Recent News - Windows Phone 8

DSLR-like grips: Fjorden is not for a Lumia, but for iPhone

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Back in the day (2013), the (Finnish) Nokia Lumia 1020 launched with the PD-95G, a grip accessory that clamped onto the back and bottom of the phone to provide a chunky DSLR-style grip. It came complete with 'pro-grade' shutter button and, interestingly, a built-in power bank (though not a very big one) to help keep the 1020 going, but the core idea was to enhance creativity by making the Lumia feel like a DSLR. And the idea just made a come back, albeit for Apple iPhones, thanks to the (Norwegian) 'Fjorden' system, just launched on Kickstarter. See the demos here, it looks superbly thought out so far, with just two caveats for me personally, of which more below.

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3D and clouds (and more) come to Infinite Flight

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With the huge success of Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) on the desktop PC, it's only natural that attention has been given to improving mobile flight sims, i.e. those you can enjoy on the smartphone, without the headache of scheduling hours on a huge desktop set-up, with yokes, multiple monitors, and more. And with ever-more powerful mobile chipsets, enabling desktop-class graphics. Why not just enjoy a quick flight from your local airport in photorealistic glory, round the coastline, and back, all on your phone with nothing but your hands to tilt the device? Here's news from mobile favourite Infinite Flight...

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Windows Device Recovery Tool goes 'offline', but there's a patch!

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As of a few days ago, Microsoft killed the Windows Device Recovery Tool (WDRT) on their servers. As I write this you can't download the Windows application and if you try to run an installed copy of WDRT then it fails at the first hurdle when trying to check 'home' for a possible application update. The good news is that there's a patched version of the tool that still works just fine - at your own risk, of course! UPDATE: Now restored at Microsoft's end.

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LG Mobile officially shuts down, ends 15 years in smartphones

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Starting off (in the smartphone world) with Series 60 (on Symbian) handsets, transitioning through Windows Phone 7.x phones, and ending up on Android, LG has officially closed its Mobile division, with the short statement quoted below. It's been a rocky road for LG, but even back in the mid 2000s at the Symbian shows, I never really felt their heart was in it, at least in terms of selling to - and supporting - the West. Some thoughts and a few looks back below.

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Netflix and Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile... lives again!

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A year ago, Netflix stopped working on all Windows-powered phones - the fear was that this was a conscious decision by Netflix to axe streams to specific platforms. In fact, it turns out that something was just 'broken'. And clearly the broken bit affected enough customers on enough legacy platforms that Netflix's engineers tracked down the bug and fixed it - Netflix works again on Windows 10 Mobile!*

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'News and Interests' hits the Windows taskbar

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For anything which can run full-on Windows 10, a significant new UI and services element just hit the Dev Channel (my Surface Pro is on this, hence the screenshots below). See also the quote from Microsoft about this - adding weather and more to the taskbar is a nice touch providing one has the screen real estate.

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Office Lens UWP loses all cloud converters

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A day later than planned, but Microsoft has now thrown the server-side switch on Office Lens as a separate app on both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Desktop. From now on, it's a service inside the likes of Office (for all platforms). Which makes sense in a way and it's nice to have it integrated, but I for one will miss it as a general purpose OCR and archival tool. See below for links, quotes and screenshots.

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Merging purity, intelligence and flexibility - ProRAW on iOS 14.3

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For the last 20 years of smartphone cameras, from the earliest Symbian handsets (Nokia Nseries, mainly, then the 808 PureView) through the Lumias (1020, 950, mainly), and with iPhones and Android handsets also providing highlights here and there, users have had two main options in terms of phone imaging, both compromised. That changes this week, do please read on.

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A final maps update for Windows 10 Mobile (again!)

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Earlier in the year, in May, we had an offline maps update for Windows 10 Mobile, months after the platform itself went 'end of support'. At the time, and with the TomTom deal announced, we thought that this was the last offline maps update we would see for Windows 10 Mobile. But not so - a few days ago we had another, with bang up to date late 2020 roads. Not bad for an out of support OS, I think.

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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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