Variously referred to with a '1' on the end (or not), the official Developer Preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (I'm using the numeral, as it's less confusing!) is now available and I thought a summary of what's in it would be appropriate. Along with my (admittedly marginal) deliberation that this is a smaller update than the original 8.1/Cyan step upwards, and that enrolling on the DP track might not, on balance, this time, be worth it?
I've been tracking the standby battery drain from Windows Phone for the last six months, from version 8.0 of the OS through to the official Windows Phone 8.1 release with Lumia Cyan, here on my Lumia 1020. Now, being a scientist by trade, I'm appalled by the number of caveats involved in producing the chart below, but the result is still very clear - the official release of Windows Phone 8.1 is (by far) the most battery friendly one yet. [updated]
Stop press: the editorial Lumia 1020 now has the official Lumia Cyan update over-the-air from Microsoft, bringing this year old device bang up to date in terms of OS and core software. Making it rather appropriate, in the light of some criticism of Nokia's latest and greatest, the Lumia 930, to compare the two devices and wonder if the older device now holds its own or even surpasses the new flagship. Controversial, moi?
One of the perennial frustrations for enthusiasts using Windows Phone is that there may well be a critical application update available for your phone, something you've been waiting for, yet it can take up to 24 hours before your phone actually tells you the update exists. Perhaps you've read about a big update on AAWP and are sitting there drumming your fingers on the desktop, waiting for it to hit your device? With Windows Phone 8.1, at least, you can check for updates NOW...
As something of a fan of wireless charging in general and Qi in particular, I jumped at the chance to interview John Perzow, VP of market development at the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), which created and is continually evolving the Qi standard. A man to answer some of those questions I'd been wanting to ask for ages....
Traditionally, the price barrier for smartphones was £100. Even Nokia's lowest end Symbian handsets only strayed a little way below this, yet with feature phones all but dying out in many countries, there's now a battle on to provide a 'first smartphone' for a buyer at as far below £100 as can be managed. There have been numerous ultra-budget Android handsets at rock bottom prices, but with legendarily poor performance and specs. So let's take something modern, like the Moto E, and see how it compares against the latest Windows Phone budget launch. And, for the sake of interest and further comment, against the older, existing Lumia 520.
The clue is probably in the generic term 'camera-centric', really. However much people in the tech world like their phone cameras, having just a little too much emphasis placed on imaging - enough to warrant a significant bump on the back - seems to be the death knell for a device long term. In part though, this is more down to the time needed for R&D, but the end result is (yet again) a device which seems destined to be sidelined a little....
While reviewing the Lumia 930, I found myself factory resetting it several times on day one. And not because of anything wrong with the phone or its software. You see, there's a limit built into the Microsoft account and Store system that just hasn't been thought through completely. It only hurts the people Microsoft and the Windows Phone team should be wanting to make friends with!
As the model numbers attest, the new Lumia 930 is in many ways a follow-up to the classic old 920 - everything's integral, no covers needed, specs here are higher in every way yet without increasing dimensions unduly. Here's our definitive comparison - what would an existing 920 owner gain by upgrading to the much newer handset?
One of the interesting features of the Windows Phone world is the variety of applications that use the smartphone's camera. Often for gimmicky effect, but sometimes going for maximum quality and a possible direct replacement for Nokia Camera, the application that comes on each Lumia, as tested here. But do you sacrifice image quality by using another application? Using a controlled low light test, I decided to investigate!