Category Archives: Windows

The rise of personal assistant apps

Google Now Personal Assistant
Google Now Personal Assistant

Mobile personal assistants like Siri and Google Now have changed the capabilities of our mobile devices.  They have allowed us to experience the web in a new way by simplifying how we organize our contacts, meetings, travel and even personal information. While these two assistants are probably the most popular, they are not the only ones that offer the service. A new breed of personal assistants is on the rise.

If you are looking for alternatives to Siri or Google Now, you will be spoiled with options. As mobile apps get better at pulling our personal information and analyzing it, they are able to let us quickly and efficiently locate what we need, and even predict our next steps.

Innovative new personal assistant apps

2013-05-09_09h52_52One of these recently launched apps is Osito (formerly known as Sherpa), created by Bill Ferrell, a former Google Adwords product manager. The app brings a new approach to “predictive assistance” by anticipating your next step and pushing that information to you. Osito is able to pop up tasks from your calendar based on your location. It will, for example, bring up hotel reservation information as soon as your flight has landed as opposed to digging for that information when in a taxi. If it is expected to rain soon, Osito will bring up that information 15 minutes before it starts raining, letting you make the necessary choices before you are caught unawares.

A wild Siri clone appears!

We are also seeing a number of Siri clones appearing on mobile devices. The Optimus series smartphones from LG, for example, now sports the LG Q Voice (formerly Quick Voice), which is an intelligent voice recognition software. Aisha is another voice recognition app which helps to query your contacts and make calls, send messages and know the nearest pizza outlet among other details. BlackBerry users also have their own personal assistant by the name of Vlingo, which is also available on iOS devices as well as on certain Android phones.

Some personal assistants can be quite interesting and offer unique interactions. Iris for Android, for example, allows your phone to talk to you on topics ranging from stock prices to music. Skyvi, on the other hand, is able to pull information about local businesses and even tell jokes. Have you ever wanted to access Facebook and Twitter via voice? Skyvi now allows you to do that. Voice Answer is a robot that answers detailed questions and can assist in many tasks.

Even Windows desktop users have also not been left out. Mitini is a voice over control app, similar to Siri, that runs on the platform.

Donna is another personal assistant that is basically designed to help you get where you need to be. It estimates the time and distance to get to your destinations, taking into account transportation methods like walking or driving and other stuff such as parking and getting to the building. Over time, it gathers your personal habits such as your favorite places to snack. It will even dial straight into conference calls or Skype if you are scheduled for an online meeting.

Conclusion

We are seeing more personal assistant apps coming out nearly every day. When one app doesn’t work for you, you now have a list of options to choose from.  Since its difficult to make an app that fits the lifestyle of everyone, we can expect to see personal assistant apps to start coming up for different niches and lifestyles.

Are you using a personal assistant app? Which is your favorite?

Game review: Jamestown, an arcade shooter for the modern age

The recent explosion of indie game development has produced a ton of amazing games and has revived several older game styles like the side-scrolling platformer (VVVVV and Braid being good examples). Unfortunately, those of us who were fans of arcade shooters like R-Type and Raiden have been left mostly in the cold.

Jamestown:Legend of the Lost Colony, an arcade-style shooter from Final Form Games, aims to correct that oversight.

Gameplay

Jamestown is a vertical scrolling shoot’ em up (“schmup”, if you’re fancy) which, according to Final Form’s website, is set on “17th-century British Colonial Mars”. The setting and narrative don’t make any sense, but they work as an excellent spoof on the horribly translated and often bizarre Japanese games in the genre.

Gameplay is simple: You are put in control of a ship. The ship has guns. There are enemy ships. They also have guns. Shoot the enemy. Don’t get shot.

Each level consists of waves of enemy ships followed up by a level boss. There are only a handful of levels available, but multiple difficulty settings, bonus challenges, and ship selections add variety to the game.

The brevity of a single play-through may not make much sense to someone new to the genre, but this is a game that’s meant to be re-played ad infinitum, building twitch skills and becoming in-humanly masterful at avoiding enemy fire.

Shoot the ships. No, not your ships, their ships. Image Credit: Final Form Games
Shoot the ships. No, not your ships, their ships. Image Credit: Final Form Games

The artwork, soundtrack, and gameplay are all excellent and fit together well. Pacing is perfect and it’s obvious a lot of work went into timing and designing each level.

Availability & pricing

Jamestown is available for PC & Mac via Steam, D2D, and GamersGate for $9.99.

