Windows Phone: Round 2

When Samsung put out the Focus Flash in November of last year, I jumped on it. I was excited to try out the Windows Phone OS and while I still miss the real keyboard that I used to have on my Blackberry Curve, I’ve adjusted.

Form factor is a big deal for me when it comes to a mobile device.  While I don’t always type with one hand, I like to have the option so I can reply to text messages and make calls while holding a coffee or walking my dog.  Since my company primarily uses AT&T for mobile phones, the Samsung Focus Flash was the smallest device available, mirroring the form factor of the iPhone and I can work the keyboard without too much issue one-handed. I loved it.

I honestly love the Windows Phone OS. Everyone who asks, I tell them that killer features is the People Hub. No need to remember if your loved one sent you an email or a text with that valuable tidbit you need to reference – it’s all there in the history.

Feeling the pressure of the firehose of data coming at you via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Worry no more… create some groups for your key people so you don’t miss the highlights and peruse the other postings later.  It’s wonderful.

I was pretty sure I had landed the perfect combination of phone OS and phone hardware for my needs.  And then the crashing started.

Turns out lots of people with the Focus Flash were experience the “SMS of Death” issue. Attributed to the proximity sensor or some other such nonsense, random text messages would lock up the device entirely, requiring a battery pull to reset the phone.  I read a lot of the forums regarding the issue, but when push came to shove, it just seemed to be an issue with this particular phone and there wasn’t a good solution.

I lived with it for a while. The Windows Phone rebooted so quickly that the battery pull wasn’t a big deal in the beginning.  Sometimes I could read enough of the txt to not have to bug the sender to repeat themselves. And then it got annoying. And tedious.

So I started looking for other Windows Phone options. And they are all huge.  Sure I’d love a Lumia 900 or an HTC Titan or whatever. But they just seem too big. So I managed – the pros of Windows Phone still outweighted the trouble with the Focus Flash.

Then quietly, I notice that you couldn’t buy new Focus Flash phones anymore. Instead of directly addressing the issue, it seems Samsung just decided to stop making the phone.  In mid-May they started offering the Focus 2, which is a bit of a combination of the original Focus and the Focus Flash.  The form factor is still small, just a bit bigger than the Flash and more rounded.  And white. Very white.

So I jumped again this week. I figured I’d road test it at TechEd. At best, I’d have a solid phone that didn’t crash.  At worst, I’d have a phone that wasn’t any better or worse than the previous one. Stay tuned.

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