'Filters', as referred to by many an app and article on other sites and in other ecosystems, are crude, very crude examples of image processing. Even more so when users take the photo with these bastardisations already applied, i.e. there's no way back. But this doesn't mean that it's wrong to think about processing photos take on a Windows Phone. Even on the phone itself, perhaps before sharing. Happily, Microsoft provides Lumia Creative Studio for all its own smartphones - and below I discuss what's going on and provide some guidance and tips.
In the interview below, I fire a load of questions at Leila Martine, Head of New Devices for Microsoft UK, concerning the new Microsoft Band and the company's ambitions for it. As you might expect, the reponses are guarded and defensive, but they still make interesting reading. Plus, I get in some more comments of my own along the way.
Having reviewed the Microsoft Band recently, and been wearing it every day, I'm amassing quite a lot of data and experience. And, with Microsoft having released a Band SDK, we're starting to see all sorts of useful applications pop up in the Store that can take the accessory further. Here's my top 10, as at the end of May 2015, anyway. I'm sure the list will need updating in six months time!
One of the most frustrating things about snapping photos of family is that anyone under about ten years of age just doesn't keep still. Not that you'd necessarily want them to a lot of the time, since a kid or pet doing something active, caught mid-stride, can be really effective and show off more of their character than an attempt at a traditional posed shot. The same applies to pets, wildlife and even nature itself, but there's a solution if you have the Lumia 930/Icon or 1520, as Rafe and I demonstrate below. (In fact, much of what follows also applies to the Lumia 830 and even the 640/640 XL too, albeit at much lower output resolution.)
Launched yesterday, Hyperlapse Mobile is already proving an interesting video utility, though I thought it worth pointing out some caveats and tips based on my own experiences so far. In short, it's still something of a novelty, but there's a lot of fun to be had and fully edited and polished hyperlapses can be rendered and then stitched/edited entirely on your Windows Phone.
Two years ago, it was accepted that Nokia led the camera phone market by some way. Devices like the niche 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 were way out in front and even the slightly cut down Lumia 930 and 1520 (with 1/2.5" sensors) were leading the rest. However, the latest iPhones and, in particular, the latest Android flagships, in the Galaxy S6 and LG G4 have now matched the Nokias and even exceeded them in terms of aperture, processing speed and functions. In this feature, I put the Lumia 930 (and later, the 1020) head to head, pixel to pixel, against the newest and best Android smartphone camera, in the LG G4.
Once upon a time there were 'smartphones' and 'phones'. Or 'feature phones' for the latter name if you were being a bit snobbish. Then we got to the stage where virtually all phones were 'smart' (i.e. online, apps, converged functions), so the distinction went away. And now, with the likes of the excellent Lumia 640 XL, we're on the cusp of seeing the same thing happen to that hated term 'phablets'. They'll all just be called 'phones' from 2016 onwards, you mark my words.
With eight years since the classic Nokia N95 was selling in the mainstream, with one of the first five megapixel cameras in the phone market and the best, with 1/2.5" sensor and 'Carl Zeiss' optics, I thought it would be interesting to see how far the technology has come. After all, the Lumia 930 occupies pretty much the same photo-enthusiast consumer spot, at least in the Windows phone world, yet it outputs at a nominal 5MP still. But how different would the pixels themselves be, with eight years of sensor, optics and processing tech improvements under the 930's hood?
With the announcement of 'bridges' to help Android and iOS developers compile their applications to native Windows 10 'universal' applications, many have questioned the future of Windows Phone as an OS. In a sense, they're right - Windows Phone as it exists now is about to cease to exist. But it will transition completely seamlessly (in theory) into the Windows 10 - at which point it will share a platform with the dominant desktop and laptop OS on the planet. And creating Windows 10 applications will see a dramatically bigger potential market - hey, I've done a handy graphic (below) to make the point!
One of the odd omissions on the Microsoft Band, reviewed here, is that there's no media control, unlike on other smartwatches. There's no music or similar tile available, for example. So if you're out running or walking or cycling and you want to pause or change playback, or similar, then you're out of luck, aren't you? Not really.