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 TWELVE likely contenders here for Windows Phone 8, all of which I've put through their paces. Note that this is a major update of a previous feature on AAWP - with new versions of many (and two completely new) applications.
Recent Features - Software
In the screen section of our Nokia Lumia 1520 review we noted in passing that Microsoft has, in the Windows Phone 8 Update 3 release, changed the way some of the apps apps are displayed on devices with large screens. The most obvious example is the addition of an extra column of Live Tile on the Start screen, but there are a number of other more subtle change too, as demonstrated in this video-based feature article.
It's all very well shooting 5 or 8 megapixel photos on your Windows Phone, but don't assume that all the pixels are making it online when you share your photos or send them on to others. In fact, your photos are almost certainly being dramatically shrunk - I do a little investigating and offer some tips below. Why settle for second best?
Apple's famous mini-slogan "It just works" is well known to all and, on the whole, it's true, with the company having complete control of the hardware, software and accessories, so there's little left to chance. Turning to Windows Phone 8 and using it as something of a power user, I'm reminded of the slogan but have to confess that I'm tempted to amend it to "It almost works"...
Please accept this generic rant across the All About sites, but the subject matter applies to all platforms to various degrees. In-app purchasing or, more specifically, in-game purchasing is the current fad in game development and it's time enough people took a stand and said 'No'. And not just writing editorials and blog posts on the subject but actively boycotting such titles and recommending alternatives that rely on the traditional 'buy it once' model. Does it sound like I'm over-reacting? Maybe - it depends on exactly who's playing the games on your phone(s)?
The journey to podcatching nirvana on Windows Phone has been long and hard, as anyone reading my series of podcatcher round-ups may realise. The goal is to have a podcast application auto-check feeds and auto-download new episodes, whether the application is on the phone screen or not. This may sound easy enough, but with Windows Phone's heavy restrictions on multitasking, it turns out to be very hard.
The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.
I wrote, a while ago, about possible showstoppers for people moving from Symbian to Android or Windows Phone, but a lot has happened in the intervening months, not least the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 1020, offering a more or less direct equivalent to the camera-centric flagships in Nokia's previous Symbian world. What I wanted to explore here was each aspect of smartphone functionality, from the point of view of matching what each generation did - and does. The overall picture may surprise you, though (as usual) there are a few caveats along the way.
I've already written that Nokia Smart Cam is my default camera application on Windows Phone 8. Or rather it was - and only for shots in bright light, outdoors. Not unexpectedly, Nokia Smart Cam's burst system, with very short exposures, leads to disastrous results indoors and in dim light. Leading me to explore the exact trade-offs in quality under different conditions for the three main camera applications supplied on Nokia's Windows Phone - when should you use the Microsoft-written default application and when should you opt for nothing less than Nokia Pro Camera?
Sometimes one has to turn to the community for help - and this might end up being just such a case. It's not often that I get completely stumped, but I've been pulling my hair out in recent weeks and it's time to both report and ask for input from 'All About' readers. You see, it's a question of data. Secure data. Data that's, worryingly, somewhat siloed on Symbian, a platform that I like but which is nearing end of life... My goal was to migrate to Windows Phone, but I've hit a brick wall.