You never launch a website "cold" so it should be no surprise that the All About team have been carrying a number of Windows Phones for many months before we went public with All About Windows Phone last week. Thanks to the assistance of the Microsoft UK Developer team, I've been carrying the HTC Trophy 7 since May, and it's time to talk about the experience of Windows Phone after almost six months in the field.
Metro UI is the freshest user interface design we've seen in many years - Joe Belfiore is Microsoft's vice president of the Windows Phone programme and he spoke in a small 'speaker's corner' setting at Nokia World 2011, explaining the origins and motivations behind Metro. Read on for the details and some of our impressions, including clues as to where the name itself came from...
I blame Apple. Although it didn't invent the 'app store' (that was Nokia, back in 2006), Apple was the company that really popularised the idea, to the point where something doesn't really 'exist' now unless there's 'an app for that'. Which is totally unfair, since many Internet-centric functions work just as well using what the web site throws at your smartphone. Here's a case in point: watching YouTube on your Windows Phone smartphone.
NFC, widely touted to be one of the 'next big things' is here already in the Nokia C7, Google Nexus S and Blackberry Bold 9900, plus all the new Symbian Belle handsets have it built-in and other manufacturers and platforms are sure to follow. But what actually is Near Field Communications and how does it work? What can you do with it right now and what will it enable in the future? Here's a bookmark-able primer that should answer all your questions.
One of the longest serving 'stars' in the Symbian software firmament has been Handy Safe Pro, working on every device from 2004 up to the present day. It's an encrypted database, of course, a way of keeping all your PINs, passwords, logins, reference numbers and much more, all safe from prying eyes. One key feature is that every entry can have a note and this can often run to dozens of extra lines. Which makes the tool very flexible, but how to get all of this information over to a new smartphone on another mobile platform? In this case, Windows Phone?
Amid all the anticipation and speculation surrounding Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have to move with the times and give up your staunch Symbian sidekick. Don’t be in too much of a rush though; while Windows Phone will improve over time, things aren’t all that rosy on the Redmond side of the fence.
One of the subtle additions in Mango, but one that I suspect is going to be very well received, is the ability to use your own custom ringtones. Until this update, you were left with the installed options and the hope that one of those supplied would be good enough for day to day use. Given the customisation options offered by Live Tiles it's great to see that you can now add your own tone. Here's how to take your MP3's and audio files, and get them into your handset's ringtone library.
Microsoft are rightly proud of the work they have done in the People Hub to make it relevant to the users of Windows Phone, but that doesn't mean you can rely on Mango to talk to your social networks. There are more networks than the ones you can talk to out of the box, and in some cases you need more functionality than Seattle has provided. So where should Social Network junkies turn to? Here's our five picks.
More of an observation than a rant (though see below), but the rise and rise of the REAL camera phone puts quite a bit of pressure on us geeks, whatever mobile OS we currently favour. You see, the theory is that "the best camera is the one you have with you" but in practice all smartphones aren't created equal in the camera department and that has unforeseen social repercussions....
Have you seen the number of applications that are little more than a list of website articles? Or launch a bookmark? Or are yet another eBook reader of the Project Gutenberg text of A Princess of Mars? Why are they all still flooding every mobile app store on the planet? Because I think, secretly, the stores love the spam.