Final Thoughts

The one piece that doesn’t quite work is the co-op mode. Huddling around a keyboard with three of your best bros, while true to the game’s arcade roots, just doesn’t sound like much fun (all of those bros take up quite a bit more space than they once did.). Even playing with two players on the same keyboard was a bit cramped.

An online co-op mode would take this game from “very good” to “almost perfect”. It’s possible that the high-speed, low-latency nature of the game may make this challenging from a technical perspective, but it would be an excellent addition.

Review: Steed, an attractive file transfer client for Windows

Utilities like text editors and FTP clients may not scream “sexy!”, but for us geeks who perform actual work with our computers, they’re critical tools. Unfortunately, these tools get so entrenched and build such strongly opinionated followings (people still use vi, for Pete’s sake!) that few developers try to build new, better tools.

A brave (or maybe they just didn’t know any better) trio of Frenchmen, calling themselves FrenchFry, decided that it was time to introduce something new into the stale world of Windows-based tools and just released a new file transfer utility named Steed. Inspired by their bravery, I decided to take Steed for a spin.

Overview

You may be asking “Why does this idiot keep saying ‘file transfer client’ instead of FTP?” Good question, jerk. I’m calling Steed a file transfer client because it does more than just FTP. It manages transfers for Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure as well.

Yes, I named my server Don Johnson. Don't judge me.
Yes, I named my server Don Johnson. Don’t judge me.

Another key differentiator from apps like Filezilla or WinSCP is that Steed’s interface isn’t a collection of seemingly random text fields and buttons. The interface looks to have been heavily inspired by Panic’s Transmit (my file transfer client of choice on Mac). Although not as polished as Transmit, Steed’s interface is clean and coherent.

I liked that Steed supports the sync of server settings via Dropbox and SkyDrive, which sounds like a small thing, but solves a big pain for folks who access lots of different servers. In that same vein, Steed’s bookmark management puts Filezilla’s Server Manager to shame by being much more user-friendly and a lot less Windows 3.1.

The less buttons, the better.
The less buttons, the better.

Most of my quibbles with Steed are due to its newness. FrenchFry tout Steed as being “beautiful” and it is much better looking than their Windows competition, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet. Some of the generic “templatey-ness” that plagues many .NET apps shines through around the edges.

The app never crashed on me, but I did manage to get it to throw some errors while trying to delete folders via FTP. Oddly enough, as soon as I restarted the application, it prompted me to download a patch that wound up resolving the errors I was seeing. So it appears the dev team is actively working on getting things cleaned up.

Final thoughts

I think the comparison to Transmit is an important one. For years, Transmit has been the de-facto file transfer client of Mac web and app developers, and Mac devs who’ve migrated to Windows have been clamoring for a Transmit-comparable file transfer client. Steed isn’t there yet, but it appears to be well on the way. I could see it being very popular in that crowd.

Outside those former-Mac devs, I’m less optimistic. For many developers, the free alternatives will remain “good enough”. If FrenchFry continues building modern features and adding polish though, they might stand a chance of cutting out a bigger niche.

Pricing and availability

Steed is available for a launch-price of $24.99 on FrenchFry’s website. A ten-day trial is also available.

How to rip DVDs to your iPad

Watching movies or TV episodes is probably one of the top things most people do with the iPad. You can rent or purchase movies through iTunes, but what if you want to watch a DVD on your iPad that you already own? You can convert your existing movies into a file format that is iPad friendly.There are plenty of sites offering free DVD converter software, a good number of which attempt to up sell you into a paid product.

The program I chose for importing DVDs is Handbrake. This software works the same way on both the Mac and the PC, however, for this how-to, I used a Mac.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to rip movies from DVD.

Step 1: Download and install required software

First you’ll want to download Handbrake. This software is free for both Mac and PC. You’ll also need to install the equally free VLC media player.

Step 2: Insert the DVD

You will need to insert your DVD into the computer that you are using.  This may cause your computer’s DVD player to launch and begin to play your DVD.  If that occurs, press stop on the DVD player and be sure to completely exit the program.

Step 3: Open Handbrake

Upon opening Handbrake, it will bring up a window that looks like the one below.  Handbrake is asking you what source that you would like it to scan for files that it can convert.  In this case, you will direct Handbrake to the DVD that you have inserted into your computer.  In the example above, the DVD is entitled, “PS_I_LOVE_YOU”. Select the contents and click Open.

