Recent Features

Loading... Resuming... Splash! But it's hopefully going to get better very fast

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Yes, 8.1 and Cyan are a big leap forwards for this platform, but it has to be said that there's one aspect of Windows Phone that continues to annoy and frustrate just about everyone. The title probably gives the game away - having your user experience ruined by continual loading and resuming messages, interspersed by animated dots.... Happily, things are about to get a lot better, real fast, as I explain below.

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The importance of the Lumia 1020's Xenon flash - in daylight!

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It's a fair cop - I've written quite a bit over the years on why Xenon flash is a must in a camera phone, for evening and night time people shots, freezing motion and stopping typical low light blur. But there's more to a great Xenon flash in a phone camera. What about in daylight? Yes, really - 'fill in flash' is a technique used by professional photographers, yet something that's largely out of reach of people using phone cameras. Unless you have a Nokia Lumia 1020 and that all-important Xenon....

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Tough questions: Microsoft, Nokia, Windows Phone, Symbian, Meego and more

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As part of a continuing series of features taking a good long look at the state of mobile, and aiming to be as brutally honest as possible, here I use my experience in the mobile industry to tackle the really tough 'what if' questions that have probably been in your brain for the last three or four years, as 'All About' readers. Hopefully my answers will provoke debate in Disqus below, too - why not get involved?

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Head to head: Nokia Lumia 930 and 'HTC One (M8) for Windows'

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Available today on Verizon Wireless in the USA is the new and somewhat cumbersomely named 'HTC One (M8) for Windows', with the glimpse of availability on other carriers and in other countries in the near future. If nothing else, this release offers some new competition to the giant in the Windows Phone world, Nokia - now effectively Microsoft itself. With specs across the board both pretty high, how does HTC's new Windows Phone entry stack up against the similarly sized and priced Nokia's mid 2014 Lumia 930?

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Everything you need is now... built-in. On Windows Phone

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It all started when I was browsing through lists of 'new' applications in the AAWP app store - there was so much rubbish, so much duplication of what we already have programmed by Microsoft and built-in on our Lumia Cyan/WP 8.1 smartphones - and then it hit me that a good number of users may not know about everything that's available for free from the OS maker? Microsoft's 'Bing' suite of applications (and yes, the name's thankfully getting deprecated these days), for example, are now remarkably good, yet some still have to be installed by the user....

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How to: Control focus in a Nokia Lumia in order to take faster and better low light photos

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I've heard it said that Nokia's monster camera phone, the Lumia 1020, is "rubbish in low light because it doesn't focus fast enough". I disagree - what's happening here, and equally applicable to every other Windows Phone camera, is that there's not enough understanding by users on how camera phones focus in the first place. Which is why I thought a 'how to' article might be appropriate. Turns out that focussing can be happily controlled after all...

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Enrolling on the DP track again? What's in 'Windows Phone 8.1 Update'

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Variously referred to with a '1' on the end (or not), the official Developer Preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (I'm using the numeral, as it's less confusing!) is now available and I thought a summary of what's in it would be appropriate. Along with my (admittedly marginal) deliberation that this is a smaller update than the original 8.1/Cyan step upwards, and that enrolling on the DP track might not, on balance, this time, be worth it?

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Charted: Windows Phone 8.1 official/Lumia Cyan has best battery efficiency

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I've been tracking the standby battery drain from Windows Phone for the last six months, from version 8.0 of the OS through to the official Windows Phone 8.1 release with Lumia Cyan, here on my Lumia 1020. Now, being a scientist by trade, I'm appalled by the number of caveats involved in producing the chart below, but the result is still very clear - the official release of Windows Phone 8.1 is (by far) the most battery friendly one yet. [updated]

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The year old Lumia 1020 gets Cyan update officially, outguns the 930?

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Stop press: the editorial Lumia 1020 now has the official Lumia Cyan update over-the-air from Microsoft, bringing this year old device bang up to date in terms of OS and core software. Making it rather appropriate, in the light of some criticism of Nokia's latest and greatest, the Lumia 930, to compare the two devices and wonder if the older device now holds its own or even surpasses the new flagship. Controversial, moi?

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