Smartphones have become an integral part of our life and that’s why we tend to choose our phones carefully. There are a lot of factors that we think about when we want to buy a new smartphone. The design, display, cameras (front and rear), processing power and most importantly the platform and its ecosystem. The platform is the most important detail because that’s what decides your experience, apps and services. So, moving to a new platform can be a hassle, as you are already quite invested in another platform. Well, if you have been thinking of moving to a new platform, we already took the plunge for you.
I have been using a Windows Phone smartphone (Lumia 920) for almost 2 years and although I have had some experience with Android devices, the Lumia has always been my primary smartphone. Well, I had been planning to move to Android for quite some time now and I finally did it. So, if you have been wondering how to move your contacts, files and what alternative apps to use, we have got you covered.
The Reason for Moving to Android
While I loved Windows Phone for the fluid performance, live tiles and Microsoft’s services like Cortana, the app situation is what really made me move to Android. The lack of popular & trending apps is a problem indeed and the quality of apps too leave a lot to be desired. For example, there are official apps for Twitter and Instagram but they haven’t been updated with new features since what seems like an eternity.
The platform is still missing a number of essential apps that we use daily and I’m done living without them. Yes, there are some great third party clients but they don’t cover for the lack of official apps. Another problem is when a trending app or game finally arrives on Windows Phone, they have already lost their appeal. Moreover, Windows Phone had a slew of exclusive Microsoft apps previously but Microsoft has brought all those apps on Android and iOS, so there’s no real incentive for people to stick to Windows Phone. Well, these are strong enough reasons for me to move to Android.
Syncing your Outlook Contacts & Calendar on Android
If you have used a Google account to save your contacts in Windows Phone, there will be no issues when you move to Android but chances are you used a Microsoft (Outlook) account. So, here’s how you can sync your Outlook contacts and calendar on Android:
1. Go to Settings->Accounts.
2. Tap on “Add account“.
3. Select “Exchange“.
4. Enter your Microsoft email address and password.
5. Then, you will be asked to set up your account. Just tick on the options of “Sync contacts” and “Sync calendar“.
6. Your Microsoft account will then sync to your device and you will have your contacts & calendar details on your Android device.
7. If you don’t find your Outlook contacts. Go to Contacts->Contacts to display and select your Exchange Microsoft account.
Transferring your data from Windows Phone to Android
You can easily transfer your data from a Windows Phone device to an Android device through your PC in the conventional drag and drop way but there’s nothing to worry if you don’t have a PC. You can use the third party app SHAREit by Lenovo, which is available on both Windows Phone and Android. Here’s how you can transfer files between Windows Phone and Android through SHAREit:
1. Open the SHAREit app on your Android device and tap “Receive” to receive files from other device.
2. Then, open the SHAREit app on your Windows Phone and tap “Send” to send files.
3. You will need to connect to a WiFi Hotspot created by SHAREit on Windows Phone to send files.
4. Once connected, select the files you want to send and tap send.
5. You will see the other device in the range, just tap the device name and the files will be sent.
6. You can use the same process to send files from Android to Windows Phone.
There’s one more way to transfer files from Windows Phone to Android. Windows Phone comes with OneDrive integration, so if you have some files on the cloud storage service, you can sync your OneDrive account in Android’s OneDrive app to get the files.
While you can move the files from Windows Phone to Android, there’s no way to move app data. So, if you have been wondering on how to move your WhatsApp data from Windows Phone to Android, sadly you can’t. Not only WhatsApp, you can’t transfer any app’s or game’s data, as Windows Phone does not lets users access the app data.
App Alternatives to Use on Android
If you want to stick to Microsoft’s services, you can use Microsoft’s apps on Android but if you are ready to move on, you can give Google’s alternative apps a try:
Google Now for Cortana
Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant, which is powered by Bing is great but Google Now is more informative and smart. Google Now is obviously superior on Android, as it works in sync with all Google services and it’s integrated right in the OS. The latest Android 6.0 update has also brought a new “Google Now on tap” feature, which brings relevant information with just a tap depending on the app you are in. Google Now is certainly one of the killer features of Android and you are going to love it. If you do miss Cortana’s personality and banter, you can try out Cortana’s beta version for Android or you can also check out our list of voice assistants for Android.
Gmail for Outlook
Microsoft has an Outlook app on Android and it’s pretty good but Google’s Gmail app is the more superior of the two. It is fast and pretty simple to use, which does the trick. We simply love the simplicity and performance of the official Gmail app. If you want to try some more email clients, you can check out our list of best email apps for Android.
Google Chrome for Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer on Windows Phone was good but it just did not render some websites correctly. Another issue was it’s not very feature rich with lack of a download manager and more. Yes, Microsoft Edge is on its way with Windows 10 Mobile and if Edge on Windows 10 is any indication, it’ll be some time before we can use it as our primary browser. Google Chrome is the default browser on Android and after using terrible browsers on Windows Phone, it’s a welcome change. Chrome is great but the good thing with Android is, we have a bunch of third party browsers as well.
