In the last few years, the whole core of what a smartphone means to me has changed. In one sense, a lot of the excitement about new phone launches has worn off, while in another, I’ve never been so invested in my phone and how tightly integrated it is into my everyday life. Let me explain - in text or (if you prefer) video form! You see, the value in your smartphone in 2021 isn't - surprisingly - in your £1000 hardware, I contend.
It's a curious saga, but one which is worth looking at - even if (given that this is on AAWP, as well as the upcoming AAM) no Windows phones ever participated. I'm talking about phone-hosted biosensors, ways to measure heart rate, breathing, and more, using just your smartphone hardware. Why think about this now? Because Google just hacked some of this into its Pixels in a (get this) software update. So... how well does it work and is it a game changer?
The first smartphone that featured Qi charging out of the box was the Nokia Lumia 920, back in 2012, and ever since wireless charging has been a staple that most of us have required before considering a phone purchase. Making it ironic that the flagships that now support it have dropped other 'staples', including 3.5mm audio and microSD expansion, while lower end and mid-rangers have the latter but not Qi. But wait, there's an easy way to add Qi to any smartphone and I thought a reminder was in order...
On the premise that All About Mobile covers, in principle, anything that you can use when 'mobile' (and copied here to AAWP because AAM is yet to go live, plus this runs Windows 10), the new Framework Laptop is both a breath of fresh air in the industry and also of particular interest to anyone brought up on phones where you could take bits out and replace them (storage, battery, audio, etc.) Is this the future of laptop technology? Perhaps not in the mainstream, but I'm very eager - as a geek - to try it out. This will most definitely find a niche in the market.
In each of my previous camera shootouts from the phone world, I get people asking about the older, 2013 Lumia 1020 and even more so the 2012 Nokia 808, so why not throw these head to head with the state of the PureView art in 2021? 'PureView' was always about combining multiple pixels into one, about computational photography, to keep images as 'pure' as possible. Arguably, Google and Apple have done the best here in terms of keeping up this tradition, combining pixels in the time (as opposed to physical) domain. So here's a big 4-way shootout, for your interest and enjoyment!
New ideas in phone imaging don't come along very often, but Samsung hit on something three years ago, with 'Single Take', that's worth talking about. Most Galaxy phone users don't even know the mode is there, but Samsung is just starting to push the idea in marketing, begging the question whether this is the future of phone imaging or just another gimmick? For 'normobs', just maybe the former, for you and I (AAWP, AAM) probably the latter.
So... it's 2021 and Windows 10 Mobile has been out of support for well over a year. But plenty of AAWP readers still have Lumias, notably the 950 and 950 XL, plus the IDOL 4 Pro, Elite x3, and even older phones like the Lumia 930 and 1520, upgraded. In search of some games to while away the time until Spring and the end of lockdown, I thought I'd round up my favourites that are still available in the Store, for new installation. See if you get inspired to put on your gamer hat!
A few weeks ago I penned 'In hindsight... Microsoft really should have stuck with Windows for Surface Duo', pointing out that the crossover between trendy consumer Android applications and an enterprise/productivity-centric dual screen device is very small indeed. And to try and make this point more visually I’ve gone down the (ahem) slightly jeuvenile route of physically taping two Windows 10 Mobile phones together and videoing the result. I know, I know, rather cheesy. But my video embedded below makes the point. If this form factor had been released running the Windows and UWP apps you love, wouldn't you have dipped into your wallet?
One of the things I 'do' is roundups of cases for the various smartphones. For example, here for the Galaxy S21 Ultra and here for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. I couldn't countenance using any of these 2020/2021 smartphones without wrapping them in TPU - which got me thinking. I can't remember ever using ANY Windows phone in a case. Why would modern phones be so different in terms of carrying and casing, I wondered?
Though it's not a smartphone as such (though you can get a LTE version), the Surface Go range is eminently a) ultra-mobile, being small and light, and b) Windows and UWP-powered, so I contend it's still of interest to the 'All About' audience. Despite some initial misgivings on launch (the use of Type C and cost, mainly), I've ended up loving my Surface Go and it - quite literally - goes on all trips with me. What's curious though is the Surface Pen, which I initially dismissed as a bit of a gimmick - but which I now also take with me, magnetically attached or in my briefcase pen holder. Here are my suggestions on what you can do with it - add everything below up and I think you'll agree that it's virtually a must-have.