You can't customise a Windows Phone, it's not flexible enough, you'll never get a unique experience... Put those opinions aside, because they're wrong. I'm about to take your bog-standard Windows Phone handset, and turn it into a pocket dynamo of a games machine. Forget the Lumia brand, this is (if you squint hard enough) a guide to building the Xbox Portable.
Although some local 'sync' options are available for our Symbian smartphones (e.g. locally to Nokia Suite on a Windows PC), for most of us 'sync' now means synchronisation to an online service. In the good (bad?) old days, this meant messing around with SyncML, but things have moved on and new protocols have emerged as standards. So where do Symbian handsets stand and is there a solution that is future proof? Could it be that the changes at Google's end are unwittingly nudging many of the hundred million Symbian users into a Microsoft-centric solution, following Nokia into the brave new world of Windows Phone?
It's a fair cop, I'm firmly in camera geek territory again here. We see a lot of smartphone camera comparisons online (not least here on the All About sites), but all this talk of optical formats and pixel sizes rather gets in the way of the man in the street understanding the simple physics involved. To help out, I've summarised all available data on smartphone camera sizes and apertures and present the result graphically. So the Lumia 1020 has a 1/1.5" sensor - what does this mean? And how does it affect the ability of the device to gather light? This and much more below...
It's an app ecosystem, and to play in it you need the apps and services that people want. So with a little bit of wishful thinking, here are nine apps that could help Windows Phone if they were released on the platform, or, if you prefer, here are nine apps that we think are missing from Windows Phone.
Last week I looked into 'oversampling' as featured on the Nokia Lumia 1020 (and the older 808), with the main takeaway for AAWP readers being that the default Windows Phone Camera application only presented a low grade 5MP sample of the underlying 41MP sensor, while Nokia Pro Camera worked with the hardware and OS to incorporate information from every underlying pixel, i.e. oversampling, to produce photos with less noise and clearer details. There was one aspect of this analysis that needs more investigation though - it turns out that all reframed photos are indeed generated from the full resolution JPG but there's an initial 'purer' 5MP version that you can choose to keep.
A small amount of information relating to the next major version of Windows Phone (8.1 / "Blue") has emerged, from various sources, over the last week. The various leaks provide evidence for a new notification system, additional app layout options and an updated version of the TellMe voice control system. The latter is said to give Windows Phone a Siri-like personal assistant functionality and is based on Microsoft's "Cortana" technology.
Having done a number of real world photo comparisons between Nokia's new Lumia 1020 and various competitors, including its own 'predecessor', the Nokia 808 on Symbian, I wanted to break down the word 'oversampling' and try to demonstrate what is - and, particularly - what isn't going on inside each of these camera-toting smartphones and their applications. Where do the photo pixels come from and does it matter which application captures them?
Having looked at the impact of Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's phone business on HTC and Samsung, it's time to look at the smaller partners, as well as the potential for new licencees to come to the platform. In short, it's not looking good right now, but with some focus, Microsoft could change that in the future...
Introduced for Windows Phone 8 was Kids Corner, an answer to the age old problem of what you do when your small children say "Daddy (or Mummy), can we play games on your phone please?" The issue, of course, is stopping the little darlings from accidentally getting into other applications, deleting data, calling your boss and buying stuff they didn't mean to. Kids Corner can in fact help with all of this, but there are a few things you need to know before you start playing with the idea. Really.
I've handled a broad strokes comparison of the two 41 megapixel camera flagships of the smartphone world before, notably here (when I declared them roughly equal in merit though with very different processing pros/cons) and here (as part of a four way test, but with very similar conclusions), but what I wanted to do here was to push them both to the limits in real world low light situations. Would the benefits of Optical Image Stabilisation outweigh that of a larger sensor? Would a BSI sensor compensate for a smaller Xenon flash? Is the hardware oversampling engine from the Nokia 808 missed on the Lumia 1020?