the OS... for obvious reasons since they want you to use Google.... but it's still quite annoying.
    - Hardware-wise... I feel the W10M devices more sturdy and professional looking.  I have a S7 Edge, and it's so fragile.. like who in their right mind designs a device covered in glass? (to please the case makers obviously).  My 950 XL has never had a case and has survived many drops without a single scratch. I can tell this device will scratch/crack very easy, so I had to buy a case unfortunately. But if you're wanting to know any positives:
    - I find the notifications faster and more reliable, and like the notification shade.
    - There's tons of apps (but don't expect quality apps... most of the reviews in the play store shows that quality of the apps is going downhill, and don't expect beautiful UI that you are used to on Windows).
    - The OneDrive camera roll sync seems faster.
    - The camera software is definitely superior to Windows Camera (though hardware-wise, the 950XL has a superior camera, which is another reason I still carry both phones around).  I wish there was a phone with 950 XL'x camera with the S7's camera app. Overall, I'm only using the S7 Edge as my daily phone only because of the apps but I carry the 950 XL in my bag everywhere I go because of the camera and Groove and when I miss the beautiful smooth OS.  This will hopefully only be a temporary move for me until things magically turn around.
  • Facebook removed that connector for everyone. It's on their website.
  • If Pixel had wireless charging like my 950xl, I'd jump ship now....
  • You just need to install SquareHome2 and Picturesque locksceen and you'd be all set, plus the Bing app for the ultimate Windows Phone experience.
    My Samsung Galaxy S8+ is currently the baddest windows phone I've ever had.
  • lol...
  • I dont want BING anywhere  
  • can you share a few screens?
  • I need an iphone 5 can anyone help me out
  • It doesn't address my main reason not to have an android device, the security is non existent. Not only do have google( or alphabet ) selling your data( so long as you cannot be personally identified) the app store is full of malware, and even if you scrutinize the permissions of your app installs once Installed the permissions can be upgraded without notification or acknowledgement of the changes. So what? Well some of these search for passwords, network access, VPN connections and other devices on the network, this info can go anywhere including 3rd party companies in China. Feeling great about that android app store now?
  • You are so right friend ! So many guys use android they don't want believe it... You can't do anything for them...
  • Let's think about it a little bit in this day and age have information is everything even stated that they never sell your data some slow heads like yours never understand because there is this is entirely this to your data if they were to sell your data that means they run out of business so they don't sell but MS does.. This info can be read in their privacy statement go figure
  • Microsoft also has an advertisement network that they collect and sell data for.  If an application changes permissions with an update, users specifically have to approve the new permissions. Most apps have moved to the more secure permissions model where they only ask for permissions as they need them, instead of approving everything at install.    The Windows Store has also had cases of malware and shady apps. Also, Android receives monthly security patches. When's the last time Windows Mobile received a security patch?  
  • I have never used an Android personally, IOS was ok but stale, after my 3 Nokia devices there will be a period of Withdrawal
  • How does one sign into the play store with a MSA? you can sign in with a phone number...Zac, please clarify
  • Syncing full contact details from Outlook People to the Android app version is rubbish. Anything contact number in the "company" phone category doesn't appear in the Android version. The technical support people are useless, been unsuccessfully trying do diagnose it for weeks. Never once did they answer the question when I asked them if they were aware of any issues of this nature or had it been raised by anyone else. Just ignored the query and kept telling me to try reinstalling or resetting the app. None of which worked to solve the missing contact details issue. also, syncing is also only a one way process, updates on the phone won't carry back to web/other Outlook versions of contacts/people. Not a bug, admittedly, just a useless feature.
  • yes, my outlook contacts don't sync with android well or at all, you normally have to goto accounts and add your Hotmail,outlook account again to pull contacts in. So now you account is added through outlook and again through the accounts screen.
  • To be honest!!! One of the reason I fall in love with windows mobile was that I couldn't stand with that ugly lagdroid and I gave i change to windows mobile.... Now every day you post articles about how good is android and push all of us to leave the platform and go to android! You know what a big sorry but I can't return to a ugly full of virus (unsafe) OS that gives all my data to Google don't respect me with no gives me updates after one year and spend my money to a flagship that lags and get old after 6 months! If the window 10 mobile killed i would try to afford an iPhone for sure... Sorry but for me its not about devices so much, it's about OS (that's why I buy a Lumia 950 xl) and Apple is way better at this
  • Microsoft should more apps for Android and not iOS. I don't like that Microsoft Garage keeps coming out with apps for iOS only and not Android.