Google Drive for OneDrive
OneDrive is arguably the better cloud storage service of the two but on Android, Google Drive has the advantage of integration with the apps and OS. So, if you want that, you can use Drive but if you don’t want to move from OneDrive, Microsoft’s OneDrive app on Android is pretty capable. Dropbox also has a great app on Android, so it’s up to you to decide which cloud storage service you really like. There are also a slew of other alternatives like Box, Copy etc.. to choose from.
Google Maps for Here Maps
Both Google Maps and Here Maps are great mapping services and with the arrival of Here Maps on Android recently, Android users have a great alternative. Again, Google’s offering has an advantage that it syncs with other Google services on Android. Here Maps and Google Maps are kind of similar when it comes to features but Here Maps brings offline navigation, which might attract people who don’t really have a consistent internet connection. Other than Google and Here, Android features a number of great mapping apps on the Play Store too, so you have a lot of options.
Google Play Music for Xbox Music
Windows 10 Mobile will bring a new Groove Music app that seems way better than the music app Windows Phone 8.1 currently offers. Frankly, the default music player app on Windows Phone 8.1 is terrible, so moving to Google Play Music is like a breath of fresh air. Google Play Music offers a beautiful interface, smooth operation, better selection of tracks and way superior app experience than Microsoft’s Music offering. Moreover, Android has a slew of great music player apps and music streaming apps you can choose from.
Third party apps
There’s no comparison here, Android third party apps are way superior than their Windows Phone counterparts. If you are moving from Windows Phone to Android, you will so love the quality of apps on Android. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it, all of them are vastly superior than their Windows Phone counterparts. Windows Phone also lacks various new apps and popular apps like Snapchat, Dubsmash etc.. so you will be pleased to finally use them on Android. Plus mostly all major apps are first launched on iOS and Android, so you finally get to use all the new apps.
Things I Miss from Windows Phone
This might surprise a few people but I do miss some things from Windows Phone:
Microsoft is bringing Cortana to Android but it’s still in beta and the Cortana integration on Windows Phone is great. I love Cortana and there are a number of great features it brings. Windows 10 Mobile will make Cortana even better, as it will sync with your Windows 10 PC to bring you missed call alerts and the ability to send texts right from your PC. Along with that Cortana’s ease of use, fluidity and features on Windows Phone are great. Well, hopefully Microsoft can bring an equally featured Cortana on Android some day.
Windows Phone’s keyboard
I have used Android in the past as well and it does have a pretty decent keyboard. There are some good third party keyboards but Windows Phone’s stock keyboard is simply great. The flow typing, auto correction, suggestions and its learning are way better than Android.
Android’s smoothness has been enhanced a lot after Android 5.0 Lollipop’s arrival but Windows Phone has always been known for its fluidity and smoothness. While the Android experience does get sluggy at times, Windows Phone has always been very smooth when it came to most operations.
Double tap to unlock & Glance screen
Some Android smartphones do support the double tap to unlock feature but it’s not a part of Android’s native experience. People who have used this would know how easy it makes to unlock the phone. Yes, the fingerprint scanner is now supported natively by Android but not all devices come with one yet. Then there’s Glance screen, which has also been implemented by certain Android makers like Motorola with Moto Display but it’s not as good as Windows Phone’s Glance feature.
Things I Love on Android
Android brings a lot of great things and its apps are way ahead than what Windows Phone offers. Here are some things I love about Android:
Windows Phone does have Live Tiles that show you information right on the Start screen but it does not bring much functionality. Android’s widgets have always been known for their functionality and widgets are available for almost all your tasks. You can have a widget to show detailed battery, data usage, weather and more.
Android has always been loved for its customization and flexibility and it’s no wonder that people love tinkering with it. You can change the whole look of the OS, thanks to various third party launchers. Then there are icon packs, third party lockscreen apps and more. If you are the tinkering type, you can even install custom ROMs, which bring a lot more functionality and features.
Material Design UI
Windows Phone brought an intuitive interface when it launched but things have become stagnant now and Windows 10 Mobile looks like an Android ROM. On the other hand, Android 5.0 brought the Material Design UI which totally changed the looks of Android and it now looks amazing. The colours, aesthetics and animations look and feel amazing on Android.
Windows Phone’s multitasking interface is good but it’s not very functional. Sometimes the apps just keep loading when you switch from the multitasking UI or there’s the infamous “Resuming…”. There’s no such problem with Android, as apps can choose to run in the background. The apps switch quickly and the new interface looks & works beautifully.
Well, this is quite obvious but I can now finally get hands on with the latest apps that are announced instead of waiting for them. Google’s own apps are great and they brings great functionality along with good looks. Third party apps are equally great and developers make sure their apps are up to date, which makes up for a great experience.
There are quite a lot more features on Android that I love but that’s another story for a whole different day. So, have you been thinking of moving from Windows Phone to Android? If so, let us know your experience in the comments section below.