As I sit at my desk looking at around a dozen smartphones of all shapes and sizes (hey, I'm a journalist, and privileged that way), running four different mobile OS platforms, I find my decision on which to use as my main phone based on a number of hardware factors (screen size, form factor, camera) that you'll probably empathise with, plus one that you might not expect. At the top of my list of characteristics for a perfect smartphone is a loud, high quality loudspeaker. Yes, really.
Stephen Elop said in the February 11th announcement that the transition to Windows Phone 7 would be an emotional one. He hit the nail on the head, not just for employees of Nokia, but for anyone who had any kind of investment in the Symbian world. Windows Phone 7 has had the power to delight me and infuriate me in equal measure. I have lived with five of these devices, and have transitioned from Ubuntu to Windows 7 to facilitate that process - Windows Phone 7 has had an impact on my life.
So there I was in a largish UK town on December 27th, visiting relatives. Naughty, I know, but I was staying in touch with email and Twitter through the day, because... well, this is me. And I totally killed two smartphones in five hours. And was on the way to killing a third. To find out why, read on, there's an issue here that I've moaned about before, that not many technologists acknowledge and which could do with addressing intelligently in each mobile OS.
There's a very famous adage that addresses the question posed in the title ("Why not a standalone camera?") very adeptly and quickly: "Because it's the only camera that's with you". However, true though this is, the question and answer have provoked Tim Salmon and I to indulge in some friendly Christmas debate - comments welcome if you come down on one side of the argument or the other!
Built into every Nokia Windows Phone is a small utility, 'Contacts Transfer', providing a very quick way for Symbian smartphone owners to get their core contacts over to a replacement Windows Phone. Here's a walkthrough of this usefull utility in action.
If you're anything like me, your Windows Phone came with a cheap set of outer-ear ear-buds. They sound tinny, are uncomfortable, leak tsk-tsk noises to the people around you and, if you're very, very lucky, might even have a call-pick-up and 'pause' control inline in one of the wires. All a bit bare bones, isn't it? Don't you deserve better? Absolutely. And I'm here to help, with a reminder that there's more to audio than the 3.5mm jack on your phone and your supplied cheap 'buds.
Last week I was Armenia. If you must know, it was for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, but what's important for this site is what I thought of the Windows Phone I had with me (it was the Nokia Lumia 800, if you're keeping track). I've been using this handset for over a month now, so this isn't a full on review, more a personal list of things that still make me go "hmm".
One of the integral parts of the Windows Phone experience is the Zune Desktop. Being Microsoft, it's only available for Windows - but our Mac OS X readers can relax, they haven't been left out in the cold, Steve will look at the Mac's Windows Phone 7 Connector in the near future. Unfortunately, Linux users might need a bit more magic (or a dual booting computer) to get connectivity. Those issues aside, if you're new to Windows Phone, here's a quick look at what the Zune Desktop can do.
40,000 applications publicly developed for Windows Phone is an impressive number, but you know what we really need to know? Not if the big hitters of Spotify or Instagram are available, not if there is a strong spread of attractive games, but which application is the most expensive application for Windows Phone. Rafe took the All About Windows Phone credit card out of my wallet, and sent me into the Marketplace to find out.
Brand new here at AAWP Towers is the HTC Titan and what's fascinating me is the comparison to the previous, similar device from a year ago, the HD7 - what difference does a year make (other than the small size increase)? And are there any areas in which the design has gone backwards? Here's my first Titan piece - watch for a full review shortly.