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Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:00:03 GMT

 



Apple strike out in imaging with the iPhone 7 Plus and ex-Nokian Ari

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 06:54:29 GMT

Many of you will have seen Apple's launch of the iPhone 7 Plus yesterday evening - yes, it's iOS, but its camera is noteworthy - in part because its technical breakthrough owes a lot to a certain ex-Nokian, Ari Partinen, who moved to Apple a couple of years ago. Yes, I know that Apple has a big imaging team, but my suspicions that Ari played a significant part in Apple's new camera system were confirmed when the man himself retweeted me during the night (i.e. day time in San Francisco).




Where's the character? Fall in love, not into utility

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 06:47:00 GMT

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?




InstaPro (Instagram) for Symbian gets huge updates

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 08:51:47 GMT

Born as 'Instagram' for Symbian (last covered here) and then presumably renamed to avoid legal action(!), InstaPro has had numerous updates in recent months, so here's a shout out to the latest version, v4.1.0, now available in the AppList stpre for Symbian.




Lumia 1520 vs Note 7... and Symbian?

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 09:29:45 GMT

When I emailed the article "Hello Android... but not goodbye Windows!" to Steve, I casually remarked that maybe I could pen an article comparing the Galaxy Note 7 to the Lumia 1520. Steve did not bat an eyelid and quickly snapped up the offer. I then stared at myself in the mirror and muttered, "What did I let myself into?" 14 days on...




Xenon pops up in the smartphone world again

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 08:17:48 GMT

Proper (Xenon) flash has been something of a major bullet point for many Symbian and Windows Phone users over the last decade. From Nokia N82 to N8 to 808 to Lumia 1020, Xenon is where it's at if you want super-crisp evening shots of people (think parties, receptions, and so on). And yet Xenon has been very rare in the smartphone world generally, i.e. away from classic Nokias. Yesterday at IFA 2016 in Germany though, Motorola announced a new 'Moto Mod' from camera specialists Hasselblad that includes a Xenon flash and transforms a brand new Moto Z phone into a DSLR of sorts. Yes, it's Android, but this tech development is very definitely a 'link of interest' here, I think.




All About Rafe Blandford(!)

Sat, 20 Aug 2016 06:55:20 GMT

In a break from traditional content, here's something that the 361 team recorded a few days ago... It's AAS & AAWP editor/publisher/owner Rafe Blandford's 'origin' story. Packed with details that even I didn't know and with a few chuckles along the way, this is a must-listen hour of chat for anyone who reads the sites. 




Flash back: 8 things the Lumia 950 and the Nokia N95 have in common

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 06:14:00 GMT

Now, go with me on this. I'm contending that the current Microsoft Lumia 950 and the 2006 Nokia N95 have a lot in common - more than you might think. It's just that there was something about the 950 in my hand as my main smartphone that reminded me of a feeling I'd not had for a decade. Then it hit me. Ten years ago I'd had the ground-breaking N95....




Mini-review: ROMOSS RoLink Hybrid cable - microUSB and Lightning!

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 06:14:00 GMT

OK, so this is a little bit trivial - it's just a data/charge cable. But it's also rather cool, in that the connector works with both microUSB and Apple Lightning ports. "What!" I hear you exclaim. And I share your shock - how on earth is this possible? I show how below!




Juha Alakarhu: end of an era in imaging, but I'd argue that has also plateaued

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 17:32:29 GMT

Today marks the first for Juha Alakarhu back at Nokia, though this isn't quite as significant as it sounds, see my thoughts below. Of course, we're very happy that he's back in an imaging-related job and in his beloved Finland!




Why are we stuck at 75% (screen-to-body ratio)?

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:41:00 GMT

Despite the various pros and cons for 'touch' over the years, we're firmly in a mode in the tech world now where touch makes the most sense, in terms of text input, controls and general interaction. So why haven't we seen screen sizes increase to fill most of the front area of our phones? I examine the history of the form factor, in terms of screen-to-body ratio, and wonder whether we can't have our cake and eat it, in terms of phones that are manageable yet with monster displays...




15 Nokia N8s make up a Mobile Muster

Sun, 17 Jul 2016 20:53:00 GMT

Here's something interesting - and it features 15 Nokia N8s, would you believe... Artist Paul Sattress has assembled the discarded Symbian flagships from 2010 into an art installation, video shown below, part of the 'Mobile Muster' trade display, to be shown off on August 10th 2016.




AMOLED is better than LCD?

