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Build Day 2: Hands on with Hololens

Day two of Microsoft Build conference didn’t have the some WOW factor as yesterday but we learned some important information about the release of Windows 10. We still don’t have an official date but it seems that the Desktop OS is on track for release in the June – July time frame that’s been thrown around for the last few months but it’s clear that it’s going to be a staggered release with Windows 10 for phones coming later. Personally I have never been a fan of Microsoft limited releases as it normally means that people like me in Australia generally have to wait or the launch loses momentum and sales steadily drop off. Maybe this will be different as a strong uptake for the desktop OS could lead to more developers jumping on board with universal apps and especially with yesterdays announcements make Windows 10 Phones more attractive to consumers. We will have to wait and see.

The main feature of the day was definitely the chance for developers to experience HoloLens and gives us their report on the technology away from the light show of the keynote address. So far the reviews I’ve read have been positive about the experience and real world application for HoloLens in the home and more importantly at work or school. The experience of reviewers was heavily controlled but sounds reasonably similar to what we saw in the demos and suggest that the technology might not be ready for market just yet but it should not be too long. Based on the three reviews below the main area that needs work is the initial setup process which required Microsoft staff to measure the distance between the eyes of the user. To get a more in depth look at where HoloLens is follow the links below:

TechRadar

Tom’s Hardware

TechCrunch

There are others out there but after reading a few they start to get a bit repetitive. Considering the similarity of these experiences I’m starting to get excited as both an everyday consumer and a History teacher I see endless possibilities for HoloLens to change the way we live. Stay tuned for tomorrow as I give a final look at Microsoft Build 2015.

Cheers

Jono

Making the Switch: Windows Phone to Android

It’s been a while but I thought my decision to upgrade phones and jump on the Samsung bandwagon would make for a good post. Now, first of all I would like to point out that I have been a happy Windows phone user since I got my HTC Mozart more than 4 years ago and it was with some regret that I found it was time to upgrade my Lumia 920. My decision instead was motivated by hardware and the annoying lack of a new Microsoft flagship with up to date specs. The choice going forward was easy since I have had experience using both iOS and Android, the latters static icons, closed hardware and obsession with adaptors made up my mind.  So lets get down to it my phone is a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge running Android lollipop with the TouchWiz UI so my comments are not based on Google’s stock OS.

Lumia 920 Galaxy S6 Edge

The Good

One of the features that has made my transition easy are Widgets as they act similar to the live tiles available on  Windows Phone with both providing snippets of information for easy, quick consumption. The added bonus on Android is that not only do widgets show information but depending on the application have limited functionality. In conjunction with the improved ecosystem this has been a big win in making the change from Windows phone. Although I have never been obsessed with an endless supply of pointless applications that complete tasks that can already be done using the internet if it had a flash plug in the quality of official and major apps is a big improvement. The other area where I see a massive benefit in usability is Android’s ability to multitask, bring up open applications and close them all at once.

The Bad

My major criticism of Android and iOS has always been the layout of the homescreen into pages with a specific amount of real estate unlike the continuous scrolling Start Screen found on Windows phone. Now I realise that this is being a bit picky but I can’t deal with gaps on the homepage so I end up finding apps and widgets to fill up the left over real estate. Its not just all aesthetics however as I’m missing the inbuilt email client found in Windows phone as it was easy to use and allowed me to pin individual inboxes to the start screen. However, my main criticism is the insane amount of bloatware from Google’s range apps to Samsung’s own concoctions that manage to do the exact same thing. Now I’m not saying that Windows Phone doesn’t come with its own set of apps that can’t be uninstalled but its a much shorter list.

The Verdict

Overall I am content with my decision as I am quickly adapting to using Samsung’s version of Android and the larger range of apps has been good. However, I am not ruling out a return to Windows Phone in the future when Microsoft finally releases some top of the range hardware. I hope this opens some peoples eyes about being willing to change ecosystems in the future as most of the things ways we use our phones aren’t that different and making the jump doesn’t take long if you have an open mind.

Cheers

Jono