AboutJamieson Dean, Author at 1800PocketPC
With the announcement of the HTC One today, Nokia’s main Windows Phone rival has really thrown down the camera-phone gauntlet.
Despite initial marketing hiccups, Nokia’s achievements in the smartphone camera space have been under hardly any dispute. The performance of the camera in the Lumia 920 – particularly under low light conditions – is nothing short of incredible due to the combination of smart algorithms and the first genuine Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) to ever grace a mobile phone. HTC’s best effort, the 8x, whilst beautiful to lay both the eyes and the hands on, simply doesn’t compare on camera performance.
All that could be about to change.
Anyone who’s taken a photo during the day using a Lumia 920 will be aware that the photos turn out a bit soft – both in terms of colour and sharpness. This has been widely reported and, due to the strong physical specs of the camera, has been presumed to be more an issue with the processing algorithms used on the photos, rather than the actual sensor. Further to that, it has also been assumed that Nokia would be improving this soon, as they did with the Lumia 900.
Well, Nokia have listened, and are delivering.
Demand for Nokia’s Lumia 920 (what many consider to be the flagship WP8 phone) continues to be extremely high worldwide. Today was the launch of the device’s retail availability in Australia and not only were stock levels extraordinarily low, it appears there was only choice of colour (or not colour, as it were).
Reputable tech blog The Verge have stumbled upon a promising revelation; Microsoft are considering a notification center for Windows Phone.
Until now, there has been little evidence that Microsoft have paid any creed to the constant cries for the feature, but during last week’s Build conference a Microsoft employee responded to a query as to why the feature was still missing from Windows Phone 8 by saying “because we ran out of time”. He then continues on to say “I promise we’re thinking very very hard on that one.”
TechRadar have posted an insightful article on the design principles used in the Lumia line of phones, informed by an interview with Kevin Shields, Executive Vice President of Nokia.
It’ covers some interesting ground and really highlights the dedication Nokia have to designing beautiful hardware; a dedication that many of us are soon to reap the benefits of.
With the dust settling following Nokia’s announcements last week, and analysis of the new phones’ screen performance, imaging capabilities and wireless charging flowing strong (not to mention the obligatory scandal in the form of a not-so-genuine PureView advertisement), one new feature for both the new Lumia line up and Windows Phone 8 has received relatively little coverage; Near Field Communications (NFC).
Most commonly associated with mobile payments, NFC has experienced a slow uptake so far, despite the convenience it promises. Concerns regarding mobile payments sensibly center around security, and while such concerns can be easily resolved, NFC offers so much more capability than mere payments that it’s surprising how slowly it is being introduced.
ThingsToDo is pretty much exactly what it says it is; a to-do app for your Window Phone. Unlike many others, however, it is simple, intuitive and conforms beautifully to the Metro UI (copyrights be damned – I’m not Microsoft affiliated so I’m going to keep calling it that).
The developer describes their inspiration for this app in the GTD approach to productivity:
“We dreamed of a perfect GTD app for Windows Phone smartphones… which we are now bringing to you!”
It can be hard to express why we love WP when you have someone pointing out the laundry list of features their platform offers over ours. The simple fact of the matter is that I don’t need, want, or would utilise most of those features, and I just like how WP allows me to communicate. I don’t want to have every feature and app under the sun; there’s a limited amount of tasks I actually want to do with my phone, and you know what? WP does it in a way that is easy and accessible for me with the minimum of compromise – it really is glance and go (and beautiful to boot).
If you’re looking for more ammo in similar conversations, there’s an article over at lockergnome.com that’s worth a read.
JB Hi-Fi Now is the attractive and reasonably priced music streaming service on offer from the popular Australian retailer. Official apps for the service were released on other mobile platforms in April with the promise to soon bring the service to Windows Phone 7. It’s unfortunate that the release of the service was not more prominently advertised; a few Google searches turned up not much more than the original announcements, but it appears the WP7 app has been available since mid-June.
As fantastic a design as the Lumia 900 is, it would be an understatement to say I was disappointed that it didn’t feature the curved glass of the 800. When holding it in your hands it was amazing how much more ‘pop’ it gave the screen, like it was coming out at you (which I guess it does).
We wouldn’t all be on this website if we weren’t fans of the Windows Phone philosophy. Having everything available and at your fingertips, right on your start screen, is a pretty special thing. Most of my friends will scoff at the idea of WP until I show them how it brings your information to you, instead of you going to your information. How I almost never actually look at Facebook itself, as it all comes to me on my start screen. It amazes me how much the ‘Pin-to-Start’ function available to almost everything in WP has become part of my work flow; I was genuinely shocked when I couldn’t pin a specific OneNote to the home screen of my tablet (it’s OK, Windows 8 will rid me of the ‘A’ word for good). The focus on a simple and beautiful user interface and seamless access to the information that matters to you is hard to beat.
But we all also know that this OS isn’t perfect.