I’ve had my Nokia Lumia 920 for seven years, and it’s getting old. My device runs on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system; it has 1GB of Ram and a hard drive large enough to accommodate my needs (29GB). Right now, though, it seems a good time to consider the alternatives of a Windows, Android, or Apple operating system (OS for short).
First, let’s consider purchasing an updated Nokia with the Windows 10 OS.
The Windows 10 Mobile OS runs primarily on Nokia, but also on some devices from LG Corporation and HP Inc. The selling point for Windows 10 Mobile is that it has attempted to synchronize perfectly with the Windows 10 desktop OS, so all applications that run on a Windows desktop will also run on mobile; this is considered a universal app.
The problem, however, is that mobile-application development isn’t Microsoft’s strength, and because the Windows Mobile OS is such a small percentage of the market, most independent developers focus on Android and Apple. Windows 10 Mobile is therefore less exciting than other products — although as a Windows user, my phone still functions well as a generalist device, even though there are fewer applications and fewer product redeployments.
Apple’s iPhone 7 has been released — and without the standard headphone jack, giving more room in the phone case for battery and other performance-boosting features. The device was released in line with Apple’s two-year development cycle. The iPhone 7 is designed to be egalitarian from the outside, with only a few jacks and speakers, giving the phone a sleek design. It comes with the iOS 10 version of the phone operating system; it’s great to have consistent performance and development upgrades to accompany your phone.
If you’re a complete Apple user, utilizing Apple ID and Apple Pay, then it makes complete sense to own an iPhone 7. But personally I would not buy the i7, because of the $800-or-more price tag.
Android isn’t a Mac or a PC — it’s made by Google, and it runs on Linux. Android 7.1, 7.0 and 6.0 are the currently available operating systems. They run on a huge variety of hardware products, which range in price from $300 to $900 depending on the manufacturer and specifications.
For $285 you can get a Huawei Honor 5X (from Amazon.com); it comes with a Kirin 655, 2.1 GHz CPU and is all around a great phone for the price. On the high end, for $769 there is the Google Pixel XL (Verizon). With 2,560-by-1,440 resolution and a 2.15 GHz CPU, you get a larger screen and a longer battery life. This phone comes with the Android 7.1 “Nougat” OS.
The Nougat OS is a Google creation; it’s available on the Pixel and will be on other phones soon, such as ZTE, LG, Sony, OnePlus, and Moto Z products. Nougat is customizable and intuitive; it has features such as a split screen and a great Gmail app, and in fact, the huge development circle for Android means that there are thousands of apps.
A great new app called Hangouts synchronizes text, voice and video, so any text or call can become a video chat instantaneously.
The greatest feature of many Android phones is that they are completely “unlocked,” so you can just switch your SIM card and you’re good to go: get a new phone with your current provider, and you’re not obligated to upgrade according to any schedule.
When it’s time to retire my Nokia 920 from yesteryear, I will be looking for an unlocked Android with a Nougat OS on the cheaper end of the price range. I can keep my carrier and simply switch my SIM card.
As a final note, I did not research the Samsung Galaxy S7, because the last time I flew on Southwest Airlines, they banned taking the phone onboard because of the potential for a battery fire — you had to mail your phone by ground to your destination!
By Philip Orr
Philip Orr is enrolled in an IT senior seminar course at SMCC, and plans to go into business IT.