Christian Cawley is MakeUseOf's security editor, Android tinkerer, Windows Phone mentalist, and Doctor Who fan. Follow him as @thegadgetmonkey on Twitter.
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Christian's Latest Posts
A recent trip to a local used goods store brought me into contact with the LG Optimus 3D P920. Following some quick checks online via my usual phone, I bought the device – and soon made an interesting discovery: Beside the usual USB port was an HDMI connector. The world of viewing Android through a HDTV was just minutes away – and it can be for you, too (even if your phone has no such connector!).
Since its initial release in 2010, Windows Phone has generally had a reputation as the “other”. Neither iOS nor Android but something else entirely, its curious and fast user interface has led to it experiencing a slow adoption rate as consumers struggled to work out whether it is a smartphone for leisure or productivity, gaming or business. The truth is, like a desktop PC, it is all of these things and much more.
One of my fondest gaming memories is Wings, a World War I fighter plane arcade simulator released on the Amiga back in 1991. It was the first game in which I was able to create a profile, it offered three different gaming options within the pilot’s career and most of all it was hugely playable and addictive. Sadly over the years I’ve never been able to find a game that comes close. Rise of Glory is a Windows Phone game with a similar premise.
I own a Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone, running Windows Phone 8. It features a rear-facing 8.7-megapixel camera equipped with a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens and is capable of 1080p HD video capture, with PureView technology. The front-facing camera, meanwhile, is 1.3 megapixel with video capture in 720p resolution. It’s all very nice, and the results are stunning when played back on a big screen TV, PC, tablet or on the phone itself.
It’s unusual for me to find a platform game that I would call fun (see my review of ilomilo for more on this), even more unusual that I should return to it again and again. But that is exactly what has been happening with Call of Carlos, a free Windows Phone game that features a jumping diamond miner, his versatile pickaxe and some fast-rising molten lava! Surely it can’t be the promise of virtual riches as Carlos collects the diamonds, so what is the attraction?
How do you use your Windows Phone? I know a lot of users who are purely addicted to a combination of WhatsApp and Xbox Live gaming. Others enjoy their Windows Phones purely due to the social networking options (which are admittedly impressive). Then there are also those of us who take advantage of the various productivity tools. Email is of course one of these (along with the mobile Microsoft Office).
Windows Phone has one or two frustrating omissions. One of these is an easy toggle button to enable and display wireless networking, mobile Internet, Bluetooth pretty much anything concerning communication. Rather than a simple on/off button on the Start screen, users must open the settings menu and flick the on/off switch. Surely there is an app-based solution to this?
One of the most important things about using a smartphone is the ease with which you can compose and send messages. These might be SMS/MMS messages, emails or even a social network. The important thing, of course, is that you are able to get in touch with the other person as easily and efficiently as possible. Certain mobile phone platforms prevent this. In the case of Windows Phone 8 there are many improvements over competitors.
The upgrade from Windows Phone 7/7.5 has brought with it several benefits, in particular increased integration between the camera and third party apps. We previously looked at taking photos with Windows Phone last year, but since then things have changed quite a bit. In addition, management of images has also been overhauled, with better synchronization […]
Although it is not an actual movie tie-in, Dredd vs Zombies was released for several gaming platforms in 2012 and has recently become available for Windows Phone. While there are similarities between the game and the movie (the single-word reference to the character’s name, the “clean-up” of enemies and the persistent progress through locations), this isn’t a tie-in. It’s something else entirely!
Those pesky zombies – even when they’re not described as such, have become the de facto earthbound opponent in many video games, and that’s the case in Extraction: Project Outbreak for Windows Phone in which a bunch of “bio-engineered weapons” have gone rogue and escaped. The result is that you take charge of a military contractor who drops in to exterminate the zombies, in a sort of action/strategy game combo.
Photos are fun – the rise of successful snap-and-filter apps and services such as Instagram and its “fake Polaroid junkies” are proof of this – but sometimes it’s possible that we don’t fully realise the potential of the images we snap, particularly on digital cameras and smartphones. I stumbled across Morfo back in 2010, shortly after the release of Windows Phone 7.
Despite being considered a platform with “hardly any apps”, Windows Phone has a remarkable amount of good games available. Among these is Doodle God, a quirky little title that originally found life on the iPhone in June 2010 before quickly spreading to Windows Phone in November of that year. Sticking the word “god” into the title of a game adds a certain element of power, quality and all-round awesomeness, things that aren’t always well-deserved.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, home computers didn’t rely on dedicated monitors to display operating systems, applications and games. In those days, things were far simpler. Instead of paying extra for a monitor, the majority of home computer and console owners were happy to use their televisions. It might seem odd now, but 30 years ago people thought little of ignoring TV programs to play video games.
Over the past few months I’ve been getting to grips with Windows 8 in its most ideal format, on a touchscreen device. The experience has been largely favorable, although as far as the new Metro/Modern UI goes, I tend to restrict its use to the tablet display while enjoying traditional computing through an external monitor. This setup works for me, enabling me to get on with work while able to quickly check news, weather or listen to the radio.