Need a new business phone? Android and iPhone aren't the only options. Windows Phone isn't as popular or well known as those other mobile operating systems, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a look — especially for business users. The platform has some major perks, including great security and native integration with Microsoft's desktop Office suite.
But making the switch to an unfamiliar mobile platform isn't necessarily easy, especially if there are specific iPhone or Android apps that you depend on. Switching to Windows Phone means adapting your workflow and abandoning trusted services in favor of new ones. Read on for a step-by-step guide to switching from Android or iPhone to Microsoft's mobile platform.
Pick a phone
In some ways, choosing a Windows Phone is much easier than choosing an Android phone. After all, there are far fewer Windows Phone options from which to choose. The current crop of Windows Phone devices is composed mostly of Nokia's Lumia line of smartphones, plus a few devices from Samsung and HTC. That group of phones includes compact budget devices as well as premium phablets with huge displays. No matter what hardware features you want in a smartphone, there's probably a Windows Phone for you. Here are five of the best.
- Nokia Lumia 1520: The Lumia 1520 stands out thanks to its massive 6-inch, 1080p display, which offers enough screen real estate to do real work.
- Samsung ATIV SE: Samsung's ATIV SE might be the best Windows Phone that's not made by Nokia. It features a sharp, roomy, 5-inch display; a fast processor; and long battery life.
- Nokia Lumia 1320: The 6-inch Lumia 1320 has a lot in common with the equally huge Lumia 1520, but it's half the price, making it an enticing choice for business users on a budget.
- Nokia Lumia Icon: The Lumia Icon might be the best overall Windows Phone device, packing speedy performance and tons of features into a 5-inch handset that's just the right size for business users.
- Nokia Lumia 925: The 4.5-inch Lumia 925 is a midrange smartphone with an affordable price, as well as aluminum sides that make it one of the most professional-looking Windows Phone devices.
Transfer your data
What good is a shiny, new Windows Phone if all your important data is stuck on your old phone? Before you can really get down to business, you'll need to find a way to transfer your messages, contacts and calendar items from your old device to your new one. Although there's no single solution to this problem, there are plenty of solid workarounds. Here are a few ways to get your new phone loaded and ready for work.
- Email: Windows Phone natively supports most popular email services, including iCloud, Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Outlook. First, access the Settings menu and tap Email + Accounts. Next, tap Add an Account, and select your service (such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail), and enter your username and password.
- Contacts: There are several ways to transfer your contacts to your new Windows Phone, depending on where your contacts are stored. If you are coming from an iPhone or Android device, your contacts will be synced as soon as you log in to your Apple or Google account. To do that, go to Settings and tap Email + Accounts. Alternatively, you can try the Transfer My Data app, which uses Bluetooth to transfer contacts stored on your old phone's internal memory to your new device.
- Calendar: Windows Phone has a built-in feature to sync your Google or iOS accounts with your new device. Just log in to the correct account on your Windows Phone, and your events and appointments will be transferred automatically.
Google and Apple offer great services for business users, but there's a solid replacement for each one on Windows Phone. Here are some alternatives to cover your basic business needs.
- Cloud storage: For your cloud storage needs, Microsoft's OneDrive is a good alternative to Apple's iCloud and Google Drive.
- Documents: Windows Phone devices have native support for Microsoft Office, which includes fully featured mobile apps for viewing and editing Word documents, presentations and spreadsheets. The mobile apps sync with the desktop Office suite, so it's easy to switch among devices.
- Calendar: The native Windows Phone calendar app has everything you need to plan your schedule and keep track of appointments, as well as construct a to-do list and check off items.
- Email: You don't need to switch your email address — the native email client on Windows Phone supports most popular email services. Microsoft also provides tools to make it easy to switch from Gmail to its own Outlook email platform.
Find the right apps
You need great apps to get the most out of your smartphone. It's true that the Windows Phone platform boasts far fewer apps than Android and iOS, but that doesn't mean it can't meet your needs. Here are five of the platform's best business apps:
- MagikMail Lite (Free)
Dialing in to access your voicemail inbox is a hassle. With visual voicemail, you can view your voicemail messages the same way you view email, and MagikMail Lite might be the best visual voicemail option for Windows Phone users. The app lets you view and manage your entire voicemail archive, see call information at a glance and flag important messages to process them later.
- Splashtop ($4.99)
Splashtop is a remote-desktop app that lets you access your work computer — including all files and programs — right on your smartphone. It's like a direct portal back to your Mac or Windows PC. The app provides quick access to your documents and media library, and it lets you use all desktop programs, including Microsoft Office and Outlook.
- Evernote (Free)
Evernote is a robust note-taking app that lets you dictate or manually enter notes, snap photos, create to-do-lists and more. The app features text identification, which can recognize and index printed — and even handwritten — text. That means you can search for specific words, whether they're in a PDF, a typed memo or a photographed note scrawled on a scrap of paper.
- GoToMeeting (Free)
GoToMeeting is a solid videoconferencing app that lets you host virtual meetings. It features the ability to have up to 25 attendees join remotely from almost any Web-connected device. The service streamlines the process of scheduling a meeting and sending out invitations. Its best features include speaker identification, so you always know who is talking, and screen sharing.
- Argent (Free)
Argent is a good option for Windows Phone users who need to track expenses on the go. The app lets you quickly add individual expenses, and sort them into customizable categories. You can also review your transactions and balance for the day, week or month.