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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Enthusiasm radiates from Eben Upton. He’s the driving force behind the Raspberry Pi, that small computer that has been revolutionising hobbyist computing since its launch in 2012. Tall, and dressed casually, the founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation is explaining to me the background to the amazing minicomputer. But Upton isn’t your usual computer designer. He and his team didn’t build the Raspberry Pi to retire on. What they planned was something audacious, something fantastic.
Facebook Home is the highly-promoted new Android app from Facebook that unifies messaging and socializing with a single view and launcher, a sort of home screen replacement. Meanwhile Windows Phone users have People, the contacts/social networking hub that is integrated into the platform. We thought it would be interesting to see which of these approaches to integrated social networking is most effective.
One of the things I love about a freelance career is being able to up sticks from my home office and go to a local café, bar or library to work in a different environment. It can prove extremely productive and as they say, a change is as good as a rest. I’ve even used the boot of my MPV as a makeshift office! While I generally have my Windows 8 Acer Iconia W7 series tablet with me in such situations, there are of course times when I’ve been caught out.
“Ooh, I’d like that new Facebook Home. Can you put it on my phone?” So began a quest of almost Greek Epic proportions as I first tried to explain to my wife that no, Facebook Home won’t run on her LG Optimus P920 3D. Later, after some research, I found that Facebook Home does indeed work on the LG Optimus P920 3D – and it works on many other older, “unsupported” devices too, just as long as you install a specially adjusted version.
When I became the proud owner of a Nokia Lumia 920, I was delighted to learn that I would be the lucky beneficiary of a free wireless charging pad, apparently worth about £100. Although there were a few hoops to jump through, the pad eventually came a few weeks later, enabling me to simply put my phone down to charge it, rather than struggle working out which way the USB cable connects to my phone.
To tile or not to tile? One of the most divisive elements of Windows 8 is the Start screen’s tiles. These square or rectangle-shaped buttons are effectively shortcuts to launching apps, and are often displaying additional data about the app they represent. This makes them vital, whatever you might think of them, and far superior to shortcut tiles. There are several very easy to use apps and utilities that can be used to create aesthetic and functional Windows 8 Start screen tiles.
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 […]