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Posts in category Microsoft

Review: LG Quantum Windows Phone

I had the chance to test out the LG Quantum C900 for a week and I have to say I was impressed.

The Design:

This is one of the few Windows Phones with a full hardware keyboard (although not currently released in the UK) and feels fantastic to hold.

With a sleek rounded design and a good weight too it feels fantastic to hold and is a dream to type on and I was able to easily knock out a blog post or 2 on the go without any real hindrance over a desktop PC – something which I can’t say for any other smartphone I’ve used so far!

The phone design appears to be based on LG’s earlier Android based LG InTouch Max GW620 (aka Eve) which was my phone for over a year and was frankly was abysmal – I managed to get through 4 of them – however it seems they have really improved and fixed all the issues and this is a really great phone and a pleasure to use – particularly that it now uses the Windows Phone operating system.

The Screen:

With a 3.5″ 800×480 TFT LCD capacitive touch screen display it’s a nice responsive display, but nothing special when compared to newer phones on the market like the Nokia Lumia 800, but it’s more than acceptable and provides a nice crisp image.

The Camera:

An important part of any modern smartphone the LG Quantum includes a 5 mega-pixel AF camera with built-in flash which is a great little camera for taking quick snaps when out and about.

The Battery:

The phone boasts 4 hrs 22 minutes talk time and as with any other does drain quickly under heavy use, could be better but not unusable.

So, should I get it Dan?

It’s a great phone and I really do love its keyboard but it is getting on a bit in mobile years, it was released in October 2010 and there are now better handsets on the market for a reasonable price. However if you’re on a budget and want a sexy Windows Phone this is definitely a great option and I’d highly recommend it if you’re a fan of hardware keyboards.

Review: Nokia Lumia 800

The Nokia Lumia 800 is the first Nokia handset to use the awesome Windows Phone operating system with some impressive specs such as 16GB internal memory (a big improvement on 512MB on my android) and 512MB SDRAM it’s a big improvement on Nokia’s seen previously.

I’ve now been using the Nokia Lumia 800 for a few months of vigorous testing which any phone I own goes through on a daily basis, it’s proved to be the best one yet!

The Design:

The Nokia Lumia 800 has a smooth and sleek design with rounded sides which fit nicely in the palm.

The Nokia design team have also made some interesting, yet well thought out, design choices in button location; the power button for instance is located on the right hand side middle of the device. This position means you can very easily turn the device on with your middle finger when holding it. This small design choice has a noticeable impact on how you use the device on a day-to-day basis and makes the “pick-up-and-go” nature of modern smart phones just that little bit faster & easier – No more fiddling with a button at the top.

The phone comes with it’s own rubber case to help protect the phone from drops, with the curved poly-carbonate chassis protecting it from the heavier knocks, unfortunately this case does become somewhat slack if removed too many times.

Also the flap for the USB charger, while useful as it protects the socket may be a breakage risk depending on how you treat the phone (it’s been fine for me), this is something Nokia has removed from their Nokia Lumia 900.

The Screen:

The 3.7″ ClearBlack OLED WVGA display with strong Gorilla glass finish is simply, the best screen for a smart phone. Extremely strong and resilient to knocks and scratches and very easy to clean while still being a responsive and it’s impressively good when in bright light too.

The Camera:

The 8 MegaPixel Carl Zeiss Tessar camera is fantastic, with an awesome HD resolution (in both photo & video) it’s fantastic quality, coupled with the Windows Phone’s easy point and shoot functions you can quickly take snaps even while the phone is locked. Not to mention the quick sharing meaning you can snap, upload & share pics within in seconds. Great for social whores like myself who can’t resist sharing that I’m munching on a huge bowl of cereal.

