It's all very well seeing phone manufacturer after phone manufacturer adding faster image processors and (ever so) slightly larger sensors in their smartphone cameras. It's all very well them proclaiming in their marketing "the best phone camera ever". And, in extreme cases, even adding two lenses and two sensors. But, ultimately, physics wins. It always wins. Never mind the tiny sensors used in even the likes of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, use a large sensor like that in the Nokia Lumia 1020 and photos are immediately better, especially when allied to Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and (when needed) also to a proper Xenon flash.
San Francisco based Swrve has looked at the in-app purchasing data across their own network for January, and the numbers they reveal are interesting. I can see two major points from the data that have already had an effect on the mobile app ecosystem, and the rise of freemium has not diminished the opportunity for developers.
Due to the large sensors, wide angle optics and relatively long focal lengths, Nokia's 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 haven't traditionally been thought of as great for 'macro' photography, i.e. this is seen one of the only weaknesses of these two 'PureView' cameras. However, it's worth noting one top tip for achieving great results anyway - and, thanks to our friend Olivier Noirhomme, we have some stunning examples of the technique in action, as proof!
In all my time with Windows Phone, I've rarely found bugs that caused me to want to throw me phone against the nearest wall in frustration. Things that couldn't be done, full stop, yes. But not bugs that caused functionality to come and go. Below, confirmed by others and acknowledged by Nokia, is a short story of one such bug that is crippling to the user experience in day to day life.
One of the more interesting announcements from Microsoft at MWC was the declaration of 'Windows Phone as the third ecosystem'. It's a position they have laid claim to before, both as an aspiration and as an achieved goal. This time around though, I think they were not only fair to call it out at a European conference, but they were one hundred percent right. Windows Phone is the third ecosystem in Europe, it's the rest of the world that needs to catch up.
I didn't think this comparison would happen, due to the QX-100's price and availability, but we've been kindly loaned one and I set out to pitch it, chained to an Android smartphone, against the best of Nokia past (the 808 PureView) and Nokia future (the Lumia 1020). The QX-100, in case you hadn't been following the tech buzz, really is the guts of a high end standalone camera in a form that can be used directly by any compatible smartphone. Let battle commence!
Irrespective of what actually happens at Mobile World Congress next week, the online editorials that have sprung up over the last few days have set the storyline for Microsoft's mobile week in Barcelona. There isn't any. No major Windows Phones will be announced, the major Windows Phone partner (Nokia) has grabbed the headlines through a potential Android release, and it would surprise me if any of the countless peripherals have Windows Phone as their primary smartphone.
ZDNet's Matt Miller is someone we've known well for many years, since the days of Windows Mobile and Symbian, so we take what he says with some respect. Though this doesn't mean that we always agree with him. In this case he's penned an editorial 'Five reasons I am done with Windows Phone after 3.5 years' and I thought it might be worth looking at the five points and putting some perspective on from this end.
I can offer no explanation for why the official Flickr client for Windows Phone has been allowed to languish in an almost unusable state [I blame Yahoo, Flickr's owner]. I can however explain how to use the popular 2flicka client to both browse Groups and then upload your own photos to them. In other words, you can fully contribute content to Flickr groups from your smartphone.
There is a lot of chatter online about the future direction of Microsoft, especially in mobile. Mobile nowadays does not just mean smartphones, it also means tablets and laptops, gaming and associated services such as music and video provisions. Microsoft's online services are strong not just on their own mobile platform, but on the platforms of the competing mobile operating systems. This is a very healthy place to be as the 2014 mobile story continues.