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:51:54 GMT

This will come as no surprise to anyone reading my writings on AAS and AAWP, but AMOLED screens really are prettier and more colourful. And thinner (than LCD). Which is why nearly all high end Nokia and Microsoft smartphones over the last seven years have used AMOLED technology. However, they also have much lower life, have to be produced with pixels in a pentile matrix, and can over-do the colour saturation to the point where things don't look realistic anymore. Very much a 'pros v cons' arrangement then. There's a new pro-AMOLED video embedded below, from Samsung, which is worth watching, but I've also included links to some relevant old articles of my own...




Whatsapp to stop working on Symbian at the end of 2016

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:46:10 GMT

Thanks to Lawrence W for the heads-up and photo below - it seems that Whatsapp, a faithful stalwart on Symbian for a decade, is to end support for the platform at the end of this year. One by one, modern services are ending support for Symbian - obviously by not coding for it anymore, but also - as in this case - by a physical break in service, probably because servers dedicated to handling Symbian-specific traffic are being reassigned or decommissioned.




Mini-review: NaturalRays waterproof all-purpose speaker

Fri, 10 Jun 2016 13:56:43 GMT

OK, I officially have a new 'go to' accessory for my 'ultra-light' man-bag. We've all seen a thousand Bluetooth speakers reviewed on sites and blogs, but this one's slightly different, both in form and, yes, function. You see, in addition to being a diminutive waterproof Bluetooth speaker, it also has an Aux in and cable to play music from any wired source, plus it even has music-playing smarts with an integral microSD slot to supply the tunes. Gulp. Quite a bit to get through then, below!




QDL, cuteTube and cuteRadio get updates, make sure you stay current

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 16:39:31 GMT

Big changes are afoot at long time Symbian stalwart developer Marxoft, with a brand new release of his Qt-based DownLoad manager (QDL), plus corresponding new versions of cuteTube and cuteRadio, see all the quotes and links below. Note that these new versions are newer than those in the AppList Store (which seems to have gone quiet).




Microsoft selling feature phone business to FIH Mobile (Foxconn) and HMD (in Finland)

Wed, 18 May 2016 10:50:16 GMT

Although not directly relevant to AAS or AAWP, this is certainly of tangential interest. Microsoft acquired the Nokia feature phone (i.e. extreme low end, below Symbian) business when it bought Nokia's Devices division, but it never really wanted it (no matter what it said at the time). It seems that now is the right time to sell it off this part of the company, in a complex deal, to a subsidiary of Foxconn, one of the largest OEMs in the world, along with a new company, HMD, based in Finland. The latter is partly made up of ex-Nokia staff and will provide the management and design, while Foxconn/FIH will provide the manufacturing and testing facilities. The Nokia-branded feature phones still sell in decent numbers, mainly to developing markets which either can't afford smartphones or don't have the infrastructure to make the most of them.




Video sound capture tested: 808/1020/950/Marshall

Fri, 13 May 2016 08:29:00 GMT

One of the requests in the comments recently was to test audio capture when shooting videos. And, as it happens, I'd been thinking about doing this for a while anyway. So I headed out with six smartphones and tried to shoot video and audio in as controlled conditions as possible: in a quiet garden, by a windy, noisy road, and in a rock-level music setting. That should be enough to set the best from the rest, I thought...




Next time you get impatient with your phone web browser...

Thu, 12 May 2016 12:28:23 GMT

It's a theme I've been returning to over the years - that most users don't realise the work that happens behind the scenes when they call up a web page. What used to be (1995) 25kb of 'stuff' became 250kb around 2005 and now - 2015/2016 - a web page is more like 2.5MB, Per page. That's what higher resolution graphics, HTML bloat, scripting, trackers, animations and more do for the amount of 'stuff' that needs to come down the line. No wonder web pages still take a few seconds to render on a smartphone, even though the internal processor is many times more powerful than what we had a decade ago.




Xenon or triple LED? Investigating camera phone flash capabilities

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 12:42:00 GMT

One of the most popular sub-topics in my features on camera-toting smartphones is low light and night time capabilities. Now, partly this is about arty shots of sunsets, churches and fountains, but more usually in the real world this is about friends and family in living rooms, pubs and events. Which usually means relying on your smartphone camera's flash. With LED flash now coming in 'triple' form and with many differences in processing capabilities under the hood, I thought some tests were in order. Will Xenon, the original winning tech, still come out on top?




FileNotes debuts on Symbian, a slick text and notes editor

Mon, 18 Apr 2016 07:04:54 GMT

Described as a "FileNotes is a lean text editor for Symbian that provides convenient access to the files you need to keep on hand", this is brand new in the Symbian AppStore client today. Of special note is full physical QWERTY support, i.e for the Nokia E6 and E7.