Image 1

Step 4: Allow Handbrake to scan the DVD

Handbrake will scan the DVD for the movie file to convert. It will automatically select the file with the longest time duration to convert, which is almost always the movie that you want on your iPad. As you can see in the picture below, while there are many other files on the DVD, the longest file is selected is the movie.

Image 2

Step 5: Choose a location on your computer to save the movie

Click on the “Browse” button in the Destination section of the window.  This will allow you to choose the destination where Handbrake will save the file. You may want to save the file to your desktop so that it will be easy to find later.

Image 3

Step 6: Rip the movie to your computer

Click on the “Start” button at the top of the window and allow Handbrake to do its magic!  Your movie is now being saved to the location you selected in a file format that the iPad can use.  This process can take a while, depending on the speed of your computer.

Tip: Do not let your computer go into sleep mode during this process, the movie will stop ripping and you will not get a complete file.

Step 7: Move the converted movie into iTunes

Image 4

Now it is time to move the movie file (that you decided where to save in Step 5) into iTunes.  In order for this to happen, simply select the movie file and drag it into the movie section of the library on the left-hand side of the iTunes window and drop it there.  iTunes will begin to import the movie into its files at this point.  The movie will show up in the “Movies” section of your library with the original title of the file.

Image 5

Step 8: Sync the movie to your iPad

Select your iPad from the menu on the left-hand column of iTunes and select “Movies” at the top of the iTunes window.  Be sure that the box next to “Sync Movies” is checked and the box next to “Automatically sync all” (in the drop-down menu) movies is NOT checked.  Browse to the movie that you just imported into iTunes and check the box next to it.  Select the “Apply” button in the lower right-hand corner of the iTunes window and your movie is happily being synced to your iPad.

Step 9: Open the movie on your iPad

Open up the Videos app on your iPad and verify your movie is there.  Select it and you can now watch your movie without needing Wi-Fi.

This may take you longer the first few times you do it, but before you know it you will be a pro.

Top 5 Free Antivirus Software for Windows

Antivirus software provides essential protection for your PC from virus, trojan, spyware, worm, adware, root kit and key logger infections. One of these nasty infections could expose key personal information or stop your computer from working. As powerful as the web is, it is also a very dangerous place. However, installing antivirus software does not mean you have to break the bank. Some of the best antivirus software are free and have what it takes to keep your PC safe.

If you’re tired of expensive antivirus packages that slow your PC down then these free antivirus programs are the way to go.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition  is an excellent choice, if not the best for a free antivirus. AVG Anti-Virus Free is a full-fledged antivirus and anti-spyware tool, includes an email scanner, link scanner, scheduled scanning options, automatic updates, and more. AVG has been certified to remove 100% of in-the-wild viruses

Cons: Unfortunately AVG free has grown considerably in size, has very slow scan speeds and advertisements (but they can be disabled). AVG Free Edition does not provide adware/spyware removal (though it is available in the paid version of the product).

Avast! Free

Avast! Free Antivirus is improving its detection rates over the past few years “heuristics engine” and now ranks with the some of the best. Avast has the following features: full real-time capabilities including web, e-mail, IM, P2P and network shields, boot-time scanning, and a behavioral blocker. This program is also very light on resources.AVAST has been making this antivirus product since 1988 and is often cited as the most installed antivirus product. It also has a large user support community in case you need any help.

Cons: Average scores in PCMag’s malware blocking test.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a another fan favorite with great detection rates, particularly for rootkits. Microsoft Security Essentials has very few false positives, is light on resources and is good at removal of existing malware. MSE is a great choice for average users because of the minimal user interaction required. It is directly from Microsoft and it’s very easy to see if your computer is secure from threats: if the icon next to your clock is green, you’re in good; if it’s red, something is wrong.

Cons: The main downsides are the slow scan speeds and the lengthy amount of time it takes to quarantine malware.

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Panda Cloud Antivirus  protects you from several kinds of malware threats – viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and more – just like all the other free antivirus programs in this list. Along with Microsoft Security Essentials, it is an excellent choice for average users with a simple interface and completely automated features with automatic updating and removal of malware. What makes Panda Cloud Antivirus one of the top free antivirus programs is that it does its job from “the cloud” meaning the  antivirus work that typically slows down a computer is done on computers elsewhere on the Internet, freeing up your computer to work like nothing is happening.

Cons: As many free program installs Panda Cloud Antivirus tries to install a toolbar and set Yahoo! as your browser’s home page during the installation process so uncheck the boxes before continuing if you don’t want them.