  • Tired of seeing all these Android articles, I come to WINDOWS Central to read about WINDOWS.
  • I think this is actually using Microsoft in an Android ecosystem....
  • Thank you for the insight Zac, if and when time comes and there isn't any offering from MS or its partners, for a great choice of devices, other platforms are definitely worth looking at. Because of the level of customization that is possible with Android, I wouldn't mind waiting for the Nokia 9 that is said to be released at the end of year. I been hearing that, that will be a killer device. Alternatively, if HP brings out the 2nd gen eX3, that also will be worth looking at. Here in Australia, we can now get eX3 from our local carriers, Telstra and Optus on a plan.
  • Thank you for this article. I'm one of those that asked for it when the iPhone one came out.
  • Andriod my be have taken first place as far as the most utilized OS from an internet perspective, but from an enterprise perspective it's still Windows by a mile.  Not to mention the MSFT Office suite of applications.  I could be fine with using Andriod and Google's compliment of applications, yet my job utilizes Windows and the MSFT Office suite, so it helps me to be remain invested in that ecosystem from a professional perspective as well as a personal one.  The other thing you have to look at is Cloud impact. MSFT is only second to Amazon in that space.  Some have already mentioned using One drive still despite being on another ecosystem.  They have families with children that are students.  That is what MSFT is continuing to count on and as long as their profits continue to go up, they will find little reason to change their course completely to the disappointment of some of us hardcore Windows mobile fans.  This next year however, I think we'll see MSFT show they finally realize how important establishing a footprint in the mobile space is.
  • Groove for Android is garbage. Utter garbage. Adding a new contract to your outlook.com contacts is terrible. There is no Movies and TV, no photos app outside of OneDrive. It's really really hard to use Microsoft on Android.
  • I have been using a Samsung Galaxy S7 for a little more than 6 months. I gave up my Lumia 925, which I loved. I had been using windows phones since the Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7. Here is what really matters to me. The work I do on the phone is in the same ecosystem as Windows 10 on my SP4. That is what "cloud first, mobile first" is all about. And I get the added benefit of being able to access all the stupid apps (like the one for my son's little league team) that we need. I applaud MS for not moping around about their market share and getting on Android and iOS the way they did. When it was time to switch, MS already made it easy for me. .
  • Lots of great information in this article and comments. Thanks everyone.  One app I love on W10M is the photos app. I love how my local camera roll integrates with the photos in OneDrive. Has anyone found an Android equivalent? SquareHome 2 has a great looking live tile for local photos but it just takes you to the local gallery with no OneDrive integration. Also, Cortana is very limited from a voice activation perspective on Android, unless I'm doing it wrong. You can ask her something like "send text to Bob" but the conversation ends there. I'd like her to do the prompts like she does on W10M, especially while in the car. For that you seem to be forced to use the Google App/Voice which, so far, is crap compared to Cortana. Anyone have better luck here? Cheers.  
  • I have also made the switch to android but miss my windows OS.
    I cant seem to find how i can change the default email app to outlook. Any one have anu tips?
    I have it set to use my out email adress as default but was hoping i could set the outlook app as default as well.
  • I've been doing this for years. I was there for the Arrow beta.
  • I'll stick with Windows phone until Dona tells me to go to android. But its nice to know about this. thanks!
  • Just preferred to go with Google's offering, which generally speaking are superior (search, maps, photos etc)..but pair it with the SquareHome 2 launcher, which is like a more customizle Live Tile WM10 experience. Best of both Worlds when configured right.
  • Zac did you happen to install SwiftKey as your keyboard or did you stick with the Android keyboard?
  • Word flow typing is one of the things that WinMo does better, even than SwiftKey, in my opinion.  With WinMo, when it interprets a word flow incorrectly, it deletes the entire word when you reject it.  With both SwiftKey and Google's Gboard, you have to backspace out the entire wrong word.  SwiftKey is nice in a number of respects, but that particular behavior is a downer.  One great SwiftKey feature is that you have the option of including positioning arrows on the keyboard to precisely move the pointer to the position in the text that you want - left right up and down.  I use that a lot.  Thus far, I prefer SwiftKey on Android over Gboard and the native keyboard.  If there are others (keyboards are just apps on Android), I haven't tried them yet.
