Santa was good to me this last Christmas. Not only did I get a Asus Vivo Tab RT but I also got an HTC 8X. I am currently replacing my Galaxy Nexus with the 8X and have been living in the device for a little under a month now.
HTC has done a pretty good job with the hardware. The phone feels not only light but also sturdy — something I have found lacking in many of their other products and my Galaxy Nexus. The screen is certainly not “retina” but is more than adequate. The speakers are again more than adequate.
With good hardware the discussion turns to the device’s software. To start, I like Windows Phone 8 as an operating system — despite its less than impressive name. As a developer, I even like the API (more on that another day) but as a user who knows something about technology, I can’t approve of the app selection or of the quality of the majority of the apps that I’ve tried. To be fair to Microsoft, there is nothing wrong with their software and a lot of the issues I am seeing are the fault of Windows Phone’s third party developer community or, perhaps more accurately, lack thereof.
Since I’ve been using the 8X as my day to day phone, I’ve been able to do most of what I did with my Galaxy Nexus but unfortunately the workflow has not been ideal. The biggest issue is that I have a large dependency on Google Apps, including Gmail, and Windows Phone 8 is not nearly as integrated with Google’s services as Android; to be far that’s to be expected, but the fact that my email has to manually sync every twenty minutes is less than ideal and I feel a bit out of touch with the Windows Phone. Unlike the lack of third party apps, these Google issues are unlikely to be fixed by time due to the fierce competition between Google and Microsoft; yes, I could just switch off of Google Apps and onto Office 365 but that seems like a lot to ask for the sake of a smartphone.
Overall, I like the device and if I weren’t so invested in the Google Apps ecosystem for my work the transition would be easier. Questions? Comments? Find me on Twitter and Google+. This post was brought to you by Code Journal and Fingertip Tech, INC.