I’m usually a fan of Windows products. I’m not technically-minded enough to go to the trouble of installing and using an open source OS e.g. Linux or Ubuntu and I’m not silly enough to think I can justify spending £800 on a Mac Book when I can get a refurbished laptop running Windows, with similar specs for a third of that price.
A couple of years ago I finally got myself a smart phone and opted for a Nokia Lumia 625 running Windows 8. This has served me reasonably well, apart from the ridiculous situation when I pulled my phone out of my pocket one day to read the dreaded error message “Your Phone has been locked. Try again in 700140 minutes” which required hours of trawling the web to find a fix; a fix involved manually resetting the phone and losing ALL the data stored on it: photos, videos, music etc… Anyway, as Virgin Media have helpfully reminded me EVERY DAY for the last 2 weeks, I’m soon due an upgrade and, having considered the options I’ve decided to ditch the Windows phone and switch to a phone running Android. The main reason for this is the poor quality of apps designed for Windows phones in comparison to the same apps on Android and IOS. In particular, the much heralded BBC radio iplayer app.
As a music obsessive, I was delighted to hear that the BBC had finally introduced a version of the iplayer radio app for Windows phones, I also heard that the app would feature a download function, making it possible access downloaded shows in their entirety without having to be connected to the web. As I understand it, the file is downloaded to your device temporarily and deleted by the app after 30 days.
So it was with great excitement that I downloaded this app to my Windows phone only to be met with a clunky looking, awkward to navigate interface. There is no obvious way of adding favorites, meaning I was having to search the whole BBC archive for a particular show/presenter every time I used the app. When I’d managed to locate the show I wanted the download feature was nowhere to be found. It turns out that this function is simply not available on Windows phones and, although I found this fairly irritating, I thought I’d give the app a chance a try listening to catch-up shows by streaming them. My experience was one of huge frustration; having cued up the right show and got my headphones on I started working (painting a bedroom) only to find the audio would repeatedly cut out for minutes at time causing me to have to restart the whole stream. I experienced this same thing over and over again, each time with a fast and reliable wi-fi connection, leading me to the conclude that the fault lay with the app.
Then, last week, I decided to try the same app out on my partner’s Sony phone (running Android) and there was simply no comparison!On an Android device, the app’s interface looks fantastic, it’s fast, responsive and YES it includes the download feature I’d been so keen to try out.
Once a show is downloaded, the play/pause interface is extremely user friendly, allowing you to skip forward/back 20 secs or drag a slider clockwise/anti-clockwise to the point in the show you want and, because the show has been downloaded, there is no buffering whatsoever…bliss!
In short, it’s an absolute pleasure to use this app on an Android device and I’m sure that the same could be said for it’s performance on an iphone. So for this reason and several others (a particular favourite being: ‘Your Device doesn’t support media playback’) I’ll be happily saying goodbye to my Windows phone for good and hopefully enjoying hours of fantastic music at my own convenience.