I've published several 'how to' pieces in the past dishing out general smartphone photography tips, but for this 'how to' I wanted to take the example of a single great photo and put you inside my mind as I prepared for it and captured the moment. Hopefully some of the things I cover will help you take your own great photos, whatever smartphone you own (the example here was captured on the Nokia Lumia 920, but there are several other phones with great photographic hardware).
In our previous head to head shootout between the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Symbian-powered Nokia 808 PureView, concentrating perhaps more on static, lower light situations, the newer 920 just failed to pip the larger-sensored 808 to the crown. Since then, there has been some justified criticism of the 920's image processing for bright daylight scenes - now fixed for many people across the globe with the PR1.1 update (firmware starting 1232.5951...), which dials back the noise reduction and also fixes some messaging and Wi-fi issues. With the camera fix in place though, I headed out on a winter's day and put Nokia's latest Lumia 920 fix to the ultimate test...
As the turkey sandwiches start to curl at the edges, and the temptation to watch Doctor Who for the third time sets in, the call of your new Windows Phone must be very strong. So as Christmas starts to sneak into the distance, let's forget about the big name games, the Xbox Live titles, and the big developer projects, and look at five smaller gaming titles for Windows Phone that are worth looking at before the end of 2012.
The Wordament team have announced that, alongside Windows Phone and Windows, the popular Xbox Live word search game is also available on iOS. "We’ve worked hard to make it screen-for-screen identical with our Window Phone version," they write on the Wordament website. "If you’re just hearing about Wordament for the first time: Welcome! We hope you like what you find!" The iPhone crowd may like it, but there are a lot of unhappy Windows Phone fans out there.
Picture the scene.... The snow falls gently, settling around the cars and houses.... The fire is lit and the living room is nicely warm. Your nearest and dearest are gathered round, talking and giving presents and enjoying the day. Kids are playing, excitedly. When all of a sudden... FLASH! A sheet of white light, illuminating the whole room. Not, as it turns out, accompanied by angels singing, for this isn't a divine event but a clued up geek using his smartphone with Xenon flash. Yes, it's that time of the year again, a true Christmas tradition. It's time for Steve's Xenon rant. And with more impetus than ever this year, now that standalone cameras have been all but eliminated from homes across the world.
You can't move in our corners of the Internet without some debate springing up about which is best: hardware keys, virtual keys, T9 or Swype. It's almost a religious thing, with devotees of one solution or another. So I thought I'd devote a little effort to a data point for each system, in my hands at least. Yes, personal preference will play a huge part in the solution you end up with. But which, from a statistical point of view, is fastest at the end of the day?
One of the quiet triumphs of the Windows Phone system, at least for gamers, was the regularity of the Xbox Live releases. For almost all of 2012, gamers could expect a new branded title on Wednesday evening (depending on their time zone). But the last four weeks have seen a rather lacklustre line-up from Xbox Live. With a renewed focus on Windows Phone, and the increased sales of new handsets, this is the worst time to destroy the unwritten agreement of a regular release schedule.
In my latest comparison, I take the Lumia 920, which I've now used for a month, the Nokia 808, which recently had its upgrade to Belle FP2, and the hot-off-the-press Google Nexus 4, an Android flagship in terms of pretensions and core specifications. Three platforms at different stages of their lives, three different form factors and user experiences. Let's put them head to head...
How many Windows Phone 8 devices will be enough Windows Phone 8 devices this Christmas? I don't mean under my tree, because that's an easy answer... it would be one very small, very high spec, WP8. I actually mean on a global sale. It's clear that Windows Phone devices are selling, that much we can gather from Microsoft's announcements, extrapolated advertising inventory, and how many people are publicly using the Facebook app. The question I have is how many would be a good number?
Another smartphone announced, another moment of crossing my fingers as the news loads and I look down at the specification list of the latest WP8 handset. And with the Lumia 620, I managed to get past the physical dimensions while still smiling. And then I was let down by everything else. Why can't there be a small, top of the line, smartphone?