  • Well I got too to get an Android, but nope, sure it has some apps that I would say yeah, thats great. but its not the same, my poor 1520 got the screen broken and even when still works I cant use it on the shamefull condition, so I got borrowed an Android for almost 6 months and finally I´m back home with a 640 XL, yeah its a great diference with 1GB of RAM, but I hope to save a little more to get a High End Windows Phone on the future. Yeah some Android Flamers will take advantage to use my opinion to say thats bad, but nothing they have to say will make me take Android again. It simply is not the same. Glad to be back at Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Damn, that home screen is still boring as hell... 😕😂
  • Widgets, bro. 
  • But I use continuum. I use it a lot. Like 3-6 hours a day. That is no the only reason why I will not switch. Every thing else can be tweaked and fixed on Android so it works the way, or at least almost the way I like it. But Continuum isnt there. DeX is not available to me yet, and after what I have seen it wil not work the way I want it, it cant replace Continuum. I hope Microsoft continues the work on Windows 10 mobile, it is just to good to let die.
  • To Microsoft, I need you to listen and Listen very good coz we as Microsoft OS users cannot stand using Android OS, it is beneath us, we have always been loyal fans, my 1st was the Lumia 820, then 930 & now I'm on the 950XL, what you as Microsoft fail to understand is that even though you think this field is costly for you since the sales numbers were not that good but there are DieHard Microsoft OS
    Fans who will always buy this product. We don't want Android nor do we want IOS. So please this year can there be another device released even if it's just the flagship one, die hard fans want to upgrade and its not easy as the brand is now discontinued. This is not fair to us. So I will be waiting for feedback on this matter.
  • Thank you for the informative article, Zac. Are you, or any of the Android users reading this, concerned about Google's privacy policies? Specifically, the information they collect? Information we get from your use of our services. We collect information about the services that you use and how you use them, like when you watch a video on YouTube, visit a website that uses our advertising services, or view and interact with our ads and content. This information includes: Device information We collect device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number). Google may associate your device identifiers or phone number with your Google Account. Log information When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This includes: details of how you used our service, such as your search queries. telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls. Internet protocol address. device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL. cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account. Location information When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. Isn't Android, as it is delivered as a mobile OS, a "Google service?" I know ATT collects information about my cell phone activity, but they are my service provider. Google has no need for this information. If I've shelled out big bucks for a phone, they've already gotten their cut.
  • Microsoft has the exact same stipulations in their privacy policy, and they collect the same data. They also share it with other companies, which Google does not do. 
  • Correction: "which Google SAYS it does not".
  • Would be nice to discuss further how you can effectively DISABLE all google functionality to the maximum extent. My impression of Android is that it is a terrible ecosystem, but offers the most complete app support. If there was a way to completely disable and uninstall everything except the app store, I would be gladly using it. You say that disabling 99% is feasible, is this true? Care to elaborate?
  • Go to settings/apps and it'll list all of your installed apps, including Google's.  Click on an app, and you'll see a "disable" option.  If you really want to take complete control and get rid of the manufacturer's skin and any and all apps, you can root your phone.  Beware though, that this can void your warranty if that's a concern.  Personally, I don't think rooting is necessary, especially to enjoy the MS services as described in this article.  But if you're an avid tinkerer, you might want to give it a try. 
  • Lol zac cracks me up.
  • I will use my Elite x3 until it falls apart.
    Having dual sim is important for me and I simply like the Windows 10 mobile OS too much. It simply works for me.
    I know that at some point, I'll have to make a switch, but I'll drag it out as long as I possibly can.
  • Anyone know how to set Cortana as the "Voice input" option on Android N? I have her set as the "Assist app" but voice input is still all Google from the keyboard and such. Not sure if this is possible/worth changing.
  • Not possible (yet). Cortana gets registered as assist app but not as voice input app, so it is unavalable under the respective setting.
  • I bought the Pixel XL and I must say that everyday I am missing my 950XL less. I have been a Windows die hard forever since the pocket of days and such. I would brag about windows mobile all the time to everyone I knew and tell how I don't need apps and so on. Now I am in the Android world using apps, Google assistant, and more. I now know what I was missing and it was a lot. I don't know how windows mobile will survive now that I know how the rest of the world lives. It is so nice to have apps for my electronics, car, hotels, airlines, and on and on. I hate to say it, but life is not bad over on the Android side.