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition protects you from viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and various other kinds of malware, making it a fully functional anti-malware tool. AntiVir does not include web or e-mail scanning capabilities; this is only available in the paid version.

On installation, AntiVir schedules a daily full scan. You can, of course, change the schedule or add your own scheduled events. By default its configuration page shows only basic settings.

Cons: One con about Avira AntiVir Personal was the configuration you have to complete after installation which might be difficult if you’re a computer novice.

Conclusion

A lot of time was spent comparing free antivirus programs and there are many more that are not on this list. Each individual may have a different need or use for antivirus software.

Unfortunately no package excelled in every area. Some were lightweight but less accurate, others were good at detecting malware but had a significant performance on your system.Picking a winner inevitably involves some compromises and may vary depending on your requirements.

After weighing the results the program that gets my first place vote is : AVG Free 2012. It has plenty of features and is lightweight making AVG Free 2012 a good all-round winner of the best free antivirus award.

Why I think businesses will ignore Windows 8

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning; I’m no Microsoft hater. I’ve designed networks around Windows for many years and happily supported them. I have many client companies going about their business with no Apple products or Linux boxes in sight.

But, I’m going to stick my neck out on one thing: I think a large number of businesses will completely ignore Windows 8.

Windows 8’s user experience represents the biggest change to how the operating system works since Windows 3.1 evolved to Windows 95. Ever since the first developer previews of Windows 8 hit the scene, I’ve chatted to fellow-techies and canvassed their opinions on the new OS. Their views range from indifference, to total bafflement as to exactly what Microsoft is trying to achieve.

Here’s why I just cannot see my clients taking an interest in Windows 8.

The Windows 8 Start Screen
The Windows 8 Start Screen

1. Users don’t care

When an individual gets to the office, they don’t really care what their computer’s user interface looks like – they just want to get their work done without the machine slowing down or crashing.

If you want proof of this, just consider the fact that Computerworld recently reported that 41% of the world’s PCs still run Windows XP – which does everything any business needs it to do. Yet, I don’t hear users complaining that their machines are “out of date.”

2. Users don’t like change

I’ve recently migrated a number of user groups from XP to Windows 7. Sure, the users do become familiar with it quickly, but they don’t embrace changes and enjoy new features in the way that computer enthusiasts do.

Remember that the fact you are reading this article places you in the small percentage of the population interested enough in technology to visit an IT website. Many corporate computer users are still getting their heads around copy and paste.

3. Businesses have no intention of buying touch screens

None of my clients will be easily persuaded to buy touch screens, just because they allow Microsoft to do things in a more “modern” (or more iPad-like) way.

Businesses spend money to do new things, or so they can do existing things better (or more quickly). They don’t spend money just to do things differently.

4. Windows 8 doesn’t know what it wants to be

Is it a tablet operating system, a touch operating system or a desktop operating system? To me, and to many of my associates, it’s trying to be all the above and not succeeding particularly well at any of them.

The way that, in its default state, Windows 8 keeps flicking between the tiled Metro view and the traditional Windows desktop is strange and illogical. If it stresses me out as a techie with Microsoft certification, I know what the users are likely to think.

Sure, there are already plenty of published ways to disable Metro – but if you’re going buy Windows 8 only to turn it back into Windows 7, then what’s the point? Why not just accept that…

5. Windows 7 does it better

I’m sure there will be plenty of home users and enthusiasts with touchscreen PCs who’ll grow to love Windows 8. Business users, however? I just can’t see it. With years to go before support for Windows 7 is withdrawn, consultants like me will edge them towards safety and supportability.

And what happens then? It’s quite simple. Windows 7 becomes the new XP, and Windows 8 becomes the new Vista.

Seattle shoppers preview Edibly, Bing’s latest mobile shopping app

Microsoft’s Bing has launched ‘Edibly’ for iPhone which will be available in the App Store despite the probable protests from Windows Phone users who feel that the app is exclusively for their platform. The application allows users to browse the Pike Place Market from the portable comfort of their handheld gadgets.

Backing up the move, Microsoft opines that the main aim of the release is to ease shopping stress and help consumers discover new products. The company calls the current release of Edibly a “pilot program on trial” since it currently can only run at a single location in a single city. There are plans for improvement if the pilot programs yields encouraging results.

It is hard to comprehend why a search engine would venture into such an investment. Managing and running this new app will allow Bing to deliver detailed information to consumers hence bettering its portfolio. The fact that the partnership brings more data to Bing is more likely their main goal.

