Tuesday, December 24, 2019

End of Another Era…

This post is not in the context of manga but technology. More specifically, it is about the end of support for the Windows phones/mobiles.

Now, most of the insane people didn’t bother with WinPhones but even most of the sane ones started moving on to other phones like Android since MS announced the plans, or rather, no plans to continue with WinPhones a couple of years ago. Since the WinPhone support was supposed to end in December this year (now it ends mid-Jan next year?), we decided to move on too in the last quarter of this year. We got a couple of Nokia’s Android Phones (1 & 7.2). Well, we wanted some familiarity with our past WinPhones. But that’s where it all ends. In the last couple of months, we have been begrudgingly using these phones because we do not feel like looking at the dead screens of AndPhones. WinPhones had live screens! Even when there was nothing to look at, it was fun to look at the dynamic screen full of Live Tiles… one could just flick the screen up and down fluently, an interaction well-worth-it and then move on. It felt like something was accomplished. AndPhones’ screens are just dumb to look at and even when I’m reading an important email or news item, it feels like a waste of time. More so with the uninspiring home screen, which feels underwhelming to look at with all those static uniformly shaped icons. There’s nothing that says: hey pick up the phone, some pleasant screen time here…

My Superpartner has lot more quibbles with the keyboard. She feels that the WinPhone keyboard was way ahead with predicting emojis and not just the text! (She’s the one on WhatsApp and WeChat so needs all those typing features.) Swiftkey is supposed to be a good substitute in AndPhones but nope, doesn’t feel right. There’s random lag while swiping and longer words are just not as accurate as WinPhone’s keyboard was. Did I say predictions are also not as good?

My frustration with Android reached another level when I tried to make a minimal working version (MWV) of AcBook for my Superpartner’s AndPhone. Because she doesn’t have enough time to run the full-fledged version of AcBook on SP4 on a regular basis, she wanted something light-weight on mobile for daily usage. Now, I thought it would be nice to consider a cross-platform solution which runs on both Windows 10 (forget WinPhones already, man!) and Android. I downloaded Visual Studio 2019 and started browsing through some Xamarin tutorials. After a few months of copying and pasting codes from such tutorials and StackOverflow, I did succeed in making a MWV of AcBook (as mentioned here) but oh boy, is Android primitive! It doesn’t even have an automatic splash screen creator… Seriously, after all these years, a splash screen has to be coded explicitly by a programmer as an “activity”, which is supposed to be a single usable screen of the app where a user does something! What the hell? Even MathWorks provided that functionality when they realized their users were actually making standalone programs and their MCR (MATLAB Compiler Runtime) took a helluva long time to start such programs (even in 2019!). They revamped their compilers to generate splash screens without the programmers having to worry about it (and stop people from ripping their clients off). And guess what? UWP apps on Win10 have automatic splash screens generated too!

The frustration continues with the realization that Android also doesn’t have a system-wide save file dialog. Or if it does, they don’t want me to know about it… so what the hell again! There is no universal dark theme even for the 1st party apps including Settings… Are these guys serious? How the hell is this OS the most widely used mobile OS in the world? All because of the deluge of “dum-bass” people wanting “apps” to do a single “activity” on a “smartphone”!

Anyway, so long WinPhones… esp. our Nokia 735 and 950XL. We’ll miss you!

Screens of our WinPhones

Back of our WinPhones

Even after resetting these phones to the point that the screen is as bland as it could be, it looks refreshing. Way more inviting than our current AndPhones’ screens!

Nokia AndPhones

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