Recent Features

Smartphone camera physics part 2: HTC One M8 edition (vs Lumia 1020)

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It's a fair cop, this article is unashamedly camera-centric and mainly about a smartphone that runs a rival OS, i.e. the new HTC One (M8) running Android. But what I have to say includes the Lumia 1020 for comparison throughout, does reinforce previous features of mine and points out that the 'exciting' new featues in the camera of this Android flagship are centred around the kludge of all time rather than having their roots in better physics and optics 'done right'.

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What I'm most looking forward to in Windows Phone 8.1: better multitasking

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No, no, I'm not talking about the user multitasking between applications using the carousel - the fast app resume system seems to work pretty well these days, with just the odd application that doesn't play well (cough - Skype). By multitasking, I'm talking about the 'smart' bit of a smartphone, the intelligence that's supposed to power the live tiles and application automation and which falls a bit short under current versions of Windows Phone.

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Matching what your eyes see: PureView and a decent camera in your smartphone

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No, not quite the same as Nokia's famous "More than your eyes can see"(! here's that pop video) - more, in this case, matching what your eyes can see. As someone who swaps devices on a fairly regular basis, I have observed something in my own behaviour, about how and when I use the camera in my smartphone. Judging from the comments of a few others in the tech world (notably James Pearce), it seems that I'm not alone in having my photographic imagination realised by the hardware in my pocket.

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Playing the 2048 game on your Windows Phone

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If you wanted to know what feeding frenzy the media would start next after Flappy Bird, then wait no longer. The mainstream press, on the lookout for the next breakout hit, have uncovered 2048. This arithmetical sliding tile game was developed by Italian Gabriele Cirulli online, and his release of the source code has given app developers the green light to build and release their own versions for many platforms, including Windows Phone. If you're ready to say goodbye to your weekend, here are five 2048 clients for your smartphone.

# Posted by Ewan in Features || Comments

How to: Archive (and massively expand) the Bing Image of the Day

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One of the most popular options for Windows Phone lockscreens is to have it set to 'Bing', producing some wonderful images, day after day, surprising you each morning with something dramatic or pretty. But did you know that a) you can get details of where it was taken on your phone, b) you're only seeing a small fraction of the original photo, and c) it's easy to archive the full original at higher resolution, to perhaps use a laptop or desktop wallpaper?

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Less swiping altogether - Windows Phone's Start screen 'For The Win'

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This is both horribly controversial and also horribly subjective - and I know it's a popular meme to hate Microsoft's new 'tiles', especially on the desktop. But, regardless of their shape, the Windows Phone Start screen elements make me more efficient - I'm comparing it all to trying to live with Android, iOS, Symbian and Blackberry OS 10 - and Windows Phone is the one I keep coming back to with a sigh of satisfaction. And yes, that surprised me too...

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Five niche areas that Microsoft can use to grow Windows Phone

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Apart from the occasional sporadic appearance of a yellow Lumia 1020 here at SXSW, walking the trade floor and surfing the crowds at the many music gigs for their handset of choice is not a fun experience for a Windows Phone fan. Countless start-ups, accessory manufacturers, promoters, and web services, are all focused on iOS (to be fair, Android gets a bit of a look in, but not much). Windows Phone needs another approach, and building up some strength in niche areas could be one answer.

# Posted by Ewan in Features || Comments

In praise of Microsoft's OneNote

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This week and last I find myself once more in Austin for the SXSW conference, and once more I'm reminded of just how awesome Microsoft's OneNote is. Shipping as part of the core app experience on every Windows Phone, it's an app that I suspect many have ignored. Well, it's time to look at it again, because it really does show you just how well your smartphone can work in a cloud-based connected environment.

# Posted by Ewan in Features || Comments

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