Nokia Lumia owners already have Play To, an app that lets them stream media to any DLNA-enabled device
, so a few might label the new PhotoBeamer
as redundant. However, you have to bear in mind that not everyone wants to go through the rather lengthy and complicated procedure of setting up DLNA on a computer just to stream a couple of photos. PhotoBeamer on the other hand requires no configuration, and can be used with any internet-enabled computer or TV to show photos from your Lumia device to a larger audience. Just point your phone at the display, select the album you want to stream, and the images will start appearing on the other screen without any noticeable delay! Sounds almost magical, doesn't it?
Unlike Apple's Maps saga, there weren't any complaints when Microsoft decided to ditch Bing Maps in favor of Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 devices. If you compare the feature list of both these services, Nokia Maps is the clear winner. However, that does not mean that Bing Maps was completely useless. After all, a lot of people (read Windows Phone 7 users) have spent the past couple of years navigating the roads thanks to Bing Maps. The unavailability of Bing Maps in WP8 can prove to be a bit of an inconvenience for users migrating to the new platform from Mango phones, if they are satisfied with what they were using and don't want to fix what's not broken for them. Also, Bing Maps offers better mapping for some areas as compared to Nokia Maps. Fortunately, now you can get the best of both worlds by enjoying Nokia and Bing Maps side-by-side on WP8. Read More
If you have an Outlook account with an alias set up, setting it up as your default Live ID on a Windows Phone can pose a myriad of tricky problems. Outlook aliases are a new introduction by Microsoft and while they can add convenience to your experience, setting one up on a Windows Phone is usually a nightmare, specially if your Live ID is based on a non-Microsoft email address like Gmail. Your emails might not sync properly, the OS might threaten to wipe all your past purchases or your ID may not get accepted as the default phone account. Luckily, there is a solution to all these problems.
Red Bull’s presence in extreme sports and Formula 1 has elevated it to a status that is far beyond a mere energy drink. The corporation has recently been involved in “Stratos”, the project that resulted in Felix Baumgartner’s historic space jump. In fact, there is so much going on under Red Bull’s wings that all the extreme sports and racing enthusiasts really needed something like World of Red Bull
. This Nokia-exclusive Windows Phone app has all the news, event details and latest videos related to the brand. There is so much on offer that World of Red Bull comes with the option to let users create their own customized feed by adding their favorite sports and athletes. Read More
Very few companies are big enough to get three shots at making a whole mobile platform successful, but if any organization can afford that, it’s Microsoft. Windows Phone 8 has been released as an overhauled version of WP7, which was the successor of Windows Mobile. The folk at Redmond are hoping that Apollo will finally make Windows Phone a relevant player in the smartphone market. If the release event is anything to go by, WP8 is certainly not going to be a pushover. The platform has excellent social network integration and has addressed almost all the issues that plagued Windows Phone 7.
Unlike WP7, Apollo doesn’t have to start from scratch in terms of apps, as it can run all Mango apps. Whatever you say about the platform, it does have some nice apps, and that means you will be able to get your hands on some pretty decent downloads as soon as your purchase your Lumia 920, 8X or ATIV. Following is a list of apps available in the Windows Phone Store to give you a head start in improving your WP8 experience.
While it is easy to backup your phone data if you plan to stay on your current platform for a long time, things can get a bit messy when switching to another OS. Windows Phone 8 is the latest smartphone platform to be released, and we are sure that a lot of people have been avoiding the allures of modern UI, Xbox integration and MS Office just because they have become too comfortable with their Android or iOS device, and don’t want to risk losing their data. SaveIt!
is an app that takes this love for personal data out of the equation when you consider switching to another platform. It backs up all your important data to the cloud, and you can import everything to any other device, be it on iOS, Android or Windows Phone (BlackBerry and Symbian are supported as well).
Windows Phone 8 has enjoyed a rather successful start, but less than a month has elapsed since the platform was released, and an eerily familiar story has already started developing. Quite like earlier versions of WP7, Windows Phone 8 is not as stable as you would expect it to be. There are complaints of short battery life, random reboots and even devices getting bricked. Since Lumia 920 is probably the most popular WP8 device till now, many of the issues have been reported specifically for it. While the folks at Microsoft have assured users that the reboot and battery issues are being looked into, you are pretty much on your own if your phone refuses to start at all. This 'bricking' has been reported to happen when users reset or wipe their Lumia 920. While some retailers and carriers are offering free replacements for such cases, there is a way you can rectify the problem yourself.
The inclusion of Kids Corner in Windows Phone 8 indicates that Microsoft is serious about making their mobile platform the best choice for parents. Admittedly, iOS has more and better apps for children, but you can’t just hand your iPhone to a toddler and not worry about dozens of photos of their nose getting posted to Twitter, as Jessica Alba pointed out in the WP8 launch event. The Windows Phone Store has more than 120,000 apps now, and quite a few of them focus on children and parenting. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to find these apps simply by searching the store. That’s where the WindowsPhoneParent.com website comes in, listing all the best and top rated apps for kids. While the website itself can prove to be quite handy, what's better than carrying it's official mobile client with you on your phone at all times? App Discovery by Windows Phone Parent
lets you browse and easily install all the best apps for your children, right from your Windows Phone.