The Battery:

The battery has had some bad press, and many I know with the Lumia do have some problems with the battery life and yes. It will eat the battery if used a lot there is simply no way around that, but things have improved somewhat with the release of updates and being aware of the features left on (bluetooth/wi-fi etc) coupled with battery saver mode I have no real problem as a heavy user, but you do need to remember to plug it in at night… and when you’re at your desk is always a good idea.

So, should I get it Dan?

If you’re looking for a great smart phone which lets you do what you need to do quickly and easily I highly recommend the Nokia Lumia 800, it’s simply a joy to use and I love it. You can pick up a Nokia Lumia 800 SIM free phone for under £450 from Argos

 

Easy on demand Back Ups for Windows Phone

Ben Wagner from Ultimate Networx has made yet another handy tool for Windows Phone users, WP7 Easy Backup. The Easy Backup tool does not use any registry hacks or PSK files. It creates easy backups that include Messages, Apps, settings etc. Except for Zune purchases (Videos & Music). I have tested it on the Nokia Lumia 800 & it also has been tested on the HTC HD7 with full success. Unfortunately Zune does not currently allow for on demand Back-ups, the only time back-ups are allowed are when the device goes through an update.  

It’s an easy step by step to create a backup using the WP7 Easy Backup

Step 1) Download the WP7 Easy Backup Tool

Step 2) Extract the Zip folder

Step 3) Open the folder & click on Wp7EasyBackup.exe

Step 4) Click Next

Step 5) Click backup

Please Note: Your Windows Phone must be plugged in and screen unlocked.

During the backup process the phone will reboot into an unusable mode so hang on tight and wait for the backup to complete. It normal would take in-between 5-20 Mins (Depending on the amount of storage is being used on your phone)

Step 6) Back Up complete the phone reboots, you may see a notification on your phone which states that an update failed but that means successful backup.

So what if everything falls apart and you need to restore your device, well its even more simpler to do.

Step 1) Launch application

Step 2) Plug your device and press the restore button and in 5-20mins all your apps and message etc will be restored.

PLEASE not for all music, videos and pictures you will need to sync with Zune afterwards

If you have any questions feel free to drop a comment below.

NFC is NOT currently supported in Windows Phone 7 PROOF

I confirmed on Saturday that my source from Nokia said that NFC will be coming with Apollo & today Microsoft confirmed this because of all the confusion that was created by the statement given to TechRader “As far as I’m aware, NFC is supported by [Windows Phone], but needs to be enabled by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer),” said Coleman. “So, if any OEM wants to enable it that can be done by all means.”

Microsoft spokesperson said to Winrumors “Microsoft would like to correct a previous statement it made around Near Field Communications,” said a company spokesperson to WinRumors on Monday. “While NFC is not currently supported on Windows Phone 7.5, it is coming. We expect NFC-enabled Windows Phone devices to ship within the next year.” This falls in line with the current expected dates for the Apollo launch. Nokia showed a key support for NFC at Nokia World and I’m sure we can expect a lot of great NFC devices from them maybe even the Lumia 900 will have NFC

EXCLUSIVE: Nokia Lumia 900 Hands On!

That’s right we have been seeing Lumia 900 results popping up. A Nokia source got me hands on with the device & answered a few questions on it.

So first things that you will notice with the device is the huge 4.3 AMOLED screen which is a personal favourite of mine & a 1.4GHz processor.  As with all the Windows Phones on the marketplace currently the HTC Titan is the only other device with a big enough screen with as I was told “a nicer camera to compliment the big screen”.

Regarding the design on the device itself it is just a bigger Lumia 800, keeping the same design and button layout out. The only current differences regarding design were the current Lumia 800 push & click for access to the device & Micro Sim have changed into a iPhone style pin push access to the Sim card and no cover to the Micro USB.

Finally a change which will only go ahead depending on the feedback on the Lumia 800 is the case finish which the current prototype has a gloss finish unlike the current Lumia’s matt finish.

As I only saw a prototype & the device has a while to go till final production we can see a few changes yet to happen but I will try to keep you as updated as possible.

