My Life on Microsoft: I went to Build 2017, and came away with an Android phone

Kip Kniskern

Galaxy S8+ with Lumia 950 XL

To make a long story short, when I went to Build last week and attended a press pre-briefing extolling the virtues of Windows Timeline, Pick Up Where You Left Off, and the universal Clipboard, that was it. If it wasn’t clear before, Microsoft has moved on, and their focus is now on a two party phone ecosystem. All the mobile talk we heard at Build was Android and iOS, iOS and Android.

Sure, Joe Belfiore said that Microsoft will continue to support Windows Phone, and they will for sure. The 950 XL will continue to be supported, as will other Windows phones, and will even get an updated feature or two. But it’s not the same as having a new phone, running new hardware and the latest apps.

I’m in the fast lane running Windows 10 Insider builds on my PCs, on the cutting edge of computing advancements. Not so much with Windows phone. The 950 XL could barely be classified as a “flagship” device when it was new, and although the Alcatel and HP phones are nice, the latest iOS and Android phones are far nicer.

To be fair, I’ve been itching to upgrade my Lumia 950 XL for quite some time. It’s almost two years old, a bit scratched up, has a wonky USB C port, and well, it’s a Windows Phone, being left in the dust as the world moves on.

Of course it didn’t help that the 950 XL’s battery died, two days in a row, before 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I was left without a working phone for almost half a day (my phone’s USB C port is loose, so it’s almost impossible to use a power stick, even though I carried two). I’m pretty sure that the battery problems were a result of running the phone on the latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider “Feature2” Fast Ring build, as I began noticing battery life issues in the last couple of weeks, but still there I was without a phone.

After seeing a number of my tech press colleagues sporting new phones (including Rich Hay from WinSuperSite, with a Samsung Galaxy S8, and Ed Bott, who brought along his S8+), I kind of snapped, to be honest, and ordered a new Samsung S8+ from ATT, and picked it up on Thursday afternoon.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking you through some of my tips and tricks as a long time Windows Phone guy on Android for the first time (my first “Windows phone” was a T-Mobile Shadow running Windows Mobile 6 and I’ve been on Windows ever since). My first impressions are that moving my Microsoft life from Windows Phone to Android isn’t particularly easy, and I’m finding new appreciation for Windows 10 Mobile as an operating system: I already miss the Settings layout, and while I have my Microsoft mail accounts all set up, it took a while.

But it feels good to have a brand new phone, one with better specs that what I’ve been carrying. It’s fun to “Microsoftify” this bastion of Google and Samsung groupthink, and while the curved bezel screen turns out to be a bit of a gimmick, this is one beautiful phone.

Are you still holding on to Windows phone? Let us know in the comments below