The tech world is gradually turning into a homogenised soup, but hopefully in a good way. Any device will, more or less, eventually be able to run any application or service, and it's down to you as to which form factor, which hardware you choose to use or carry around. In this case, I'm looking at two videos demonstrating 'Android on Microsoft', as I've termed it. We already have the Microsoft 'Your Phone' system, linking an Android smartphone (ideally from Samsung) to Windows, we already have Microsoft apps and services on both iOS and Android - the videos below show the new Surface Duo 2, with a two-pane Android experience with Microsoft front and centre, and a first look at Android applications running on Windows 10 Desktop, on your laptop or ultra-mobile.
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Cortana, Microsoft's voice assistant, was always a latecomer to the party, following Siri and whatever Google were calling their voice tech at the time, but it was right up there in terms of functionality in 2015. However, with the withdrawal from 'mobile' and with the ending of support for Windows 10 Mobile in January 2020, what Cortana can actually do has gone downhill, with many people, including me, concluding that the assistant was dead and useless. That's not... quite... true, since there are numerous voice queries that still produce sensible results. With quite a few caveats, as you might expect!
I know, I know, the Lumia range is fading into memory now - but fans of the way the likes of the Lumia 950 could be disassembled in seconds to replace the battery, then a batch of Torx screws and everything else came out, will love the new Fairphone 4, due in for review this week. In fact, there are even less screws involved than on the Lumia, the screws are standard cross-heads, spare parts are more obviously available, AND the assembled phone is bang up to date Android, competitive in terms of components, and has guaranteed updates for many years to come. And, like the Lumias, there's no need to use a case - ever. This, ladies and gents, is where someone clinging onto a Lumia should perhaps look. Below, I compare the devices, spec for spec.
Hugh Jeffreys is an Australian YouTuber and he's been doing some partial dismantling and component swapping in recent years, specifically to challenge the 'Right to repair' on Apple's iPhones. In the video embedded below, he explores the latest iPhone 13 range and discovers that Apple is digitally pairing even more components than in last year's phones. But is this actually a problem? Although I applaud the right to repair in general, the sheer complexity and quality of some modern products perhaps move them into different repair territory...
One of my favourite things a smartphone can do is help me go to sleep when my mind is whirling. Now, this isn't a new concept in smartphones, since there are third party applications for both Windows 10 Mobile and Android that play, for example, the sound of rainfall, the ocean, a bubbling stream, and so on. The idea is to mask out other sounds that might distract you from sleep and it works really, really well. Bringing me to this simple 'how to', highlighting that Apple has (quietly) added basic 'background sounds' into its latest iOS 15 - for free, and for everyone.
The latest in my 'Life after Lumias' series, and almost six months on from my previous article on this subject, I have several tweaks and a new pick. These are my top suggestions for smartphones to replace a Windows-powered device, now that Windows 10 Mobile is now long unsupported and as services gradually start to wind down. I've tested just about everything on the market and here's my updated verdict in terms of functionality, future viability, and - crucially - value for money! It's also hopefully a good guide for anyone looking for a new smartphone generally and wondering where on earth to start.
Shooting video on our phones is something we all do from time to time, usually when out and about with family, and especially with kids, who you want to capture as photogenically as possible at every age, so that you can look back when they're older. And, off to one side in Apple's tweaked Camera application for the iPhone 13 range, is a new video capture mode that aims to please. With this in mind, and with a superb example clip from an iPhone 13 owner, here are my thoughts on the new system, including how it actually works.
The final imaging test sequence with the Sony Xperia 5 iii before it temporarily goes back to Sony PR, I had several people ask how its imaging was compared to the Lumia 950/XL. And, with a new monthly update under the Sony's belt, I'm happy to oblige. Again, it's a 'bells and whistles' (and jacks and ports) option in 2021 for an old Lumia fan, but just how does the camera quality stack up? Sadly, I think I've found a significant flaw - (yet again, as we often say with Sony) hopefully fixable with updates.
I'd never have expected to write this piece so soon, but with the launch of the Surface Duo 2 last week we - surprisingly - have a true competitor to Samsung's all-conquering Galaxy Z Fold 3. I use the term 'all-conquering' with caution, of course, because these are hyper-expensive devices that won't approach mass market volumes. But it's still fun to pitch them head to head and see which comes out on top. Plus I look ahead to the Surface Duo 3. Yes, you read that right!
An odd one this, since I'm comparing two smartphones in terms of imaging where so much is nominally identical. The brand new Sony Xperia 5 iii has the exact same main camera as last year's well-thought-of model, but the telephoto arrangement is totally different, which is where the main interest lies - does the new dual factor zoom system offer a significant benefit? Don't worry, I'll test the main cameras too, since the chipsets and image signal processors are different, plus so is the software - Xperia 5 iii has an all-in-one application with different algorithms. [Cross-posted to AAWP for interest, and because AAM isn't errr.... finished yet!]