  • I've been on Android using MS ecosystem for about a month.  The overall experience is lackluster.  There are plenty things that WP/W10M do more smartly and better than Android, and that makes me sad considering where the overall situation here.....
  • This is a related/great article and introduces SquareHome 2 which might just be the thing that pushed me over the edge to Android. http://www.androidcentral.com/getting-more-microsoft-apps-and-feel-your-...
  • "I didn't disable Google Chrome however, because Chrome is arguably the only good web browser on Android. And Maybe Opera. But I stuck with Chrome." Ghostery and Brave are both better browsers than Chrome on Android. both use Chrome's rendering engine but have built-in ad/privacy blocking that you can turn on.. Ghostery - https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F2F... Brave - https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • Mig biggest complaint with the Next lock screen is that it doesn't include any items off my OUTLOOK calendar, only my gmail calendars. Second is the dual logon to access my phone. Corporate policy requires that I have a pin, and android only recognizes the OS lock screen, so I've diabled the pin on Next. I do still use it as I love having the media controls to pause music on the lock screen. 
  • Why do I even subscribe to this site? Nothing but windows phone bashing and android promoting for the last year. I will never, I repeat. NEVER go to android. It's a garbage, bloated OS with a terrible UI. When you need an 8 core CPU and 4 gigs of ram just to run the operating system smoothly, you know it's a piece of trash.
  • You're uninformed and parroting out of date judgements.  And "nothing but windows phone bashing"?  Not at all.  Like most here, I love the Win10Mo platform, but it's a goner and the site is informing those facing reality that they have alternatives that still allow them to use their MS services. 
  • Stop saying "Microsoft ecosystem". An "ecosystem" implies a living, growing environment.
  • Thanks... its about time for me to start getting used to a new platform. If things persist and MS continues to be a cluster eF, I might even move to a chrome book because Google Home will come into the house and Android Auto in the cars. This will then enable me to start using their apps. 
  • Just curious. Why didn't you go with Google Maps?
  • Not responding as the author, just as a user. Firstly, have to say that i live in Africa, pretty much 'nuff said. Why? Because Google Maps are bloody useless outside First World countries (and apparently just as bad in some first world countries too). Not only is my house not on google maps, neither is my street or neighbourhood... and i live in a major centre! If i want to go on holiday, nope, place doesn't exist. Wait wait, the lodge or B&B IS shown with a pin, but there is no road?!? Yip the town is there with all the shops and restaurants, but how do you get there? And these are major arterial tarred  freeways! Dirt roads, non-existant. 4x4 tracks, where? Offline maps? That's an even worse experience? No, HERE is still the best there is. That would be the backbone of Bing Maps, Maps.me, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Garmin, etc. etc. etc.
  • Read it somewhere a long time ago: iOS: Dictatorship Windows Phone (Windows 10 Mobile): Democracy Android: Anarchy
  • The operative phrase in your post is "a long time ago".  I used to hate Android too, but these days it's an altogether different animal.  Just don't get a $50 cheapy and expect it to perform like a high-end Lumia.  Unlike with iPhone, you don't have to break the bank to get a decent Android phone, even if you're on Verizon.  I use a ZTE Axon 7 which I bought on sale for $329 US (normally it's $399).  Flagship specs (Snapdragon 820, 4gb RAM, 64gb storage, dual sim, NFC, etc.) at half the price and, though it's not officially supported by Verizon, it works flawlessly on their network.  And thus far ZTE has been great at keeping Android current (running Nougat 7.1.1 at the moment). 
  • Excellent article. I'm actually thinking of migrating to a Sony XP1 and knowing that many of my beloved Microsoft apps are easily downloaded and usable is a joy to behold! Thanks very much. Unfortunately, my days with the Microsoft phone have come to an end, probably for the access to apps and usability. 
