Recent Features - Software

Android on Microsoft - a tale of two videos. And caveats galore...

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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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Anatomy of a smartphone photo #21: Cinematic zoom and Healing

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In the latest in our occasional series on smartphone photography, I may have moved on from a Lumia as a day to day phone, but the ideas and ambitions are still there. In this example, I use zooming, cropping and healing to deliver a cinematic shot from an otherwise unspectacular scene. See what you think and don't forget to think about sending in your own best shots and the story behind them!

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How to: Edit video projects in iMovie ON the iPhone

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Although most smartphones have shot decent video for a decade, actually putting this footage to slick use using a video editor has almost always been something you would do on a desktop/laptop, after copying the MP4 files over. But I was recently forced to put together a semi-pro video on just my phone - and it turned out pretty well. Given the interest in this sort of thing, I've cross-posted this on AAWP as well as AAM, the latter since - probably obviously - the smartphone in question here is the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Now, editing big video projects on a phone is somewhat extreme, but see below for proof and some tips and tricks.

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How to: Play built-in ocean, rain, and stream sounds to aid focus or sleep

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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.

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Android or iOS? Is the Google-centric free-for-all worth it?

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The titular question is one I've been asking myself now for... four years. Ahem. Back in June, so three months ago, I looked at the internals and tech feature sets of Android and iOS, declaring them much of a muchness overall. So I've ended up spending almost exactly equal time with each OS, again and again, honing my workflow and summarising my experiences below, hopefully in a way that may help others when also agonising over everyone's favourite geek party question: 'what smartphone to get next?'!

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Windows 11 - Yes or No?

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Please excuse a slight, a very slight devation from 'Mobile' (as in smartphones), but it's all very relevant. We have (very mobile) ultra-light 2-in-1s and notebooks running Windows, we have Android phones linking into Windows, plus old-time AAWP fans will be interested in Windows' evolution. And I'd like to weigh in on the worth - or otherwise - of the recently announced Windows 11, since opinions seem divided, with tempers fanned by Microsoft's draconian minimum specifications for the free OS upgrade.

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June 2021: 'Your Phone' major updates demonstrated and reviewed

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Microsoft and Samsung's collaboration with 'Link to Windows' is reaching new heights of sophistication with the latest update in the last week, so here we go over the major features now available, in June 2021. The Your Phone system is available on other Android handsets, but not to quite the same degree - but it's getting there across the board. It's not DeX or Continuum, but it's arguably now as useful, driven by the PC more than the phone. The top new feature is running multiple Android apps at the same time on your Windows computer, but there's plenty more to impress. See below.

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All About... Bluetooth music

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No, not another site(!), but a genuine attempt to dig into Bluetooth music, i.e. hooking up your smartphone to Bluetooth headphones and the gradual increase in audio quality over the last decade. When did it get so good and what are the underlying protocols and numbers? Here's where you need to know your codecs from your acronyms and your kilobits per second from your profiles...

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'Piny - Pinterest with love' UWP updated for 2021

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A full four years ago I looked at a fledgling UWP Pinterest client for Windows 10 Mobile - and, believe it or not, it's still being updated, with the latest in the last few days. The developers, Chococode, are one of the last active UWP app developers compiling for Windows 10 Mobile, so credit to them. Piny UWP is now £4 if you want to zap the ads, so it's slightly pricier than it was originally, but heck, at this stage in Windows 10 Mobile's existence, it's worth showering active developers in beer, so buying them a pint in this case is money well spent, I contend.

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2021 Smartphone photo storage thoughts

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With Google stepping back from their original vision for Google Photos, year on year, changes are afoot in the phone photo storage world. So I thought a round up of your options in 2021 would be worthwhile. This being cross-posted to AAWP, it's highly appropriate to suggest that Microsoft's OneDrive, as used originally back in Symbian (as 'SkyDrive') and then Windows Phone days, is still perhaps the premium repository for all your photos and videos. But there are alternatives galore...

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