Regardless of how good or bad a mobile OS it was, Windows Phone 7 failed to make any considerable impact on the mobile market, while both iOS and Android grew to become synonymous with the term “smartphone platforms”. It’d be unfair to label WP7 as entirely insignificant, as its Mango iteration is good enough to hold its own against other major players in many regards. The social network integration, for instance, is quite commendable, and then there is its unique yet simple interface that a lot of users have grown to revere, and a lot of third party apps have tried to replicate. While WP7 wasn’t as bad as some make it out to be, there can be no denying the fact that it has never posed a threat to iOS or Android. Even Microsoft realized that after some time, which is probably what gave birth to Windows Phone 8. The Apollo upgrade has the potential to make Windows Phone relevant in the smartphone market. Almost every feature that was missing until Mango has arrived in Windows Phone with Apollo. It is up to the users to decide whether Windows Phone is good enough to be held up against iOS and Android, but the following comparison may help you reach a conclusion. Read More
Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 back in June, but we have had to wait more than four months for its official release. Fortunately, the wait is finally over. The new Windows Phone SDK and complete feature list already out, and by the coming weekend, you will also be able to get your hands on WP8 devices (in the US). As expected, not much has changed about the latest member of the Microsoft family since its introduction, but the June event did not reveal everything. There are a lot of features in Apollo that were previously mentioned in passing and have now been explained in greater detail. Everyone knew that Kids Corner had something to do with content control, but the release event familiarized users with its precise working and advantages. Past the break, we are going to briefly discuss all of the latest Windows Phone 8 announcements. For a look at previous announcements, read the summary of new Windows Phone 8 features
we covered in June.
A glance at the Windows Phone Store should be enough to tell you that most of the games it holds are very simple. Just because a game does not have life-like graphics, or complicated gameplay, it might not necessarily be boring. After all, you can’t be in the mood for Call of Duty or PES 13 all the time. If you son't have any experience with programming, you might be a bit awed by the amount of effort even the smallest of apps require on the developer’s part. Create Your Game
(CYG) is a Windows Phone app that’s bent on proving that anyone can develop games for the platform, without any knowledge of programming whatsoever! You won’t even need to be near your computer to do so, as it lets you create working games completely on your Windows Phone. Admittedly, the games won’t be too complex, but the thrill of controlling every aspect of the game’s environment and controls makes the whole thing very worthwhile. Read More
Torrent clients and controllers might be fairly common on Android and iOS, but Windows Phone users haven't been so lucky thus far. There is a general deficiency of official clients for reputed services on the platform, and torrent downloaders are no exception. However, things seem to have started changing for the better with BitTorrent finally releasing µTorrent Remote
for Windows Phone. The app isn't just a glossy official client for a big name, and is actually really useful. Using µTorrent Remote, you can remotely control just about any aspect of the PC or Mac client. The app will let you view, pause and resume downloads, view and manage your RSS feeds or start a new download from your phone so that you don’t have to wait to return to your home computer to add a new torrent to your download queue. µTorrent Remote goes as far as letting its users save photos to their phone if the torrent contains any image files. Read More
With the exception of weather apps, Windows Phone's live tiles are best utilized by apps that deal with sports. It is always nice to stay up to date with a game on the go, without even having to launch an app. It is probably due to this attribute of the platform that the Windows Phone Store has a pretty decent sports section. Although there is a Windows Phone app for almost all major sports, perhaps the most well-crafted apps deal with basketball. We have already covered the basketball stats tracking app
, NBA Pro ‘12. Basketball Live
is a new release that might appear pretty similar to NBA Pro at first glance, but it has its own unique positives. Basketball Live lets users pin any team to their Start screen as a secondary live tile. Not just that, you can use it to stay apprised of all the latest news and related tweets for any NBA team. Of course, no sports app is complete without live scores, and this feature is present in Basketball Live, too.
Despite its increasing integration with many smartphones and apps, speech-to-text technology has failed to gain the trust of considerable users. A majority of people avoid relying too heavily on dictating items to their smartphones, fearing typos and low quality speech recognition. Siri or Microsoft's TellMe, while great for carrying out small system tasks, can get a bit annoying if you are trying to dictate longer passages to them (to be sent in an SMS). There are other apps that offer better solutions for dictation, but most of them are too complicated to be of much use in a hurry. Say Mail!
is a Windows Phone app that focuses on letting you compose emails via dictation without much fuss. The app offers just two main features; you can speak your messages so that Say Mail! writes everything down for you, or you can request the app to read out everything you have just dictated, ensuring there is never a need to look at your phone’s screen. Another great thing about the app is its surprisingly accurate speech recognition. Say Mail! gets almost everything right in the first attempt, and even if it doesn’t, you can manually edit the text later.