  • I love how different Android is compared to years ago. Better battery life on most devices, all the apps!!!, Fast, fluid, and plus it packs a punch in features, options of devices, customization, etc. Gotta say so long to windows phone and hello to Android 7.0 and beyond. At least I can still have my windows pc
  • Reciprocity. M$ leave me alone on hanged on the brush. My dependence on its environment, luckily, is perfunctory. My five steps of grief shall be: Denial - passed. Anger - I am just here, now. Bargaining - IOS or Android? Depression - Android f*cks! Acceptance- An IPhone 8 red edition makes me as happier as Pristiq does! Bye, M$!
  • I remeber taking the Windows 3.0 manual to school in the 90s. I've been glued to Microsoft since. Until now. I just smashed the screen on my Lumia 830 and don't want a HP phone. I want a Microsoft or Nokia phone. I just replaced my Lumia with a HTC 10 and I'm so angy that I like it so much. I have all my banking apps, Android pay has already been useful when I forgot my wallet. Now, I'm being sucked in to the Google ecosystem. I've just moved 50GB of photos from OneDrive to Google Photos (I can use the high quality setting and it doesn't eat in to my allocated storage, meaning unlimited photos). It automatically give me access to my photos grouped by date, person or location --  I've rediscovered a lot of images and place I've been. I've also moved all my music from OneDrive to Google Play Music. Google give me space to upload 50,000 tracks without using Drive storage. I'm questioning everything I have with Microsoft now and it makes me feel horrible. I hated Google and Apple. At the moment, Microsoft just annoys me and Google doesn't seem that bad (even if they are looking at all my photos).
  • I'm right there with you. :) 
  • What do you use to read/create texts while in car over Bluetooth?
  • I use Google Assistant.  It's actually better than Cortana at recognizing your voice, IMO.  Simply say "OK Google" and when it responds with a tone, say "text John Doe" or whatever the contact name is of the person you want to text.  It'll say something like "what's the message?".  It'll confirm that you're done before it actually sends the text.  If it converts your words incorrectly, you can tell it to start over.
  • exactly, Windows Phone has failed TWICE
    Microsoft wasnt shy to get into android The Success of Surface Phone lies in
    Windows Phone [with ability to run .apl files natively]
    and
    Microsoft should aslo consider making Windroid [which will indirectly benefit OneCore] Let the fans buy Windows Phone
    let other users try Windroid Phones Its wise to take a dual-series phone strategy there are 10% of people who hate android in Microsoft phones
    there are 90% of people who wants android, apps that 10% android hating people will go insane for sure
    but they have a choice, using Microsoft Surface Phones
    let the users who want android apps, enable it in the settings
    others who want pure 100% windows phone disable it and those who want windroid phones let them get a
    Lumia brand or other OEM brands
  • I'm guessing you mean ".apk" files?  There's no way Google will let this "Windroid" phones download apps from the Google Play store.  You'll be side loading all your apps, which is dangerous from a security perspective, given the lack of app curation done by non-Google app offerings.  But I agree with your implication - that WinMo is dead without apps, no matter how slick a "Surface Phone" turns out to be from a hardware perspective.  To me, the answer is getting an app bridge, either Islandwood or Astoria to be a painless way to port apps for iOS and/or Android developers.  But the Astoria bridge is dead, so it's iOS apps or bust.  UWP?  It can't hurt, but you're not going to see iOS/Android developers flock to another platform that's so different than the one they know. 
  • Is practical and useful, and with Bing wallpaper is wonderful.
  • Hell no stop asking stop trying to brain wash people into getting anything other than windows without any thing from g o o g l evil asses
  • Very smart tomakali
  • To all the "Android is ugly and complicated" well, that is the nice thing about Android. You can make it look and work just the way YOU want it to and not how a company wants it to work for you. Want Tiles - do it.
    Want round/square/no icons - do it.
    Wwant swipe gesture or not - do it. I have a S7 Edge with Nova Launcher (IMHO the best Launcher for Android there is) and a nice icon pack. It is clean and really nice to use. Android - is all about how you want it to look. Just spending a few minutes to setup YOUR experience.
  •   Whoops. Millions of Android phones are wide open to hackers:
    http://mashable.com/2017/04/28/smartphones-hack-android-open-ports-googl...
  • Not to mention cia and nsa....It would cost a lot more for these agencies to hack the less than 1% market W10M...
  • I have my Lumia and a blue.
    Lumia is so much better user experience than any android. And my Lumia it's just a 640LTE
  • You shouldn't pass judgement on "any Android" based on your experience with a single Blu phone, especially if you have one of their low-end "Walmart specials". 
