Last week I looked into 'oversampling' as featured on the Nokia Lumia 1020 (and the older 808), with the main takeaway for AAWP readers being that the default Windows Phone Camera application only presented a low grade 5MP sample of the underlying 41MP sensor, while Nokia Pro Camera worked with the hardware and OS to incorporate information from every underlying pixel, i.e. oversampling, to produce photos with less noise and clearer details. There was one aspect of this analysis that needs more investigation though - it turns out that all reframed photos are indeed generated from the full resolution JPG but there's an initial 'purer' 5MP version that you can choose to keep.
A small amount of information relating to the next major version of Windows Phone (8.1 / "Blue") has emerged, from various sources, over the last week. The various leaks provide evidence for a new notification system, additional app layout options and an updated version of the TellMe voice control system. The latter is said to give Windows Phone a Siri-like personal assistant functionality and is based on Microsoft's "Cortana" technology.
Having done a number of real world photo comparisons between Nokia's new Lumia 1020 and various competitors, including its own 'predecessor', the Nokia 808 on Symbian, I wanted to break down the word 'oversampling' and try to demonstrate what is - and, particularly - what isn't going on inside each of these camera-toting smartphones and their applications. Where do the photo pixels come from and does it matter which application captures them?
Having looked at the impact of Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's phone business on HTC and Samsung, it's time to look at the smaller partners, as well as the potential for new licencees to come to the platform. In short, it's not looking good right now, but with some focus, Microsoft could change that in the future...
Introduced for Windows Phone 8 was Kids Corner, an answer to the age old problem of what you do when your small children say "Daddy (or Mummy), can we play games on your phone please?" The issue, of course, is stopping the little darlings from accidentally getting into other applications, deleting data, calling your boss and buying stuff they didn't mean to. Kids Corner can in fact help with all of this, but there are a few things you need to know before you start playing with the idea. Really.
I've handled a broad strokes comparison of the two 41 megapixel camera flagships of the smartphone world before, notably here (when I declared them roughly equal in merit though with very different processing pros/cons) and here (as part of a four way test, but with very similar conclusions), but what I wanted to do here was to push them both to the limits in real world low light situations. Would the benefits of Optical Image Stabilisation outweigh that of a larger sensor? Would a BSI sensor compensate for a smaller Xenon flash? Is the hardware oversampling engine from the Nokia 808 missed on the Lumia 1020?
Following Microsoft breaking open the cheque book to buy out Nokia's handset business, I discussed the impact this would have on HTC. Now it's time to turn our focus to the third of the Microsoft's major partners and look at the impact on Samsung. And while it might not change the volume of handsets, I think Samsung is going to be sticking with Windows Phone for a little longer.
Without wishing to imply that Nokia Pro Camera isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread (it is), it's not my default 'photos+camera' application on the Nokia Lumia 1020, 925 and 920. On purpose. In fact, risking a roasting from commenters, my default camera application is Nokia's 'gimmicky' Smart Cam, which works far better for my particular use case, as I hope to explain below.
Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's Devices and Services branch has many implications for the Windows Phone ecosystem. Some will be evident in short order, others may take months or years to show up. But of immediate concern is what Microsoft's other partners will do. HTC, not in the best financial position, already had some hard decisions to make about the direction of the company. Now the Windows Phone ecosystem has tilted, HTC needs to think very carefully about what happens next.
Anyone with a Windows Phone will know most of the saga to do with the YouTube client on Windows Phone. The service is, of course, owned by Microsoft's big rival, Google and, not surprisingly, the latter is being a stickler for detail in terms of the former's client obeying the letter of the law when it comes to displaying and downloading (or, rather, not downloading) video content. And adverts. The row has dragged on and spanned multiple client versions and, at the time of writing this, it's still broken. But in truth, is a client needed at all?