You know, there are times when the team at All About Towers don't quite see eye to eye. Steve's editorial yesterday on the horrors of in-app purchases (IAP) saw his declaration to boycott any game which survives on the freemium styled model - this is one of those times. Far from destroying the app ecosystem, I would argue that in-app purchasing is the saviour of the mobile app economy.
Please accept this generic rant across the All About sites, but the subject matter applies to all platforms to various degrees. In-app purchasing or, more specifically, in-game purchasing is the current fad in game development and it's time enough people took a stand and said 'No'. And not just writing editorials and blog posts on the subject but actively boycotting such titles and recommending alternatives that rely on the traditional 'buy it once' model. Does it sound like I'm over-reacting? Maybe - it depends on exactly who's playing the games on your phone(s)?
It's fair to say that I've been critical of some aspects of Windows Phone in the past, all documented on these pages and in the various audio podcasts, but at the same time I find myself using a Nokia Lumia 1020 on a daily basis. Yes, the camera is super, but away from that I'm still finding that Windows Phone does, more or less, everything I need a smartphone OS to do. Which got me thinking about why other mobile enthusiasts have ended up with a far more negative view of the OS. What exactly didn't they like and how valid are their criticisms?
As the Windows Phone user base continues to grow, so does the number of applications available through the Windows Phone Store. As the land-grab for apps continues to gather pace, there is a growing undercurrent of applications that push the edge of morality in terms of naming, look, functionality, and cost. Is this an issue that has to be tolerated, or should Microsoft take a more proactive stance to keep the Windows Phone Store as safe and habitable as possible?
You may remember that we produced a feature last week pointing out the similarities between the new Google Nexus 5 and the year old Nokia Lumia 920? The reasons are summarised below, along with a focus on the imaging side of these smartphones. There's a stills and video shootout, aiming to compare both the quality of the optics and image processing, and the effectiveness of the OIS implementation.
The journey to podcatching nirvana on Windows Phone has been long and hard, as anyone reading my series of podcatcher round-ups may realise. The goal is to have a podcast application auto-check feeds and auto-download new episodes, whether the application is on the phone screen or not. This may sound easy enough, but with Windows Phone's heavy restrictions on multitasking, it turns out to be very hard.
The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.
Google's recent release of version 4.4 of Android has many goals, but one of them is to address Android's suitability for lower spec handsets. While Android has built up market share on low end devices, this focus on a slick experience at the low end is something that Microsoft and Windows Phone have already got under control. Now is the time for WP to drive that advantage home.
Hot off the international device press, we have a camera comparison between the brand new Google Nexus 5 and the established champion, the Nokia Lumia 1020. Now, we're not expecting the Nexus 5 to get close to the 1020, but the margin is an interesting November 2013 data point in this popular facet of smartphone functionality.
"Find some nice stories, please", was the comment from the All About team as I boarded the flight to Dublin and the Digital Web Summit earlier this week. And what I found was disheartening. Not that I was expecting anything else, but the app development gap between Windows Phone and iOS was ridiculous.