  • I would just recommend Nova launcher if you are going to Android. I tried to use outlook mail 2 times on an android phone and both times it stopped synchronizing.
  • Yeah. Two Microsoft apps that annoy me in the state they are now. First up, Groove. There are a lot of songs that don't seem to download for offline use. It's not copyright stuff, just get an error when trying to download a lot of songs. And they keep error out on my offline playlists. Very annoying and already posted this on uservoice. Next up, Outlook. It's baffling a basic feature like editing or even adding a contact is simply not possible on the Outlook app. Also, contact pictures are not being synced. Oh and the sync is one way, not two way. But I already solved this by using Nine instead of Outlook. Nine absolutely CRUSHES the Outlook app in features and customizability. If you're a Microsoft guy on Android, check out Nine. You can thank me later.
  • How exactly do I disable Android bloatware to allow for any of this? I have to make do with the bare minimum of storage that LG has graced me with, and every bare minimum software update has forced me to delete the apps I wanted to download. I've tried rooting, but cannot seem to crack into it. My phone's warranty has expired, so that's not a concern. An article that details these steps would be most appreciated.
  • How much storage does your phone offer?
  • "If you're a Microsoft users looking to make the switch from Windows phone, I'd say Android is a great choice, assuming you're okay with spending an hour or so setting everything up and customizing stuff the way you like it." What is this? Are you getting paid to try convincing the WIndows Phone users to use Android now? This is really weird, I mean like weird in weird weird. Should we change the website to Android Central now?
  • something smells fishy!
  • Microsoft seem to have abandoned us, so we need a way out. Honestly I can't suggest a windows phone anymore because they are outspected for good now and microsoft isn't giving us anything to wait for. My god I hope they will unveil something next month I just don't want to leave my windows phone :(
  • Um, read the title of the article.  I'm a longtime WinMo user, but face reality - it's simply dead in the consumer space, and the author is filling an obvious need.  Stop being so sensitive, and stop pretending that it's business as usual in WinMo.  It ain't.  If you want to cling to the platform, that's fine for you.  But your criticism of the article is silly fanboism. 
  • zzzzz... My phone works and so do my apps. End of topic.
  • Don't bash him up for this. He is clearly seeing the future and the change in behaviour and usage pattern of people in general and users of this stie in particular. There is another forum on what will happen to windows central is windows phone is dead. Point is that everyone know people are fleeing windows on mobiles and the site has decided, OK lets do something which will be of interested to such people (or those like me sitting on the fence, trying hard to hold on to our windows phones for as long as we possibly can, but still pretty certain that we will have to take that plunge soon). I don't see anything wrong or fishy in this. It is plain and simple 'give your customers what they want/need' philosophy.
  • Personal choice, but I won't go near an Android device. Unlike Microsoft, Google is nowhere near my iPhone, and I like things that way. I may not be able to customise it to the extent I might with an Android phone, but there was plenty to toy with out of the box.
  • Thanks for the article Zac - getting my Moto Z Play on Tuesday and was nervous about the change. Cannot understand the bashing for posting something like this. I used a Lumia 620, 1520 and am currently on a 950, so I was pretty all in on Microsoft system. Sadly, besides Microsoft's failure to attract app developers, I think their failure extended past that. For users outside the US (like myself), the lack of support was telling. Why would I care about Groove and the Microsoft store (not to mention Cortana) if Microsoft never bothered to at least extend these services to me? I would have probably stayed on my 950 (despite quickly diminishing battery life after a year) if I  could have had an integrated, all-encompassing system. I don't really think I missed out on all the apps, but a simple thing like being able to have a Groove music pass and my collection in one app would have meant the world. Now I have to live in two apps to use a streamīng service or listen to a song I own. Ridiculous. If the basic framework had been better, maybe a cheap good phone like a 650 would be an attractive option in the developing world. I guess MS finally did allow one to use Cortana if in an unsupported region, but after how long? Clearly, MS only cares about the US market, so they ended any chance of development from many other places.  