Launch will be hard to really estimate, although some seem to think we’ll be seeing it in Q1 2012 (note the picture on that link is *NOT* the Lumia 900), but we can look at around Tango release because the current prototypes are only running on Tango.  Finally as Nokia are such great fans of NFC I also had confirmation that the Apollo (Next gen of Windows Phones) will bring support for NFC devices.

 

It’s a done deal. Skype is now a division of Microsoft.

Microsoft announced late last night that the Skype acquisition by Microsoft has formally completed and Skype is now a division of Microsoft.

This is an exciting move and it we look forward to see how Microsoft move forward with the unique Skype technology and we are eager to see how this is incorporated in both Windows 8, and with existing video communication and video streaming software and technology Microsoft currently develops such as the Windows Live Messenger and the business communication tool Lync.

This now also means that Skype in itself can continue to move forward with its own developments with the expansive resources of the software giant behind it, helping them to reach their goals of easy, multi-platform and multi-device social communication providing communication between billions of people.

“Will the skype experience change? The answer is an emphatic no.” – Tony Bates, Skype President.

It’s important to remember in this merger, Microsoft haven’t simply expanded their portfolio with a new technology, they too gain the “world-class talent” of Skype. Watch this space, exciting things will be coming from this.

 

Windows 8 Developer Preview is here!

Many geeks have been getting rather excited now that the //build/ conference is in full swing and the first official developer release of the Windows 8 OS is available!

You can grab your copy of Windows 8 developer preview at http://dev.windows.com it is worth noting that if you have a MSDN subscription the download is much faster via MSDN.

As the developer preview is the very first release – there will still be a Beta, RC, RTM releases before the general release! – it is very buggy.

Currently I’m trying desperately to get it installed and am running into some of the issues with issues with trying to install it, and once have the install running there will be many more posts showing off some of the cool features you can look forward to!

I’m hoping to also document when I start developing some of my own Metro style apps, so watch this space!

Skype for iPad

Skype has recently launched it’s Skype for iPad app which looks pretty impressive, while I don’t own an iPad (if anybody would like to send me one to play with I’d love you) but I of course know a few geeks with them.

Chatting to a friend who’s been playing with the app it seems like it really is as impressive as their ad.

The Skype app for iPad provides a nifty tool for video calling, particularly with the ability to use both the front and back cams on the iPad2. With impressive quality the app is quick, sleek and has a fantastic capacity for games as well.

One of the small problems which was pointed out is that the chat box is a little on the small side which can make text chat a little cumbersome.

Check out the new Skype app below, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Skype automatically adds contacts from Facebook after activating video chat without permission.

facebook-skype-merge-img1So today’s big announcement was the relaunch of Facebook chat and its video call integration provided by Skype however there seems to be a catch to the service which hasn’t been announced and quite frankly has annoyed me greatly.

It turns out that if your Facebook friends have their Skype details on their profile, and they have linked Skype with Facebook at some point (say for Skype’s Facebook feed integration) and have activated video chat that Skype will search all of your friends and automatically add them to your friends list. Without asking for your permission, or at least not expressly.

It gets worse too, if your friends have also done this then there is no accepting the requests it just automatically adds them to your list allowing them to see when you are online with you being none the wiser. I only found out as a friend pointed out that I had been automatically added to his Skype and I had automatically accepted the request. Personally I use Skype and Facebook for very different things.

Facebook is used for social networking and lets be honest anyone who you meet and get on with will probably add you and you will probably accept, Skype on the other hand is much more personal and is more for people who you intend to keep in contact with on a regular basis or for meetings etc. not for every Tom, Dick and Harry.This needs to be resolved and dealt with appropriately and quickly by both parties

Kinect SDK leaked – Download now.

Our friends over at Winrumors have managed to get their hands on the Kinect SDK – go download it now and have a play with the tool – Get it here (32 Bit) (64 Bit)Capture