First Person: Lenora Owens, 6th grader

First Person: Lenora Owens, 6th grader

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Lenora Owens—a bright 12-year-old with sassy blue streaks in her brown hair— was a kid on the go, zipping from dance class to horseback riding lessons to her church youth group. There was just one element of her life that wasn’t so speedy.Lenora Owens, age 12, shows off her new Samsung Focus Flash

“I had a really stupid flip phone,” she sighs. “Every time I wanted to send a text, I had to go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, okay, got it.” Lenora knew what she needed: a smartphone. The problem? Her parents didn’t seem to know it.


It took a few months of lobbying, but on Christmas Lenora woke to find a toy phone in her stocking—the signal that she was getting her wish. Her parents, Sean and Teresa, then gave her a choice: she could have an iPhone like her mom’s or a Windows Phone like her dad’s. After carefully weighing pros and cons, she chose a Samsung Focus Flash and never looked back.

Why did you choose a Windows Phone?

I really wanted to have music on my phone, and I don’t like my mom’s music. My favorites are Taylor Swift, Cody Simpson, and Sara Bareilles. With an iPhone, I would have had to buy it all on iTunes. With a Windows Phone, I could use a Zune subscription and get all the music I wanted.

What’s your favorite thing about your phone?

The music, and I listen to podcasts on the bus. I really like How to do Everything, Planet Money, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. And I like games—my favorites are Falling Man and Words by Post.

What are your favorite apps?

I like to change my background practically every day, and Backgrounds Wallpaper has more than 10,000, with abstract art and all kinds of things. I used Tunafish to find guitar tabs for my favorite Taylor Swift song. I am using Freda, which is an app for Project Gutenberg, to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream right now. And Service Bell—I just tap it and tap it and tap it.

How does your phone help you with school and life?

I use the app when I’m doing homework on the bus. My mom sometimes texts me to tell me that she’s picking me up, so I run to the bus, check my phone, then run backwards to the pick-up zone. And my friends text me for boy advice.

Has your phone ever saved your butt?

Yeah! One time I took the wrong bus. I hopped on the school bus before mine, then I missed my bus and had to text my dad. And some days I’ll check my calendar to see if I am going to my grandma’s—my mom will text me and say, “Check your phone.”

If you could add a feature to Windows Phone, what would it be?

I would add a way to get Java onto it, because I like online games. Or, when I’m at school I have to have the volume off, so I would like a way to have an alarm come on automatically after school, even if I forget to turn the volume back on.

What would you tell a friend who’s thinking about getting a Windows Phone?

I would say if you have an Xbox, get a Windows Phone because you’ll love that. You can use it with your Xbox LIVE account. But I had to change the gamertag, because at first it was my dad’s, and I was friending my friends and they were saying “Who’s this weird guy ‘Sean O’?”

And sadly, I can’t get blue streaks for my avatar’s hair.

Related: How to control access to apps on your kid’s Windows Phone

Our occasional First Person series spotlights real people and their Windows Phones. Know someone interesting whose Windows Phone plays a key role in their job, business, research, or hobby? Shoot us an email and let us know! –Ed.

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  • Someone commented on the age for a smartphone. At this point in time to me it  makes sense to only get a smartphone. Considering you are on a family talk plan with family text plan as well all you are paying extra for is monthly data. Are you really going to sign a two year contract to get a free feature phone when WP7 can be had for

    close to the same cost?

  • I have a Nokia Lumia 800 on the Next G Network with Telstra (Australian telecommunications company) and I love it! I love the ease of using it - it's my first ever smartphone and my first ever Windows Phone too! I was contemplating going to the iPhone 4GS but am now lucky I did not as I would have never forgiven myself for not trying the Nokia!

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I'm going to get an iPhone when my contract is up.  Half that crap she talked about you can do on any smartphone (send and recieve texts, sync music) except for the Zune Pass and XBL which really doesn't add anything to the experience really worth mentioning.

    There are too many quirks in the OS and I hate the way almost all apps waste 15-25% of my screen real estate on banners like the Official Facebook app and some of the Hubs.  Also dislike the phone app opening up to history instead of the dealer, like really?  Also no smart dialing so actually using my phone as a phone takes more time on WP7 than on even a feature phone.

    Lots of work to be done, but I can't deal with it and I cannot wait until my contract is out.  Oh, and I also haven't been able to send picture MMS for months now (nevermind video, that hasn't been implemented despite even dumb phones having that capability).

    I barely use my Windows Phone.  I got free tethering from T-Mobile so I use my iTouch for all the "smart phone things" and only use my Windows phone to make and recieve the few calls I actually make and recieve, and text message.

    Even the WLM client is broken and doesn't work right if you move between different form factors on a regular basis (Desktop to Mobile and between different mobile devices).

    SO disappointed.  It could have been awesome, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

  • I think it's a good article.

    For many years I used Android, and have now bought the Omnia 7th

    Many things in this article describing the benefits of Windows Mobile 7, I can confirm.

    However, there are some small but significant restrictions for me.

