As an industry watcher, the world of smartphones has never been more competitive or better value. It's also duller than ditchwater. And, apparently, growth has now stopped and sales are in decline... With IFA 2016 just over in Germany, where yet another batch of almost identical 5" touch slabs were announced, I'm tempted to suggest that now really is the time to look for character in our smartphones. Where are the USPs? Are they now relegated to older, almost retro, devices, while new products fall over themselves to stay anonymous?
Guest writer David Addington brings us a detailed review of one of the landmark texts in the smartphone industry and a superbly detailed history of Symbian itself. Read the review and then grab the (e)book!
Apologies for the break in your normal run of podcasts with Rafe, but the chance arose to sit down with Damian Dinning, ex-Nokia and its head of imaging for years, the guy (with his team, of course) behind classics like the Nokia N73, N90, N93, N95, N82, N86, N8, 808 PureView and, of course, the Lumia 1020. The chat was in a quietish pub and is hopefully very listenable - the content is about 60% Windows Phone-related, 30% Symbian-related and 10% generic, but there's plenty here of interest to all readers/listeners, I think.
The concept of a portable power bank/emergency charger isn't new, of course, especially in these days of smartphones with sealed batteries, for which the only emergency option is usually to plug something in via microUSB. The Lumsing 10400mAh option is new and reviewed here - build quality is excellent and - I contend - the value for money utterly unrivalled.
We knew this day would come, but didn't think it would happen so soon. After January 1st, 2014, Nokia is no longer accepting either new applications or updates for existing apps into the Nokia Store. The email, sent out to all developers today, is quoted below, but my first impression is that the refusal to allow app updates is something of a contravention of Nokia's stated intent to "support Symbian until 2016". After all, without the facility to update apps to maintain compatibility with the wider world and to respond to security issues and bugs, the Symbian ecosystem is rather left in the lurch.
It's a fair cop, I'm firmly in camera geek territory again here. We see a lot of smartphone camera comparisons online (not least here on the All About sites), but all this talk of optical formats and pixel sizes rather gets in the way of the man in the street understanding the simple physics involved. To help out, I've summarised all available data on smartphone camera sizes and apertures and present the result graphically. So the Lumia 1020 has a 1/1.5" sensor - what does this mean? And how does it affect the ability of the device to gather light? This and much more below...
As a regular compiler of smartphone 'top 5's in The Phones Show, I find myself regularly finding myself happiest at least one generation from the current bleeding edge of technology, somewhat oddly. Causing me to stop and muse - what you might not have considered is that there are far more benefits than disadvantages in doing this, not least of all in helping your wallet out a little.
The market for sports trackers is increasingly competitive, with the freeware (and eponymous) Sports Tracker leading the way, perhaps. However, the actual cost of the application is rather irrelevant in this market. With applications that are going to accompany you, hour after after, up hill and down dale, what matters is how much they fit what you want them to do. MeeRun is certainly a polished application and is available for both Symbian and Meego here. The highlights for me are the efficient UI and the integral power saving lock screen.
Available today is a major update, v1.7.3, to one of the biggest applications in the Symbian (and Meego) worlds - cuteTube, the YouTube (and other video services) client. The full changelogs are listed below, but the highlights are full support for Vimeo, a new 'quick search' box, and a truck load of performance improvements and fixes.
2013 should see, somewhat belatedly, a feature that has been standard on Nokia's Symbian since 2009 (and also on Meego) finally make it onto Windows Phone. Admittedly, there are some technical considerations here, since the feature only works if the devices have an AMOLED screen (most of the Symbian smartphones do/did), but there have also been issues of OS support, I suggest. What I'm talking about is, of course, the 'always on clock', about which I eulogise below, along with gratuitous shots of owls and leaves....
In the second of an occasional tutorial series (here's the first part, looking at a murky scene-made-good taken on the Nokia Lumia 920), I take a recent photo of mine, also shot on a smartphone, in this case the Nokia 808 PureView, and show the quick-fire thought processes that went into creating it. Again, the tutorial is applicable to all phone camera users and again my aim is to get you thinking more when you next want to snap something photogenic. Comments welcome if I've helped and/or succeeded!
Transparent, waterproof pouches that enable us to use our tech in the pouring rain, down the beach or even, in extreme cases, underwater, have been around for a while, of course, I looked at Proporta's Beach Buoy last year. And now we have E-Case's eSeries 9, with smaller overall form factor and higher window-to-bezel ratio. Here's the eSeries 9 submersible case in action with a couple of likely candidate handsets. Summary? We have a winner...
Just a quick note that the Twitter client built into the Nokia N9 has had an official update pushed to it. There's no official changelog, but I'd guess on compatibility fixes after Twitter's well publicised change in authorisation and APIs. To check your N9, go into Settings>Applications>Manage applications and then tap on the right hand update tab. Screen proof below.
As part of recording Phones Show Chat 180, I took the chance of meeting up with three other longtime smartphone users, spending a happy evening chatting about all things tech. Although I did note a certain self-selecting bias amongst our choice of hardware, the discrepancy between our own 'picks' and the current sales charts/marketshare did take even me by surprise. Is there a point to be made below? Perhaps that Nokia really was crazy to phase out Symbian and Meego quite so hastily? Perhaps that these platforms remain interesting and challenging, perhaps more so now then ever?
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