It's fair to say that voice control of Windows Phone has been somewhat underplayed by everyone over the last couple of years. Partly that's because it's been some way behind the state of the art in terms of Google Now and Apple's Siri, but that era is hopefully about to end when Cortana arrives in Windows Phone 8.1. But, with that still months away from our devices, it might be worth getting yourself into the habit of talking to your smartphone in the meantime. What exactly can you say/do on Windows Phone right now?
Recent Features - Software
I can offer no explanation for why the official Flickr client for Windows Phone has been allowed to languish in an almost unusable state [I blame Yahoo, Flickr's owner]. I can however explain how to use the popular 2flicka client to both browse Groups and then upload your own photos to them. In other words, you can fully contribute content to Flickr groups from your smartphone.
The world as it was back in 2006 or so. Symbian ruled the still fledgling smartphone world with over 50% market share. Windows Mobile had itself a niche, and Blackberry was still growing into an accepted smartphone platform. And all three allowed third party applications to multitask, to do what they liked in the background. This, it seems was one of the core tenets of what made a smartphone ‘smart’. Yet today, iOS and Windows Phone present a different and - much as it pains me to admit it - a better model for the 99% of humanity that has no interest in learning about RAM, GHz and background task management.
Podcatchers aren't the only app genre on Windows Phone that has seen a lot of competition - sound recording utilities is another genre that's worth taking a slice across. What follows isn't necessarily (yet) definitive, but I've tried to pick all the most likely candidates - so start with these. Whether you want to record your band, your voice or your baby, there's something for you below.
What on earth is a Sozoom, I hear you ask? It's a third party (commercial) application that beautifully, and I mean beautifully shows up the underlying detail in the photos from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020, by blowing up to 1:1 in the viewfinder/on the screen a tiny portion of the full resolution (typically 16MP or 34MP) version of a photo. I've featured Sozooms before, for example here, plus I last covered the Sozoom application here, but it occurred to me to give some advice to 1520/1020 owners looking to create a really effective Sozoom image.
This is part 2 of my updated, comprehensive look at no less than fifteen 'podcatchers' for Windows Phone, i.e. ways to discover, download and enjoy podcasts using nothing more than your humble smartphone, i.e. no desktop needed. Split into two for reasons of length (the entire feature is over 7000 words!), part 1 covered the first nine podcatching applications, here's the next six, plus an overall verdict.
Podcatching, as you'll probably know, is the act of grabbing podcasts directly, over the air, on your smartphone. Automatically, seamlessly and without needing a desktop or any direct manual intervention. And then sorting them, playing them back in sensible fashion, working around interruptions, and cleaning up afterwards. It's a tall order for an application, yet we have no less than FIFTEEN likely contenders here for Windows Phone 8, all of which I've put through their paces. The first nine in this, part 1 of the feature, and the remaining six, plus a verdict, in part 2 of the feature here.
Nokia has made a lot of the RAW (DNG) support in Nokia Camera on the Lumia 1520 and 1020 - and for some people this may indeed be exciting news. But there's a potential sting in the tail if you're not careful, at least in terms of working with the shareable images on the phones themselves, and I'd repeat my caution to only turn on the 'DNG (34MP)' mode if you a) know what you're doing and b) you don't plan to do much with your images on the device.
In this feature, we offer you a comprehensive, in depth guide to the additions and improvements that are arriving on Windows Phone 8 thanks to the advent of the Microsoft Update 3 and Nokia Lumia Black software updates. Both Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and Lumia Black updates have started rolling out, but are not yet available for all devices. The majority of Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to receive the update before the end of February.
The subject here is Store bloat. And it's something which I've been ranting about now for four years, on various sites. Yet the people in charge of the main smartphone app stores haven't learned. In fact, if anything, they're getting worse.... at letting in 'apps' which mainly serve to dilute the world's overall impression of that particular OS and ecosystem. Here are three questions that the QA employees concerned should be asking themselves before hitting the 'approve' button.