Microsoft's big reveal this week for the next generation of Xbox console, the Xbox One, was bereft of any news on the future of the Xbox Live ecosystem on Windows Phone handsets. That's to be expected - the focus was on establishing the Xbox One as the default device in living rooms around the world. But what can we expect to see happen between your Windows Phone and the Xbox One?
Time for something approaching heresy on AAWP. I've been using an Android handset for the last two weeks. It sat in the right hand pocket of my waistcoat, while a Windows Phone 8 handset sat in my left hand pocket. Was there a 'winning' handset out of the two? Far from it, the two weeks showed that Windows Phone is right up there in terms of capability with the leading Android handsets.
Well, at least that's one mystery 'solved' in Windows Phone. And sorry if it sounds obvious, but it's something that had been bothering me for months, so thanks to the folk at reddit for stumbling over the issue as well. You see, having taken a photo with a Windows Phone, it's tempting to look at the snap on the phone and multi-touch zoom in and.... it's all rather blurry and underwhelming. Happily, it seems that this is simply a result of Windows Phone's attempts to keep performance high and isn't a reflection on the quality of the actual photo.
Now I know what you're going to ask: "What's the point? If you're at home then you can use a real TV or a desktop/laptop, and if you're mobile then you probably don't want hours of mobile TV swallowing up your cellular bandwidth!" All very true, but say you're mobile, some breaking news is happening and you're frustrated that all you can see are headlines and textual reports. Wouldn't it be nice to see what's going on by tapping into a live TV stream? With, admittedly, a UK focus, I investigate a few options. I'm sure readers from around the world can chip in with links to solutions for Windows Phone that work in other regions?
Yesterday, during the launch event for the Lumia 925, Nokia briefly mentioned the forthcoming arrival of the Lumia Amber software update for existing Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices. What exactly will be in this manufacturer-specific update? In this feature we break down the details of what you can expect to see.
In fact, ignore the title, because I've included no less than five top camera-toting smartphones in this group test. In addition to the big three, the Nokia 808 PureView (still reckoned to be champion by most people), the Nokia Lumia 920 (the flagship Windows Phone until tomorrow!) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (brand new and top-rated), I also wanted to include the 2010 Nokia N8, since its sensor's megapixel count and performance should be a close match for the SGS4, plus last year's Galaxy S III, so we can see how much of a difference Samsung have made in terms of their camera tech. Let the fight rage!
Now, I've been eulogising about 'proper' flashes in smartphone cameras since the Nokia N82, back in 2007. And by 'proper', I mean a Xenon flash, just as you'd find in a standalone camera. The Sony Ericsson Satio and Nokia N8 and then 808, all running Symbian, kept the rant alive, but elsewhere Xenon flash has been almost non-existent. Yet now we have rumours of new Nokia Lumias, running Windows Phone 8 and (allegedly) having Xenon bulbs, along with (also rumoured) Sony's upcoming 'Honami' handset and Samsung's Galaxy S4 'Zoom'. In short, 2013 is (probably) about to become the year that Xenon flash finally makes the journey from Symbian into Windows Phone 8 and mainstream Android.
The screen is one of the single most important components in any smartphone, so in this video feature we offer a comparison of the screens, and their related technology, of all the globally available Nokia Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8. It's fair to say that how good a screen is largely depends on the price point of the device, but there are some important caveats to this rule in the Lumia line up, and some subjective factors that potential purchasers need to consider, all of which are covered in this in-depth video.
I've done a lot of smartphone camera shootouts over the last five years on All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone, each revolving around taking the same shot with a number of different test units and then (at some point) cropping in to look at pixel-level detail. And each time I get called out for doing this: "Real users don't crop in to the level where they can see pixels". Here's my defence, aided by some rather nice example photos from a mystery device...
Why should consumers at the lower end of the smartphone spectrum put up with older versions of the operating system, older generation hardware, and feel like second class citizens? The short answer is that they shouldn't, and that's why I'm really glad that Windows Phone is able to deliver as well at the lower end as well as in those higher end devices.