Recent Features - Page 11

Investigating Windows Phone 'showstoppers', for users coming from Symbian or Android

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It's fair to say that most people agree that Windows Phone 8 is a great, if not perfect, starting point for people who are new to smartphones - it's slick and everything the beginner needs is there from the start. What's more contentious is how well Windows Phone 8 works for anyone coming from a Symbian or Android handset - such people are used to a lot of flexibility in terms of interface, hardware and the interaction between applications. Can Windows Phone 8 currently satisfy, as at the end of February 2013 with the 'Portico' update now rolled out to all? How much is still to come? In this heavily updated article, here's my honest assessment, based on months of use of both the Symbian-powered Nokia 808 and the Windows Phone 8-powered Nokia Lumia 920...

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What could have been - anyone for a Xenon-capable Nokia Lumia 720X?

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Regular readers of AAS and AAWP will be used to periodic 'Xenon rants', in which I lambast the industry for producing phones that, over and over again, have cameras which frustrate normal end-users when trying to snap people indoors or after sunset. These devices test fine with static subjects, in the hands of reviewers, but then in the real world, results of LED-flash-shot photos are almost always disappointing. And now we have the announcement of the Nokia Lumia 720, with the specific angle of being a camera-centric smartphone pitched for 'young and design-savvy crowd with busy social lives'. If ever a handset deserved a Xenon flash....

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No Symbian at MWC this year - but how are the 2013 competition doing?

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For the first time in living memory - well, ok, since the dawn of smartphones, a decade or so ago, there will be no new Symbian-powered devices launched this year at Mobile World Congress (née 3GSM). 2012's show saw the launch of the last ever Symbian smartphone, the all-conquering Nokia 808 PureView. And, as I've mused before, what a way to go out. Looking at the smartphone world of 2013 though, Symbian-free for the first time in terms of announcements, I wonder how the products being launched now compare with the classic devices already in our pockets.

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Looking at active installed base: Symbian easily third, WP to overtake by 2014?

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The trendy thing to talk about in the smartphone world is 'market share', of course. Thinking about the industry as 'business', its' all about current sales, how many units were shipped in the last few months, how much profit was made, and so on. Flip this on its head, looking at smartphone platforms from the user's point of view though, and a slightly different picture emerges. What I consider below is the 'active installed base' of each platform, i.e. the numbers of compatible handsets being used on a daily basis around the world.

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Unique in 2013: Pimping the Nokia E7 Communicator (update)

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The E7 was the first of the Symbian^3 generation to get 'pimped' by me, but it's the device in most need of Tender Love and Care, in my opinion. Especially so as, updating this article in early 2013, the E7 represents an almost completely unique form factor, one that's been abandoned by the rest of the industry. And this update is driven by the arrival of several software updates and enhancements, plus my own hardware experimentation. The E7 is still highly rated for design and build quality and the tips and pointers here should help any owner to get just a little more from their device.

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Shock: Why 4G and 3.5G are completely irrelevant 99% of the time

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Well, in contravention of my headline, actually these data technologies and speed aren't totally irrelevant. But they are most of the time, as I'll explain below. In fact, the whole concept of needing ultrafast mobile data all the time is horribly flawed, but it turns out that such data is, at least in part, a kludge solution to something our intelligent smartphones are supposed to be doing for us all the time, when we're not actively using them...

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Fastest and newest Symbian - Belle FP2, in use for real in 2013

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We're well into 2013 now and I'm hearing anecdotes from round the world about how few Symbian-powered phones people are seeing on the streets. Regardless of where the estimated 100 million+ current users actually are, I still find my main SIM in the Nokia 808 and I know there are many other happy(ish) Symbian users still reading this site. Which brings me to how practical it is to use a Symbian device (let's go with Belle Feature Pack 2 phones like the Nokia 701 and 808, since they're the newest and fastest) in 2013, surrounded by 5"-screened, quad core Android monsters. Here, at least, is a slice of how I get by. Your comments welcome!

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The eternal battle between style and protection

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Forgive me for going all generic and chatty and, for once, abandoning technical details and platform specifics. For this topic is applicable to all phone of all prices and OS persuasions. Well, maybe not all prices, as you'll see. I'm, quite simply, intrigued by the eternal battle between style and protection. Let me explain...

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10 under-appreciated design features of the Nokia 808 PureView

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You may remember, a year and a half ago, that I waxed lyrical about a bunch of subtle design points in the Nokia N8 that were usually unappreciated? What do you know, I've found ten such points in the Nokia 808 design too - find them illustrated and annotated below. Turns out that, like the N8, the 808 PureView 'is even better than you think'. For those that agreed with my recent 'No compromise' piece about the 808, this won't come as a major surprise, of course....!

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