Smartphones nowadays are expected to be the swiss army knives of modern devices. They are notebooks and pens, cameras and galleries, they can be used for consumption and production. Yet the concept of using one entirely for production is frowned upon, or at least viewed with derision. Smartphone screens are small, they don’t have full-featured software etc. You’d be better off-waiting for a “Real computer”. Windows Phone gets the bulk of that rap. While other smartphones have over a million apps to make up for their deficiencies, the Windows store has only half a million apps and falls at the niches of some groups. I’m afraid to say that Windows Phone didn’t fail to meet my needs for the past week. I’m a young adult who blogs about tech. My needs include a good word processor, a browser with access to our CMS (content management service) and PIM apps.
Windows Phone has the word-processor aspect down pat, I was able to write a few articles on the go and edit them till they didn’t look like they were written on a phone with the much maligned Office Mobile. The next bit was slightly harder, posting them on the website. You see, our CMS backend is WordPress based and not only is there no WordPress app for Windows Phone, there isn’t a Microsoft Windows Live writer equivalent either and there aren’t any third party apps that can replace that functionality. I therefore had to make use of the web interface.
Now I must ask, have you ever tried to make use of WordPress on a Windows Phone? If you didn’t just reach for a bottle of aspirin you’re quite possibly lying.
My workflow for making posts consists of writing the posts out first, transferring them to the WMPU editing page and then adding pictures and links if necessary. I had to forgo the last two steps on a phone because WordPress is jumpy on IE mobile. Perhaps because I had a 735 and Windows Phone needs a snapdragon 810 to handle WordPress smoothly, but the experience was terrible. I experienced frequent freezes and my phone heated up like an oven. Actually I lied, my oven wasn’t that hot.
On the plus side, I still managed to get more than a few posts out, again, WordPress didn’t help and I’m not sure if the Trident Engine is to blame for that. I’d be interested in trying out Edge to see how well it handles thing.
For research purposes, I find it nice to save things to OneNote and then look at them afterwards, but OneNote Mobile isn’t always reliable (Can’t wait for OneNote W10 hamburger and all) so I used Poki for Pocket and Internet’s explorer’s reading list for research like reading reviews of all recent Windows Phone flagships for this piece and the conveniently timed agenda view for scheduling articles and other things.
Outside of blogging, I didn’t miss much. I mean most of what I do on a computer other than producing content is consuming it. Books, videos, comics – any form of media is fair game. Windows Phone has a lot of apps to cater for brief moments of entertainment from the mediocre Kindle app to the excellent Tubecast app and I daresay there are a lot of worse things you could do rather than watch shorts on Vimeo or Dailymotion.
To end this long ramble. I used Windows Phone alone for a week and I survived. Sure I had to grab painkillers anytime I had to deal with WordPress and using Xbox Music is still a matter of looking away at key points and thinking happy thoughts but the experience was tolerable. Little things that speed up the experience like the “share” buttons, multitasking pane and having key commands located at the bottom all added up. Would I do it again willingly? Probably. Is it still inferior to a traditional computing interface? The answer is like many other answers in life – it depends. While one must always use the right tool for the right job, sometimes a substitute is needed and if that tool happens to be 4.7 inch or 5 inch smartphone, then perhaps that’s the right tool for the job.