Over the last few years, we've been used to massive compromises in most smartphone hardware, in all ecosystems and from all manufacturers. Seemingly, in order to shoehorn in aspects X, Y and Z, features A, B and C have to be dropped. Perm any six from 12 features (including Qi charging, replaceable battery, microSD support, Glance screen, and so on), but you can't have all 12. And we now have the Lumia flagships with the full package, leaving no stone unturned in the drive to include everything. And I mean everything. Meaning that successes and failures all come down to the OS and software. Gulp.
The debates have raged over the years, of course. Phone cameras acquired flash units, first LED and then, on some Nokias, Xenon, though the bulk, expense and power requirements of this technology meant that, despite the possible advantages, it never really took off in the phone world. However, 2015 marks the point in the sand where technology is eliminating the need for a flash in a camera phone at all. Soon, the only thing you'll use it for is as a torch to find your way to the car from the pub!
In my editorial introducing Continuum three months ago, I took a few guesses as to what this technology might bring to Windows 10 Mobile and how it would work, but I still wanted to 'notch down the hype' a bit, describing Continuum as a 'niche' product. Below, I open up a bit more and express a few doubts - will Continuum provide enough reason on its own to 'save' Windows 10 Mobile?
File this under data points from the wider smartphone world. We already saw how the likes of the LG G4 managed to best the Lumia 930 (unsurprisingly, given the age of the latter), but with the chance to test the brand spanking new Motorola Moto X Style, with almost identical imaging specs to the Lumia 930, I seized on the chance for another in our series of interactive photo comparisons. How will the Moto X Style, with 2015 sensor but no OIS, match up to the results from the much older Nokia? And where will the bar lie for the upcoming Lumia 950 and 950 XL, also with the same 'nominal' specification?
I have to confess that I've had a particular article 'in progress' for a year or so now and have got nowhere with it. And the topic is one which was raised in my look at the imminent Lumia 950 and 950 XL yesterday - they're down as having replaceable batteries, but does this make ANY difference in the current imperfect world? You can guess where this is going - my abortive article was on sourcing spare batteries for the likes of the Lumia 830, 640 and 640 XL...
Back in July, I attempted this comparison, armed only with a few scraps of information about the upcoming new Lumias. Since then, almost every detail has leaked out, either on purpose or accidentally, depending on who you talk to. Meaning that it's well worth me having another crack at this topic, looking at what the new devices will bring to the table, over and above the existing Lumia 930 (the '2014 flagship', if you will) - which itself will get Windows 10 Mobile within a couple of months (if not before, for those on the Insiders Programme!)
You may remember that I produced a FAQ for Windows 10 Maps back in July, based on an early version of the software? Most of that still holds, but there was a big question mark hanging over the real time traffic elements of the application/service. So I decided to head out into the South of England on a busy Saturday afternoon and see how Windows 10 Maps coped, here on a Lumia 930 running the latest build of everything.
Amidst a barrage of articles looking at the imminent Windows 10 Mobile and its stability (or otherwise), I've also been careful to emphasise numerous times how much more grown up the OS is, in terms of multitasking, email, maps, and so on. It's a clear step up from Windows Phone 8.1 in most cases. And it's time to highlight another way in which the new OS brings in newer, arguably more mature functionality - the humble Weather utility that gets accessed from, for example, Cortana.
In case you've been living under a rock, Windows 10 Mobile is being tested across the board and official updates aren't that far away. Yet the Lumia 1020, the camera-champion and with unique hardware, has already been singled out by both Microsoft and me, the former admitting that the new OS doesn't fully support the device yet, and the latter saying that 1020 owners should avoid the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders Preview for the time being. More on that below, but I also wanted to offer some thoughts on what you can do to help your 1020 feel 'fresh' in a time of great OS upheaval elsewhere.
The Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon all feature the same 'PureView'/'oversampling' camera, of course, with a 20MP sensor oversampled to produce 5MP photos with higher purity, lower noise and so on. At least that was what happened under Lumia Camera under Windows Phone 8.1. Now that the OS and camera application have changed dramatically, is PureView still a 'thing' on the current flagship devices (and presumably on the upcoming 950/950 XL, with similar camera specs)?