Recent News - General

Continuous zoom to make a come back in smartphone cameras?

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Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...

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Microsoft switches out HERE maps for TomTom, what's the Mobile impact?

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The story so far: HERE Maps (née Nokia Maps, then Navteq) provided all the map data for the mapping and car navigation in Windows Phone for years*. Windows 10 brought a first party mapping client from Microsoft, but using all the HERE map data under the hood, on Desktop and Mobile. But over the last few years Microsoft has been getting cosier with TomTom, a rival map (and traffic data) supplier, and has now announced that future map updates will come from TomTom. Details below, plus I muse on how this affects Windows 10 Mobile and 'Windows 10 Maps' on our phones.

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Surface Duo specifications underwhelm?

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The trouble with launching a flagship smartphone a full year before availability (in this case, for reasons of encouraging developers to write for a new form factor) is that the specs can end up being a bit... underwhelming. And while I'm certainly not a benchmark obsessive, there are some spec points which - if true - will be very disappointing. Specifically, in term of imaging, battery, and Google Pay compatibility.

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Microsoft announces Surface Go 2 - tasty, but expensive when configured

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A few days late with this (sorry, normal service is now resumed), and yes, we know it's not a phone, but Microsoft announced the Surface Go 2 this week, online of course, with no physical meet in these COVID-19 times. We covered the original GO extensively over the last 24 months, but the Go 2 has smaller bezels, faster internals, better microphones, and a redesigned hinge. See the announcement text, design and sizzle videos below. The Go is a fabulous companion to a Windows 10 Mobile or (now) Android smartphone (thanks to 'Your Phone').

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Unigram Mobile Messenger (Telegram) debuts

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Telegram is an increasingly popular Internet messaging service, one that's fully encrypted, has no limits or fees, one which encourages groups and communities, and one which has nothing to do with Google or Facebook. And, on Windows 10 Mobile, we did have an excellent client, Unigram UWP, last featured here. But the developer has moved on to PC-only builds on more recent branches of Windows, so developer 'abaculi' has taken the code from Unigram UWP and rebuilt it into a separate application, Unigram Mobile Messenger.

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OneNote now dark on Android, now caught up with Windows?

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With even the latest Windows 10 Mobile versions now out of official support, it really is time to think about the colour of the grass 'on the other side'. I've been using iOS and Android, alternately, for the last year, and thought it was noteworthy that the last major Microsoft/Windows service (arguably) is now dark on Android. Why dark? Pioneered on Windows Phone back in the day, dark themes save power and save your eyesight when needed!

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Awesome Tube UWP updates round-up for 2019/2020

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Playing YouTube videos in a third party application has never been trivial, even back at the dawn of Windows Phone. Microsoft tried it and got shut down hard by Google. So for the last four years (at least) it's been down to small third party developers reverse engineering YouTube's streams, dodging API changes, and ripping parts of HTML5 pages, as needed. Every few months, YouTube changes something and breaks the clients and then we await fixes. And here credit to Chococode, whose Awesome Tube client has adapted quickly each time. Even if feature development is now officially stopped for Windows 10 Mobile - we still get the fixes!

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Twitter PWA gets flurry of updated features

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Last covered here back in February, Twitter keeps on improving its Twitter PWA, most easily accessed on Windows 10 Mobile through the official UWP Store application, even if the code changes are all server-side. Still, Twitter gets smoother and more functional week by week - it's the flagship social network for W10M these days. Here's what's new, updated and fixed!

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