Let's be clear, everyone at All About Windows Phone loves the Lumia 925 from Nokia. We might have our own personal favourites (the 1020 for Steve, the 820 for Ewan, and the 720 for Rafe), but you'd be hard pushed to find a better all-rounder than the Lumia 925. But what happens when it's taken from the hardcore WP fans, and handed to a normal user? I volunteered my wife to try the Lumia 925 for a week.
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.
The recent update to Wordament has a curious addition... the availability of the title on Android as well as Windows. What are Microsoft up to, and are we really seeing them abandon Xbox Live on Windows Phone? Far from it. A wider release of titles over multiple platforms could be just what is needed.
NFC (Near Field Communications) is something we've only touched on briefly on the All About sites. You know it as a way to pair quickly with compatible Bluetooth accessories and to tap-for-info on an object, but the scope of NFC is widening all the time. In the first of several articles on NFC, I explore the world of NFC tag writing, looking at some common practical uses. Comments welcome if you can think of ways the technology would enhance your life too.
Every smartphone is made up of compromises. Battery life against screen brightness is an obvious example in hardware, but there are many others. One of them is setting the price of the handset. Balancing units sold against revenue per handset is one lever that can be used to promote a platform's growth, which is why the lower average selling price (ASP) of Windows Phone handsets should not be something to worry over.
If you've been looking at my Lumia 1020 camera comparisons closely enough, you'll have seen that party/pub/event shots taken with Xenon flash end up not looking quite as crisp and 'frozen' as we're used to seeing with standalone cameras and even the older Nokia 808 PureView and N8. This is mainly a design decision, with Nokia trying to get away from the Xenon-floodlit, white-out shots and bring back some of the atmosphere of the occasion. Here I explore this decision and wonder if there's a happy middle ground between the two extremes.
The core idea behind Nokia's use of a crazily high resolution sensor (41 megapixels) in the 808 and, more relevantly here, the Lumia 1020, was to allow for 'computational photography'. Firstly, this involves taking large amounts of raw data and using it intelligently to produce higher quality data in smaller quantities, e.g. 5MP images with relatively low amounts of noise. Secondly, using the high native resolution to allow for zooming and re-framing without having to 'interpolate' (i.e. making up detail that's not really there). And now the same idea has been copied by Sony for the Xperia Z1. So how does the Z1 fare in a ten-scene camera shootout against Nokia's second generation PureView tech in the 1020?
If all goes well, in 2014 Microsoft will be selling their own handsets running Windows Phone 8. But what can they call them? Assuming they don't want to skip back to 'Zune', and they reject 'Brian', the answer might be coming to them from Finland.
Regular listeners to the 361 Degrees podcast will have heard many times of Rafe's legendary 'six year rule', when referring to smartphone platforms and ecosystems. With Blackberry seemingly imploding before our eyes, with Nokia having been snapped up recently by Microsoft and with Symbian increasingly being forgotten in the marketplace, I thought it worth both expanding on Rafe's rule of thumb and also charting it graphically. A mosquito lives for a week, a hamster for a year or two, smartphone operating systems about six or seven years, and (happily) human beings about 70 to 80 years. Life and death, all in 1000 words? It can only be an All About (sites) editorial....