NFC, widely touted to be one of the 'next big things' is here already in the Nokia C7, Google Nexus S and Blackberry Bold 9900, plus all the new Symbian Belle handsets have it built-in and other manufacturers and platforms are sure to follow. But what actually is Near Field Communications and how does it work? What can you do with it right now and what will it enable in the future? Here's a bookmark-able primer that should answer all your questions.
One of the longest serving 'stars' in the Symbian software firmament has been Handy Safe Pro, working on every device from 2004 up to the present day. It's an encrypted database, of course, a way of keeping all your PINs, passwords, logins, reference numbers and much more, all safe from prying eyes. One key feature is that every entry can have a note and this can often run to dozens of extra lines. Which makes the tool very flexible, but how to get all of this information over to a new smartphone on another mobile platform? In this case, Windows Phone?
Amid all the anticipation and speculation surrounding Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have to move with the times and give up your staunch Symbian sidekick. Don’t be in too much of a rush though; while Windows Phone will improve over time, things aren’t all that rosy on the Redmond side of the fence.
One of the subtle additions in Mango, but one that I suspect is going to be very well received, is the ability to use your own custom ringtones. Until this update, you were left with the installed options and the hope that one of those supplied would be good enough for day to day use. Given the customisation options offered by Live Tiles it's great to see that you can now add your own tone. Here's how to take your MP3's and audio files, and get them into your handset's ringtone library.
Microsoft are rightly proud of the work they have done in the People Hub to make it relevant to the users of Windows Phone, but that doesn't mean you can rely on Mango to talk to your social networks. There are more networks than the ones you can talk to out of the box, and in some cases you need more functionality than Seattle has provided. So where should Social Network junkies turn to? Here's our five picks.
More of an observation than a rant (though see below), but the rise and rise of the REAL camera phone puts quite a bit of pressure on us geeks, whatever mobile OS we currently favour. You see, the theory is that "the best camera is the one you have with you" but in practice all smartphones aren't created equal in the camera department and that has unforeseen social repercussions....
Have you seen the number of applications that are little more than a list of website articles? Or launch a bookmark? Or are yet another eBook reader of the Project Gutenberg text of A Princess of Mars? Why are they all still flooding every mobile app store on the planet? Because I think, secretly, the stores love the spam.
One of the interesting facets of Windows Phone 7 is how much it is tied to accounts you have on other services. Naturally, if you want to make best use of the People hub you'll need to add in some social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, but before that there's another layer of accounts that are more fundamental to your Windows Phone experience.
An interesting post from Mobot this morning on the five UK networks carrying the Nokia 700 handset (the first running Symbian Belle) has got me thinking. Let's be clear, there's no second source on this yet, but the central principle, that if the networks swing behind Nokia then the manufacturer has a solid future, is sound. Part of Nokia's offensive both for Belle, S40 and the upcoming Windows Phone handsets has been, and will continue to be, to charm the mobile phone networks.
It's a fact of life that much as we want out smartphones to have their own games, to stand out on their own, and to be unique, we also want comfort, familiarity, and games that we recognise. Windows Phone, and specifically the XBox Live games provide both. While we're looking out for the exclusive Windows Phone games that will become classics and make people want to be part of the Xbox Live experience, what are the games that we know from other platforms that have made it into your phone?