Back in the day (2013), the (Finnish) Nokia Lumia 1020 launched with the PD-95G, a grip accessory that clamped onto the back and bottom of the phone to provide a chunky DSLR-style grip. It came complete with 'pro-grade' shutter button and, interestingly, a built-in power bank (though not a very big one) to help keep the 1020 going, but the core idea was to enhance creativity by making the Lumia feel like a DSLR. And the idea just made a come back, albeit for Apple iPhones, thanks to the (Norwegian) 'Fjorden' system, just launched on Kickstarter. See the demos here, it looks superbly thought out so far, with just two caveats for me personally, of which more below.
Recent News - Windows Phone 8
With the huge success of Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) on the desktop PC, it's only natural that attention has been given to improving mobile flight sims, i.e. those you can enjoy on the smartphone, without the headache of scheduling hours on a huge desktop set-up, with yokes, multiple monitors, and more. And with ever-more powerful mobile chipsets, enabling desktop-class graphics. Why not just enjoy a quick flight from your local airport in photorealistic glory, round the coastline, and back, all on your phone with nothing but your hands to tilt the device? Here's news from mobile favourite Infinite Flight...
Starting off (in the smartphone world) with Series 60 (on Symbian) handsets, transitioning through Windows Phone 7.x phones, and ending up on Android, LG has officially closed its Mobile division, with the short statement quoted below. It's been a rocky road for LG, but even back in the mid 2000s at the Symbian shows, I never really felt their heart was in it, at least in terms of selling to - and supporting - the West. Some thoughts and a few looks back below.
For anything which can run full-on Windows 10, a significant new UI and services element just hit the Dev Channel (my Surface Pro is on this, hence the screenshots below). See also the quote from Microsoft about this - adding weather and more to the taskbar is a nice touch providing one has the screen real estate.
A day later than planned, but Microsoft has now thrown the server-side switch on Office Lens as a separate app on both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Desktop. From now on, it's a service inside the likes of Office (for all platforms). Which makes sense in a way and it's nice to have it integrated, but I for one will miss it as a general purpose OCR and archival tool. See below for links, quotes and screenshots.
For the last 20 years of smartphone cameras, from the earliest Symbian handsets (Nokia Nseries, mainly, then the 808 PureView) through the Lumias (1020, 950, mainly), and with iPhones and Android handsets also providing highlights here and there, users have had two main options in terms of phone imaging, both compromised. That changes this week, do please read on.
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
The story so far: HERE Maps (née Nokia Maps, then Navteq) provided all the map data for the mapping and car navigation in Windows Phone for years*. Windows 10 brought a first party mapping client from Microsoft, but using all the HERE map data under the hood, on Desktop and Mobile. But over the last few years Microsoft has been getting cosier with TomTom, a rival map (and traffic data) supplier, and has now announced that future map updates will come from TomTom. Details below, plus I muse on how this affects Windows 10 Mobile and 'Windows 10 Maps' on our phones.
The trouble with launching a flagship smartphone a full year before availability (in this case, for reasons of encouraging developers to write for a new form factor) is that the specs can end up being a bit... underwhelming. And while I'm certainly not a benchmark obsessive, there are some spec points which - if true - will be very disappointing. Specifically, in term of imaging, battery, and Google Pay compatibility.
With even the latest Windows 10 Mobile versions now out of official support, it really is time to think about the colour of the grass 'on the other side'. I've been using iOS and Android, alternately, for the last year, and thought it was noteworthy that the last major Microsoft/Windows service (arguably) is now dark on Android. Why dark? Pioneered on Windows Phone back in the day, dark themes save power and save your eyesight when needed!