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Having a 'proper' Xenon flash in your smartphone (we're talking Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 here) doesn't necessarily give you better low light shots of people - you have to know how to use the technology to best effect too. After criticism from some quarters about 'missed shots', I thought a 'how to' guide to Xenon might be in order, whichever of Nokia's flagship camera phones you own.
Now we've had a chance to look over the changes in Windows Phone 8.1, and consider them alongside some of the other announcements, there are many areas of business to discuss. One area of interest is the Android vs Windows Phone battle. While Windows Phone is the weaker and smaller partner, the last three months have shown the agility that the "new" Microsoft will have, and that could be enough to destabilise Android and bring some new partners to Microsoft's mobile table.
One question we were keen to see answered with Windows Phone 8.1 (now out in preview form for developers and enthusiasts) was whether the update interval for 'background tasks', the bits of applications which run every so often in the background to do useful stuff like update live tiles, would change from the current 30 minutes in Windows Phone 8.0 to something more frequent. It does seem from our tests that the interval hasn't changed, but fear not for there's more to updating in the background in 8.1 than simple scheduling...
The challenge appears to be a simple one... spin the hexes around to match the colours, clear the level, and proceed through the 100 challenges offered in this 'puzzle adventure'. Is it enough to have a cute puzzle mechanic, or do you need more in a modern game than the Xbox Live branding and some primary colours?
Coming along for the ride with Windows Phone 8.1 (out now in 'preview' mode) is a whole new application from Microsoft - Podcasts. Yes, you've guessed it, yet another podcatching application, except that this time it's from the people who make the OS and it's pretty darned slick. Unfortunately, it's also pretty darned limited, so podcast fans shouldn't uninstall their favourite third party podcatcher just yet. Part review, part feature, here's my assessment of this application that's arriving very soon.
The Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview is now available for download, allowing any interested party to install the latest version of Microsoft's mobile platform onto any existing Windows Phone 8.0 device. Key features of the update include the introduction of Cortana (US only), the arrival of Action Centre (improved notification functionality), and a deeper and richer API set for developers.
Unbelievably, even after my exhaustive round up of podcatchers recently, it seems that there's another candidate to consider - and a potentially good one, too, with Podcast2Go both relatively new and also massively updated recently and taking it (almost) into the top flight of contenders. You'll see what I mean from the UI screenshots when I say that this is more than reminiscent of Pocket Casts (the top Android podcatcher). Emulating the best is clearly a good way to proceed, producing a top notch podcatcher, though UI purists will no doubt tut over the lack of adherence to Windows Phone UI guidelines.
Over the years, I've looked at countless games on Windows Phone. The majority of them are deleted shortly after the review is posted, but many of them stay a week or two longer. Some of them are still on the handset after a few months, and in some cases years. Which games have been able to stay on my handset through deletions, save-finding missions, and hard resets?
In this gallery, we offer a photo-based first look at the Nokia Lumia 930, which was announced at Build 2014 last week. The Windows Phone 8.1 flagship device is a successor to both the Lumia 920 and 925 and has a five inch, 1080p resolution, AMOLED screen and a focus on media capture with a 20-megapixel PureView branded camera with Carl Zeiss optics, LED flash, and quad omnidirectional microphones.
In this gallery, we offer a visual tour of the recently announced Nokia Lumia 630 and Lumia 635, the latest additions to Nokia's mid-range Windows Phone device portfolio. The two devices have an identical external design, but can be distinguished by their cellular specifications. The Lumia 630 is a 3G device, with both single and dual SIM variants, while the Lumia 635 is a 4G device and is only available in a single SIM variant.