Remember: Independent …
I arrived into the office this morning to find that a HTC 8x (Windows Phone 8) had been ordered to replace my HTC HD7 (Windows Phone 7.5). I hated the HD7. It’s my work phone. My personal phone is an iPhone 4 which I’ve had for just over 2 years – I bought it the weekend before the global GA launch of Windows Phone 7 (in Europe). I’ve like my iPhone. I live on podcasts and audiobooks, transmitted to my car stereo via an FM transmitter dongle. As I said, I hate WP 7.x. While the iPhone runs my life, the WP7 handset gets turned off at the end of every workday – that’s the nice thing about what I do … no “on call”
With my iPhone contract expired, I’ve decided to change network and upgrade my phone. Will it be the obvious iPhone 5, the strong Galaxy S III, or a dark horse WP8 handset?
On the network side, I’ve decided to switch to 3 Ireland. They give unlimited data, they have great roaming with the UK (free data – and I’m up North quite a lot), and are cheaper than my plan with Vodafone Ireland (who would force me to “upgrade” to a downgraded plan if I get an upgrade phone). Not to mention that 3 has better data signal nationally.
I hate iTunes 11. If you haven’t upgraded, then don’t. Cling to iTunes v10.x like it was your last breath in a drowning flood. The awful new experience put me in mind to look at the competition.
Every time I look at Android it leaves me confused. I just don’t get it. The screens, the lack of continuity, and the wondering if apps will work at all. Plus Android is a security nightmare. And it’s always going to be last to get support from Microsoft because of the Google thing.
Then there’s Windows Phone 8. I was getting an 8x for work so I could try that before making a decision. The Lumia 920 is a no. Only O2 Ireland will have it. O2 are the most expensive and stingy network in the country. Off-plan, the phone is around €800, and that’s more expensive than a 3G iPad! Hey Elop – I’m still no fan of yours! The Nokia maybe a flagship but so were the Titanic and the Bismarck. The reviews of the Samsung ATIV S are not flattering. The camera and the sound are said to be bad.
Today I got the 8x. After getting a mini SIM I switched over from the HD7 and synced up everything easily. All the social and media apps were installed. Actually not all. I was sure I had an NFL app for Gamepass on the WP7 set but I couldn’t get one for this handset and it’s gone from the Marketplace. Huh! I got a tidal app and sunrise/sunset app for photography. It was all looking good.
And then it came to the most important thing: Podcasts.
I found an app called Podcasts! It could search, but not as well as iTunes, sometimes requiring me to get RSS feed URLs, e.g. the Newstalk 106-108 shows that I listen to. And then I found it required manual download and was limited to 2 shows. By paying I could get over that limit … but no auto-download. I’m sorry, but isn’t the point of Windows Phone that I don’t spend my day with my face pointed at the screen? FAIL!
I asked on Twitter but the only response was a similar experience. That rules Windows Phone out as my personal device, and the 8x becomes a brick that I use for work calls. It might as well be a €24.99 pay-as-you-go candy bar phone from Tesco (like Wallmart). I’m not going to invest time in this WP8 phone because it cannot do what I want most from it.
My search goes on. Odds are, I’ll end up with an iPhone 5 because of how much Android confuses me. That’s a pity, because a decent podcasts app couldn’t be that hard for MSFT to write.
Please contact me if you do find a decent workable solution for getting podcasts working correctly on WP8 that does not include batteries, a duck’s feather, bailing twine and lemon juice.
So it appears that American, and some other, readers might not have a clue what I’m talking about. Apparently podcasts appear in the market place for some privileged folks. In Ireland, we are limited to apps, games, and music in the Marketplace. Until Microsoft gets this regional lockdown stuff then Windows Phone is a saw without a blade to me.
Alan Byrne contacted me on Twitter with a suggestion, and was quickly followed by Thomas Maurer (MVP) with the same idea. There’s an app called PodCatcher that appears to do what I want. I have installed the trial (that failed to install until I rebooted the handset). The trial is limited to 2 subscriptions but it does have episode auto-download functionality. It’s also sensible enough to not want to do large downloads over mobile networking.
As for app availability: The Windows Phone Marketplace not as broad as iOS or Android, not having some of the big names. But the core stuff I want is there. Today is the crunch day. We’ll see what I come home with at lunch time, assuming the local stores have any stock :)
This blog post is the property of Aidan Finn (@joe_elway / http://www.aidanfinn.com) and may not be reused in any manner without prior consent of Aidan Finn. You may quote one paragraph from this blog post if you link to the original blog post.
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