The subject here is Store bloat. And it's something which I've been ranting about now for four years, on various sites. Yet the people in charge of the main smartphone app stores haven't learned. In fact, if anything, they're getting worse.... at letting in 'apps' which mainly serve to dilute the world's overall impression of that particular OS and ecosystem. Here are three questions that the QA employees concerned should be asking themselves before hitting the 'approve' button.
You may remember that, almost a year ago, I reviewed Accurate Tuner Pro here on AAWP? I rated it highly, but there have been plenty of new competitors, of varying degrees of quality, released since. In the spirit of starting 2014 with options for you, the Windows Phone enthusiast (and musician), here's my round up of tuning utilities for the platform - for the guitar, at least. Other instrument round-ups may follow in due course!
Snapping away at a New Year's Eve party with your Lumia 1020? One of the few drawbacks of having a 'proper' (i.e. Xenon) flash on a smartphone camera is that there's inevitably some 'red-eye' reflection from the eyes of people you snap. Here's how to fix the 'red-eye' on Windows Phone, i.e. fix it on the device and then share from there in time for the big 2014 countdown. With a lot of solutions in the Windows Phone Store, surely one of them would do the job?
We've covered the still imaging differences (for the Nokia Lumia 1020) in the 'Black' update already, but we did note that there are improvements in video capture too, primarily in low light. See the side by side video below - videos should be brighter (though 'noisier') and with less visual flicker.
Yes, yes, these colour combinations are getting crazy.... With the Lumia 1020 (on Windows Phone) having started to get its long awaited 'Nokia Black' firmware update, and with the imaging enhancements in this update essentially targetting lower digital noise and more accurate colours, there has been a lot of demand for one (really) 'final' imaging showdown between the 1020 and the Nokia 808 PureView, famed for the purity of its images, with almost no noise. Can the 1020 really match the 808 in this essential attribute? With Black under its belt, how does the Lumia 1020/Nokia 808 balance sheet now stand?
With the Lumia Black software update, Nokia Lumia 1020's gain the ability to capture photographs in DNG (RAW) format when using the Nokia Camera app. The new dual capture mode, "JPEG (5MP) + DNG (34MP)", is in addition to the existing "JPEG (5MP)" and "JPEG (5MP + 34 MP)" capture modes. In this feature, we offer some sample captures from a recently updated Lumia 1020, including download links for the DNG files, building on our earlier look at the imaging improvements that arrive with Lumia Black.
Christmas is a time for giving, and smartphones are a popular gift in the 21st century. Why are the popular Windows Phone 8 handsets going to be great gifts on the 25th? Because they have an immediate impact, they have a great out of the box experience, and over the last few months the additions to the ecosystem have made all the difference.
Released yesterday was Nokia Black for the Lumia 1020 - at least for the AT&T variant over in the USA. Especially interesting is that Black incorporates a number of important improvements in image processing for the camera, begging further detailed investigation. Happily, we have both AT&T and generic Euro variants of the 1020 to hand, so it was easy to set up some test shots and see what Nokia has changed in terms of 'noise reduction and tone mapping' in going from Nokia Amber to Nokia Black and the way these interact with the class-leading camera hardware.
In App Purchases, when done right (rarely) can work for both developers and users. When done wrong (most of the time), they're a right pain, with massive (£50+) purchases just a tap away. And no, you're not going to tap on these, but there's the moment when you lend your phone to little Johnny or Clara to 'keep them occupied with a game' and find out that they've tapped where they shouldn't and your wallet got a lit lighter. Happily, there's a way in Windows Phone to halt such accidents, but it's not very well publicised.
As 2013 draws to a close, a breakthrough year for Windows Phone, we thought the team should pick their favourite things from the year. See below for the very best of the best, as chosen by Rafe Blandford, Ewan Spence and Steve Litchfield. No doubt you'll have your own preferences too, so pipe up in the comments!