GDR3 vs KitKat - A Tale of Two Updates

by Ed Sparks

There's hope for Windows Phone.

A tiny hope, at least. 

We've recently been testing a couple of Windows Phones including the HTC 8X, and the surprising little $99 wonder called the Nokia Lumia 520.

While initial impressions were a mixed bag, the recent update to what Microsoft ridiculously calls "GDR3" has brought a new lease on life to the device.  Incidentally, when WHEN will this company fire their naming strategy people?

GDR3 improves the multitasking substantially by making it much clearer how to kills apps, and updating the still overly-complex and confusing "back stack" to be more consistent with other platforms.  Even more impressively, it dramatically speeds up the OS's performance.  Coupled with the arrival of, or big updates to, a number of necessary big-name apps like Instagram, Facebook, etc. it's an incredibly capable device that works exceptionally well for user's in a Microsoft environment.  Again - this was bought and paid for with NO contract - for under $99!

It's definitely worth checking out, and a great stepping stone to the flagship Lumia models.   

Windows Phone has been somewhat of a behind-the-times also-ran since it's inception, but with these recent updates, and finally a decent app story, 2014 could very well prove to be the year it solidly comes into it's own.  The "Threshold" release of Windows and Windows Phone is next.  Fingers crossed.


On the flip side, the recent Android update to 4.4 (Kit Kat) has proven nothing short of train wreck across multiple devices.  Google's outward hostility to Microsoft and their users showed up again with a completely broken ActiveSync client, and the entire OS - despite promising even more 'buttery smooth' UI - seems laggy, slow and buggy.

The gains Android has made against iOS in fit and finish and apps has been nothing short of incredible, but the recent leaps by iOS 7 and Windows Phone show this race is far from over, and Google's definitely getting a bit high on it's perch.  I'd say the personnel changes taking place on the Android team, including the loss of the founder, are showing. 

There are cracks in the Android juggernaut yet.