  • You forgot a few downsides that are VERY important to point out: 1) CORTANA - If you don't want to use google maps as your default nav; you are out of luck. Ask cortana to "take me home" and she will open google maps, even if you have set something else (say, HERE) as default. Very annoying 2) GROOVE - Why you didnt mention the fact that it constantly has problems streaming using mobile data (never happened on Windows Phone). If you are using mobile data, groove will play 1 entire song, then play 30 seconds of the next song and stop working. Just stops playing. Doesn't have this problem on Wi-fi. These are the only two problems I have living with MS apps on android. Oh, that and the contact syncing doesnt pull all my profile photos correctly but I think thats a facebook thing. The facebook app on android doesnt sync contacts and while messenger does, it doesnt seem to sync photos. On windows phone it still syncs the photos. 
  • Whether it's possible or not it should not be used. Let Windows be Windows and Android be Android.
  • To get rid of the double lockscreen sign in weirdness, turn the system lock off in settings then go into the Next app and select 'Next screen lock(recommended)'
  • If Microsoft would develop an app for a  lock screen AND a start screen that makes an Android look and feel like a Windows phone, the I'll switch. Third party "Windows" home screen apps for Android just don't cut it TBH.
  • Big blow to Windows integration with Android. Due to security concerns, the Outlook mobile app has been blocked from accessing University of Illinois email and calendars. Security researchers have identified serious issues with a new Outlook mobile app (external link) that is available for both iOS and Android devices. Because this app is storing passwords outside of the University (which is against University policies), the Outlook mobile app has been blocked from connecting to the University of Illinois Exchange service. The Exchange service is what most University of Illinois faculty and staff use for their email and calendar. Customers attempting to use the app will now see a warning: "Your mobile phone is temporarily blocked from accessing content via Exchange ActiveSync because the phone has been quarantined. No action is necessary on your part. Content will automatically be downloaded as soon as access is granted by your administrator." I had to uninstall Outlook for Android. I did not find this issue when I was using Outlook for Windows 10 Phone.
  • The wife and I both just switched. I went Android, she went iPhone. Only because of the app gap. On today's feed from your website, Onstar is giving up on their Windows Phone app. The list of deactivated apps keeps growing. Unfortunate, because I loved my Lumia 950 phone. I now have an Android LG V20, with no worries about any app that's out there. I was willing to give up a few, but, it's getting over the top...
  • I uninstalled Skype from my LG Google Nexus 5X, since no one I know uses it. I love Office Lens -- it's my go-to for scanning receipts, signs and the like.  I don't have to keep as much paper around the house.   I have OneDrive set as the default cloud storage app on my phone, with MFA activated.  All photos taken with my phone are uploaded to OneDrive. I have both Outlook and Gmail on my phone, since I use both accounts for distinct reasons.  I typically only update Outlook with contact information, which prevents an issue, since Google contacts is the default.  I'll need to figure out how to adjust this in a way that doesn't mandate having to duplicate my contacts into both ecosystems. Integrating Microsoft into my Android experience is lovely.  Now, if only I could integrate Android into a Windows Phone experience, that would be something...  
  • I buy oukitel 6000 pro is amazing. And the quality of app better
  • Hi I use a Lumia 950 and love the Windows Mobile OS. Today I bought a Huawei P9, because windows mobile is dead. Fewer and fewer apps are updated more and more apps are dropped and the app gap is becomming more and more noticable to me. So now I have an android phone and after reading this article I thougth "Why not ditch Microsoft completely and go google services all out?" Why should I continue using one drive, outlook, groove? Why don't I show Microsoft what I think of their mobile strategy (or lack of) by choosing their competitor. Does it even make sense to use Microsoft services when using android? all the google services come preinstalled and switching is probably not that difficult. What is your opinion on this?  Are the google services better than competing Microsoft services?
  • I reset my Moto Z Droid to factory defaults, disabled the Google apps, and installed all the Microsoft apps I could find. Problems: 1. Had to re-enable contacts or I had no contacts at all. 2. Contacts don't sync with Outlook, they're syncing with my Hotmail account instead of my work Outlook account.     (I'll try to remove accounts and apps and add work first and then personal Microsoft accounts) 3. Calendar doesn't seem to sync with the Next lock screen, instead it shows my Google calendar I think.     (Same thought as above) 4. Outlook icon doesn't show how many new emails you have unlike my past email app.
  • Hi,  Use Exchange Service and enable on contact Sync Hope it helps
  • When you say Use Exchange Service, where, what app. I'm having the same issue with Contacts not syncing and it's the one thing I really need to work right now.