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Do not go straight to Windows 10, do not collect £200, etc. Well, yes, you may be able to try the Insider programme and enjoy an early build of '10', depending on which device you own, but the more stable path seems to be to wait for a new major build of Windows Phone 8.1.... 'Update 2'. Potentially this could involve a matching 'Lumia' package, so maybe my predictions of a 'Lumia Emerald' in the past won't be too far off? Anyway, here's my curated list of what we should expect in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2.
Back in July last year - so about eight months ago, I reviewed the Lumia 930, fresh out of the box, with a few glitches, with Lumia Cyan and in - ahem - bright orange. Quite a bit has changed since that time, both on the device and in the industry as a whole. Plus it's a whole lot cheaper. With all that in mind, using a few bits from the original review where appropriate plus 80% that's brand new, I wanted to re-review the Lumia 930 in March 2015. Yes, it's not perhaps the flagship that Windows Phone needs as a 'hero' device, but it's currently incredible value at just over £300 SIM-free in the UK (for example), around £150 less than when it launched.
So far on All About Windows Phone 'imaging' has all been about the rear-facing cameras on our smartphones, i.e. taking a photo of something. But what about the other camera - the one that points back at you? Now that 'selfies' are officially a thing (though I draw the line at special 'sticks'!), I thought a comparison, in terms of specs at least, of the front-facing cameras on Windows Phone hardware was in order - though it quickly becomes apparent that there's a 'sweet spot', beyond which it really is a case of diminishing returns. There is precisely zero point in a 13MP front facing camera. Really.
At the Microsoft press event at MWC this morning, it announced the Lumia 640 and 640 XL, with 5" and 5.7" 720p screens respectively, though both are firmly in the mid-tier category. Even so, the specs are easily enough for a full Windows 10 experience, when it ships later this year. The Lumia 640 XL will be available this month, with pricing starting at €189, while the Lumia 640 will be available in April, with pricing starting at €139.
Today at MWC, Acer joined the modern (8.1) Windows Phone fray, with the 4"-screened Liquid M220, a strictly budget model expected to retail at 79 Euros. Acer says "It is the right moment for Acer to join the Windows Phone eco-system with its growing popularity and consistency across phone and PC devices.” Quotes and some details below.
Yes, I know that Nokia's market research team told them that bright orange would be well received. But it wasn't in this household. So, despite having an orange 930, I set out to find a replacement back that was black - the colour all good smartphones should be(!) Here's my pictorial tale...
Last covered here back in December 2014, Microsoft's integral OneDrive client has been updated again, with v4.7 available right now and offering advanced text finding, even within photos (thanks to server-side OCR), multiple account support, PIN protection and cross-folder photo albums, and more. In addition, Microsoft has announced a new public API for OneDrive, enabling developers on all platforms to start using the cloud service from within their applications. See below for more.
The idea of overlaying text and graphics onto what your camera sees and then sharing the result isn't new, of course. Only recently, I reviewed InstaWeather Pro, for example. Momento+ is a commercial ($1) application that aims to provide templates for all occasions and certainly has its attractions, even if it's ultimately not as flexible as most users would like.
The idea of grabbing stills from video footage has taken on a new trendiness in recent times with the likes of the Lumia 930 and 1520 able to shoot 4K video and take out useable 8MP JPG photos - shoot a kid or pet or sporting moment and then worrying about the exact frame to use as a still later on, etc. The 830 gets in on the act with 2K video and 2MP stills, but what about the older hardware? It turns out the Lumia 920, 925 and 1020 can match the newer 830, extracting images of similar quality.
Late last week, a stylish new Twitter client was launched for Windows Phone - Aeries. It's in my review list, but I'm waiting for the application to stabilise before delivering a full verdict. In the meantime, though, I caught up with its developer, Brad Stevenson, chatting about his new Twitter app and all things Windows (Phone). See the video below.