    The Facebook integration is to be well thought out, however, the chat feature often connectivity problems. A corresponding messenger app like Android or IOS does not exist.

    Also, I use IM + or WhatsApp often. Unfortunately, the app starts again each time when I try to access it.

    True multitasking at this point would be a real benefit.

    Another major drawback in my opinion, is the integrity in the Windows or Microsoft's own ecosystem.

    The integration and implementation of my Xbox Live account is very commendable and truly unique in this form.

    Why does my Xbox the Windows Mobile does not operate as a mass storage device or Zune?

    That was a big reason to buy for me, unfortunately I have not sufficiently well informed in advance.

    Now I'm thinking because of the criticisms on the development of Windows Phone to be seen again or switch to Android.

  • @Carymom: Love the story. Thanks for sharing!

  • Carymom
    1 Posts

    My 9 year old has one because she is practically more mature than me, and she takes wonderful care of all of her things. Her little sister, on the other hand, may not get a smartphone until she's 30 at the rate she's going. My 9 year old uses hers to read ebooks from the library and on the kindle app, she plays some games on it when shes on the bus, music and netflix are used pretty frequently and she's waiting anxiously for the audible app so she can resume listening to her favorite books. She also uses and a few other apps for math practice. Oh, and she texts her father and I to see if friends can come over after school. We are a Windows phone familiy! My husband has one of each OS for his job and the Windows phone is his favorite by far.

  • And, @Rodney, it takes some digging to find "real people" to interview. If you know someone with a good Windows Phone story, let us know via the "Email the editor" link on the right side of the page!

  • Thanks, everyone, for the comments. @Tony, I'm with Mike -- this is a kid who uses her phone to read Shakespeare! The right age for a particular device is always worth discussing, but I really liked seeing the way Lenora used her Windows Phone.

  • Just this morning, one of my facebook friends who has been an extremely vocal, even rabid iphone fangirl, was complaining about the sorry state of the iOS facebook app.  

    I can't even tell you the joy, the release of pent-up need for revenge, as I commented that with WP7 you don't even NEED the "official" app because it's baked in to the OS!!

    Best part, she didn't engage in a flame war.  She even liked my comment.  The start of her conversion story??  :)

  • abm
    268 Posts

    @ChrisLynch, exactly! The news about Xbox integration was auspicious in pre-RTM era of WP (2010). But now I miss 4x (strategy) games in my WP *Big Miss*! A friend of mine irritates me when he start honing his S2 and playing Little Empire... all I got is to show him Kinectimals! 4x strategy genre is the reason some people love video games... & WP marketplace lack *Empire games!!

  • @ Juliette... How are you finding these articles?

  • I honestly don't care for Metro on a Desktop, but these Windows Phones make me want Windows 8 for the integration and consistency. Weird I know...

  • Lenora pretty much summed it up. The iPhone is for old people,, sorry Teresa.. Lol! And she obviously has to much class for some random Android device.. Cool article, and I love these real world post.. Can we get some more?? And, Lenora, those are amazing ideas! The great thing is that these guys at Microsoft really listen to our suggestions, and try to implement them one way or another. So, keep your fingers crossed!

  • @Chris, James, sunco, Tony: Thanks for your comments!

    Personally, I loved Juliette's profile and the glimpse it offers into the mind of a modern 12-year-old. If my kid is into NPR at age 12, I'll be pretty psyched! She also turned me onto an app (Freda) and podcast (How to Do Everything) I hadn't known about before. So thanks Lenora!

  • To each his or her own. I would not ever tell someone what to do with their children. I will say I think 12 is a little young for a smartphone. A simple dumbphone? Sure. But that's just me. However, I guess if you are gonna get your kid a smartphone, you can't go wrong with a WP

  • sunco
    26 Posts

    The automatic volumeoff/on is easy but also a Windows Phone limitation. I was thinking few weeks ago on it, and the GPS limited developers to check every 15 minutes as a background agent.. i was thinking on a 5 minutes limit with pone owner permission. I also whant to mute the sound when i'm on certain locations and then turn on when not. When ask to co-worker, he tells me that in fact he uses that on his Symbian.. He changes the volume, wallpaper and uses the internal wifi at work automatically.. and when home the App changes everything he set

    So, it can be, is only a Windows Phone limitation

  • I choose Windows Phone for the compatibility with Windows and the beautiful Metro UI. My next upgrade is in April, and I am very serious about getting a Lumia 900. I must decide between that or a Galaxy Nexus. Tough decisions!

  • Nice article!  Java is never coming to Windows Phone.  It would be too resource intensive, and would completely break the development model.  But that doesn't mean companies like EA or Zenga shouldn't be making games for Windows Phone.  Windows Phone certainly needs those kinds of apps.  Ones that are available on iOS and Android to help those chose Windows Phone.  They're going to ask "hey, I play XYZ game with my friend who has an iPhone, does Windows Phone have that game so I could play with them?" Let's Draw Something is the hottest one right now, even though there are competing apps that do exist for Windows Phone (Duudle comes to mind.)