Beauty and the geek: Windows Phone 'Mango' vs. Android

Microsoft's mobile OS reboot turns out to be a small update that lacks enterprise security and rich apps but is a cleaner alternative to Google's Android for smartphones

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Android lets you see which apps are running: Long-tap the Home button to see a list of recent apps, any of which you can then tap to open. Windows Phone lets you long-tap the Back button to get thumbnails of all running apps so you can switch among them.

Android uses a home screen to store frequently used apps, and it shows all titles in the alphabetically arranged apps screen. Windows Phone uses a similar technique, with its Start screen acting as a home screen. But "Mango" becomes more difficult to navigate the more apps and tiles you have, as you need to scroll further and further to access them. That's a function of the use of tiles and lists, rather than the small icons in Android. The end result is that Windows Phone becomes harder to use the more apps you install. Neither OS supports app folders to help manage a growing collection of apps.

Both operating systems alert you to app updates and let you download them wirelessly.

Android has long offered a notifications capability. Pop-up notifications make it easy to see if you have new email or other alerts, whatever you happen to be doing, and you can pull up a notification pane to see recent alerts. Windows Phone doesn't provide such notifications; it expects that you'll use the Start screen's tiles to track what's happening.

The winner: Android, but only slightly, given its better selection of more-capable apps.

Windows Phone 7.5 vs. Android 2.3: Web and Internet
Google is a strong force behind HTML5 and other modern browser technologies, so it's no surprise that it offers capable Web browsers. By contrast, Microsoft has lagged the field in support for the new standards. Based on the HTML5 Test site's scores, though, it's clear that "Mango" has made major strides in HTML5 compatibility versus its competitor. But it still trails all other mobile browsers.

HTML5 Test results for mobile and desktop browsers

Mobile OSBrowserHTML5 score
Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" Internet Explorer 9 141
Windows Phone 7 Internet Explorer 7 25
Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" Chrome

184

Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" Chrome 222
iOS 5.0 Safari 296
iOS 4.3 Safari 217
BlackBerry OS 7 BlackBerry Browser 230
BlackBerry Tablet OS (QNX) BlackBerry Browser 257
WebOS 3.0 HP Web 229
WebOS 2.1 (Palm smartphones)

Browser

155
Desktop OSBrowserHTML5 score
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Windows 7 Chrome 14.0.835.202 340
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Windows 7 Firefox 7.01 313
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Windows 7 Safari 5.1 293
Windows 7 Internet Explorer 9 141
Windows 8 preview Internet Explorer 10 preview 300
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