Recent Features - Software

Benchmarking the various generations of Lumias...

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I was interested to see the availability, a few days ago, of GFXBench, a cross-platform utility that hammers the processor and graphics systems of smartphones and tablets and then reports back. The core use is to compare devices in the Android and iOS worlds, I suspect, i.e. the mainstream, but with Windows Phone availability, I thought it might be interesting to compare the metrics for some of the various generations of Nokia Lumia that I have lying around...

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Tell me about my photos... Photo utility options

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We all know that the Windows Phone range often has a pretty good camera in its attached hardware - heck, I'm using a Lumia 1020 for this article. But, having taken a good photo and having perhaps shared it and received some comments, a common requirement is to look at the EXIF data, the metadata stored in each JPG taken with a digital camera that describes the settings used by the capturing software. If this sounds like photo-geekery then you're right, feel free to move right along. But if seeing 'inside' your photos seems like a great facility to you then read on....

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Persistent controls/lights when playing media - how has this 'feature' lasted this long?

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This could well be one of the shorter editorials on this site, because it's essentially talking (ok, more like complaining) about one aspect, and one aspect only in Windows Phone. Yet one which drives me bonkers. In fact, I can only think that something inside the OS makes fixing it architecturally impossible, because I've been irked by it for years. Repeat years. And there's still no sign of a fix on the horizon. Will Windows 10 see a change? I'm not holding my breath.

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Twitter clients on Windows Phone for the end of 2014

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Group tests of Twitter clients on any platform are always a little transient on any platform because of Twitter's own (crazy) client token limits, meaning that any third party application that gets really popular effectively gets shut down when it gets to 100,000 users. Such was the fate of several applications on Windows Phone, with Mehdoh and Rowi bowing out for this and other reasons. Begging the question, with a very serviceable first party client for the platform, of whether it's worth going third party at all any more and if so, which application to choose? This is my much updated look at Twitter clients, now with five apps in the mix.

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Fresher, more Finger-friendly and more Foolproof: how Windows Phone SHOULD be marketed

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A few days ago, on another story, one of the comments (from 'deekbee', to give them a name check!) struck a chord, since I'd been thinking along exactly the same lines myself. With the wealth of newly cross-platform Microsoft services, with the 'app gap' still present, it seems, and with apparent reasons to not go with Windows Phone at an all time high, maybe Microsoft and its partners should be centring on the message that the OS is simply better - at least by the metrics in the title above?!

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So... 10 reasons why NOT Windows Phone, and what needs to happen!

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Having set out 10 reasons why someone might want to choose Windows Phone, even in the face of quite a few previous Unique Selling Points becoming less err.... unique, with Microsoft's new cross-platform pushes, I thought it only fair to also identify 10 reasons why Windows Phone might not be a good choice, i.e. current possible showstoppers, though in the spirit of constructive criticism, I do offer possible ways forward.

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Now that Microsoft's apps and services are cross-platform, why choose Windows Phone?

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The question came in Just before our last Insight podcast, and a very pertinent one it was too. Given all the cross platform releases by Microsoft and Nokia's HERE, surely many of the unique selling points of Windows Phone have now been removed - why would anyone now buy a Lumia, for example, rather than an Android or iOS smartphone for the same money? Great question, and it deserves a great answer... Here are 10 reasons why you might still want to go down the Windows Phone route.

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How to save battery, increase responsiveness, by disabling unnecessary background tasks

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In installing a popular Windows Phone application, I was brought to a crashing halt by a worrying error message. Happily, the message was clear enough about what to do and, as it turns out, quite a few of my third party applications had quietly been installed with 'background' capability. Disabling these permissions could result in increased battery life and phone responsiveness.

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The PDF (Acrobat) Reader round-up for Windows Phone

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Something that we all need sooner or later, on any computing platform, is a way of reading through Acrobat (PDF) files. To my knowledge, no mobile OS has ever supplied this by default, though many manufacturers often opt to include a viewer in shipping firmware. For Windows Phone, we're actually spoiled for choice, so I thought I'd round-up your options and proffer some opinions.

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