When it comes to fitness-related apps for Windows Phone, Endomondo
leads the pack. Not only is the app very comprehensive and feature-rich, it has a very nice interface, too. With the passage of time, however, a lot of other good apps of the same genre have started making their appearance in the Windows Phone Store. Caledos Runner
might not be the prettiest Mango app out there, but once you get down to using it, you are sure to admire the attention to detail and the kind of customizability it offer. Caledos Runner can be used to track your progress in just about any workout routine, but as the name suggests, it is particularly useful for tracking outdoor activities. Though, that does not mean you can’t use Caledos Runner indoors, as the app comes with options to let you add manual details to any activity. The icing on the cake is the app’s integration with RunKeeper, which syncs all your exercise data to the cloud.
Unlike its desktop counterpart, Internet Explorer is a pretty nice web browser on Windows Phone (albeit one without too many bells and whistles attached to it). As is the case with most smartphone apps designed for web browsing, the stock browser in WP7 provides users with a seamless and feature-rich browsing experience. This might be perfect if you always use Wi-Fi, or have an unlimited data plan, but if that is not the case, you are sure to feel the need for some app that focuses more on data conservation rather than bringing high quality, flashy images to your phone’s screen. Nokia Xpress
is a fresh release for Lumia phones, and it aims to provide a browsing environment that is quick and utilizes the minimum possible data through cloud-based compression. In addition to that, people can use the Xpress app as a feed reader, since the app’s Magazine
section displays content in its most data-friendly form (much like an RSS client).
Windows Phone 7 might not have been as successful as Microsoft originally meant it to be, but the Mango platform still enjoys a few perks that no other platform can ever have, simply owing to the impressive number of services owned by MS. WP7’s integration with SkyDrive and Office has earned it a small but loyal fan-base in a world dominated by iOS and Android. There are quite a few problems with Windows Phone 7, but when it comes to SkyDrive integration, things usually work out quite smoothly. However, there are a few minor issues with SkyDrive and WP7 integration, the largest of which is the automatic reduction of image resolution if you want to sync photos from your phone to SkyDrive via Zune. This is actually a feature in WP7, rather than a bug, as uploading full resolution images means using more of your data plan, which can be a big problem unless you are subscribed to an unlimited package, or always use Wi-Fi. Luckily though, it is possible to take matters into your hand, and choose the resolution for photos to be synced with SkyDrive from your WP7.
Despite interface being Windows Phone’s strongest point, a lot of third-party apps in the Windows Phone Store are accused of being a bit too simple, or poorly made. Some go as far as saying that a few of the stock apps and menus in WP7 can use a little spicing up. The camera app in Windows Phone is quite simple, and lacks all but the most basic features. While it can be argued that the stock Camera app in iOS has even fewer features, WP7 lacks the the kind of third-party apps that make up for this deficiency in iOS. Things are always improving for the Mango platform though, with new and improved apps coming out in the WP Store all the time. CamVintagizer
is a WP7 app that can be used a photo editor, as well as a replacement app for the stock Mango cam. The camera mode in this app offers an overlay grid, timer, flash control and choice of image resolution. CamVintagizer comes with an impressive collection of photo effects that can be applied on both camera roll photos, and shots takes from within the app.
Most smartphones are available in black or white these days, but if you dare to be different, and want your phone to be a bit more colorful, the Nokia Lumia series can be a pretty good choice. Lumia phones come in a lot of colors, and the Windows Phone operating system is cosmetically pretty good, too. When it comes to fashion-oriented apps, the “Lifestyle” category in the Windows Phone Store might be lacking in quantity, but there are some pretty good apps
available there. StyleSaint
is the latest fashion app that has been released in the Nokia Store, and deals with just about everything related to style. The app offers downloadable photos, news items related to the fashion world, and you can even use StyleSaint to create your own fashion magazine to gather your favorite stuff in one place.
There can be no doubting the fact that Bloomberg
is among the most popular news sources for people who are interested in financial affairs and the stock market. The network’s TV channel is followed by a wide array of people, and other services from Bloomberg are quite well-known as well. Despite Bloomberg’s presence in almost all major mediums, it’s not easy staying in touch with your business interests on the go. While there are some pretty decent financial management apps available in the Windows Phone Store, most people like to have a familiar name in the app list of their WP7. If you are the kind of person who is a fan of apps from popular services, having a Nokia Lumia device is a pretty good option, as many official apps are Lumia-exclusive, or at least arrive for Nokia Windows Phone devices before other phones. The Bloomberg app has become the latest addition in the Nokia Store, and offers just about everything you will ever need to manage your financial affairs and staying apprised of all the latest news related to the stock market. You can even configure your portfolio in the app, so that Bloomberg can keep you informed of your own stock’s current progress.