My Life as a Windows Phone PariahWhen it comes to my cellphone, a Windows Phone 7, I’m a man without a country. I’m fairly emotional about it and well, maybe I shouldn’t be. However, when I take a look at it from a fairly illustrated viewpoint, I start to wonder just where I rest in the battle for the best phone operating system. I know what you’re thinking and it’s probably something like “How can you take something silly like a phone and turn it into warfare?” And yeah, this is going to go deep but…

Watch me.

In this current technological climate, you have the two camps and they’re feverish and determined to gain ground against the other. They’re pitted in battle as the contenders who will break through the gates and not only destroy the other camp, but bring any supporters along with them on the death march through the cities. Every single year brings another release, another campaign, that readies the troops with their forged weapons of beta code and leaked documents that just ends up as a deep, bloodied wound that leaves puddled expectations and promises at our feet.

(Oh, I told you this was going to go deep. Stay with me.)

Then you see the camera in my brain pan away toward the most delicate little coastal island, covered in white sands and barefoot beauties as they cart vases of water from the well to their homes. It’s a quiet existence and, once in a while, a small fishing boat will make its anchor at the docks and tell the locals of the war being waged over in the cities on the mainland. While this tiny island doesn’t have the bright lights and zooming interfaces of those other cities, it does have one thing: peace. It never felt it was ever going to be a faction in the war and they were oh-so-pleased with the soft quiet of basic, day-to-day function. As this island felt, it wasn’t trying to change the world — just trying to find a place for its citizens where they were appreciated for utter simplicity. Sure, they never get support from those factions that hold onto the stalwart values and code of ethics that the Mainlanders have, but they’re at WAR! Absolute war! Who wants that?

So, that’s how I feel about being a supporter of Windows Phone 7.

About three or so years ago, you couldn’t keep a cellphone in my hands. I just didn’t care about them whatsoever. I was one of those people who could be asked for their cell number and just shrug and chuckle with a faint glint of freedom twinkling in their eyes. When I actually bought my first cellphone in years, it had no mainstream operating system at all. I could text easily and people could reach me. I started thinking that I wanted to check Facebook and Twitter, maybe even my email, and that’s when it all went downhill quickly.

I used every single operating system on the market in order to find just which one matched the kind of user I was. As a console gamer and moonlighting PC gamer, I didn’t need my phone to be my source of video games. I’m a music-loving amateur photographer who has a pretty intense relationship with social media and that, my friends, is the only thing I use my phone for. Yet, I was always hearing my buddies telling me of the new game they picked up, their latest social media app, productivity tool, or whatever else. They were using their phones as these tiny computers that they carted around in their pockets, capable of not just communication, but running their lives.

You know whose phone isn’t trying to run their life? Mine. Windows Phone 7 gets such a bad rap because it doesn’t have the kind of community and app support that iPhone and Android get, but maybe it’s because we’re not looking for it. When I went to the AT&T store to get my LG Quantum, I looked at it for the first time and I fell in love completely because here it was, a phone that finally didn’t want to be smarter than me. It wasn’t trying to be the replacement to my computer, the extra limb that I never knew I needed, or anything else that I couldn’t be without. No, my phone was simply looking up at me and saying “Live your life; I’m here if you need me,” as only a Windows Phone can. Enhance, don’t cripple.

My Life as a Windows Phone PariahI admit that the clean, fresh aesthetics are what drew me in and the fact that it wasn’t a busy mash-up of buttons, applications, and possibility. No, my phone just said to me: “Here are some colorful tiles and you can reach everything you need to get to. We have big blocks, sharp fonts, and you can sync everything up beautifully with your computer.” and I was sold. (The previews for Windows Phone 8 have me even more giddy to see how they will give me more freedom with the tile screen, like LEGO for my cellphone.) Sure, my friends would scoff at the fact that I was using something that was the most barebones OS of the smartphone market — but it did every single thing I wanted it to and it has fast become one of my favorite pieces of technology.

So why the constant battle? I never understood why people would pit their phone OS against anyone else’s but maybe it’s the same consistent battle between PC and Mac. People just want to fight, don’t they? I use my phone as a connection to the world if they need me, or a source of quiet entertainment when I’m away from my consoles — it doesn’t need to run my universe. Instead of just nodding and patting me on the back for feeling free from that kind of attachment, most would turn their nose up at my Windows Phone, say something snarky, and then shove their Android/iPhone in my face.

“But can it do THIS?”

No, you’re right. My phone wasn’t built to be a replacement to my computer. But I also take pride in the fact that I don’t have a mobile device that thinks I’m not capable of making it through a whole day without it.

Do you think you’re one of the elitists out there who will go to war, mace in hand, to defend your phone’s OS, or are you a supporter of leaving processing speed and graphical interfaces to the computers we use?