Edibly gives information on what is new in the market and guides you through the entire process of shopping by navigating you through a digital map of whatever shopping site you visit. Apart from giving information about target market goods, the app moves a step further and enables the users to take a tangible action on the good discovered. For instance, entering a query about dinner resorts and reservations will be possible since ‘Edibly’ will morph to state the demand.

Edibly is in trial at Seattle U.S with its developers proposing the following benefits:

  • More shopping confidence courtesy of the market
  • A view page that allows product comparisons thus helping in choosing the best item
  • Save time by navigating through products in the market via a map functionality
  • Discover new products in the market.

Bing’s move to develop ‘Edibly’ shows the search engine’s interest in offering support to local markets by taking them online, where everybody is going. This contrasts against Google’s latest shopping venture that aims at turning the existent US product listings into ad spots. Edibly is currently still on its trial steps with promises of improvement and expansion which will, in due course, be revealed to the public.

Don’t look now, but here comes the Windows Surface tablet

The image above is smartphone photography in its truest form; taken this month at the official Microsoft Store at the Mall of America (across the walkway from the Apple Store), this sign heralds the next big step for the software/hardware giant.  Indeed, the Surface tablet by Microsoft is arriving in stores this Friday, October 26th, 2012.

And if one is asking what the heck is the Surface and why should one be interested, let me elaborate:

The Surface Tablet by Microsoft

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

The Surface tablet is Microsoft’s new investment into the touch screen tablet market.  It comes as a 2lb, 10.6″ 10 point multi-touch HD tablet (larger in both regards than the 1.5lb, 9.7″ screened iPad) with stereo speakers, a few USB ports, a micro SD slot, front and rear facing cameras, a headphone port, and a video display output port.  The tablet is supported by a 22 degree “kickstand” that can flip in and out for maximum viewability.

Image Courtesy of Microsoft

The main keyboard is a pressure sensitive interface that doubles as the protective case for the Surface’s screen, and for an improved typing experience can be upgraded to the hard, mechanical Type Cover. Both keyboards work in hand with the kickstand to efficiently turn on and off the Surface when closed or transported.

The Surface Operating System

Besides the physical attributes, the Surface is being advertised as two different tablets with two distinct operating system options.

Windows RT

The Surface’s first operating system coming out on October 26th is known as Windows RT, which can be considered like a “light” version of Windows 8.  All the iconic Windows Metro tiles are present here (Mail, Sky Drive, Calendar, Facebook, etc); with them installed the homescreen can be modified and tweaked to suit one’s preferences.  Additional applications and tiles can be downloaded by the Windows Store, which also act as the content manager for the Surface.  Windows Defender is also included as a safeguard for one’ personal data.

The RT version also comes initially with Microsoft Office RT Preview, which carries all the common Office products in a non-polished form (with improvements coming through a free upgrade later on).  And yes, all Office programs in the Windows RT system will be touch-friendly.

Windows 8 Pro

Although the Surface is being released with Windows RT, it is Windows 8 that will use it’s functionality to the fullest.  The forthcoming Windows 8 on the Surface acts like Windows 7 in the background, but still has all those pretty Metro tiles on the front end with similar connectivity to social media and the like.

Unlike the Windows RT version, the full Office suite will be available for the Windows 8 Pro Surface, again with emphasis added on the touch capabilities for maximum efficiency.  And because Windows 7 is essentially running in the background in Windows 8, the future Surface tablet will be able to run and install any application that have been compatible with existing Windows systems.  Networking and security will also be expanded beyond Windows Defender with bit-locker disk encryption, remote desktop access, and other IT management features.

The Present Situation

The main differentiation between the Windows RT version of the Surface and the Windows 8 version is quite clear: the RT Surface is currently available for $499 ($699 as the 64GB version) and the Windows 8 Pro version does not even have a release date yet.  But when Windows 8 Pro is released, the improved Surface will boast an i5 Core Processor, 2 extra GB of RAM (4 GB total), and double the battery size for usage well beyond the 8 hours the Windows RT surface can provide.

Presently, the Windows RT version can be pre-ordered from the Microsoft Store, but depending on the release of Windows 8 it may make sense to wait and see if the Surface can really stretch its wings with the added functionality.

Microsoft Office for iOS and Android has finally been confirmed for a March 2013 release

Microsoft Office is finally coming to an iOS and Android operating system near you.

Mobile phone and tablet users have patiently waited and hoped for Microsoft to release an app version of their pervasive software. There have been rumors and stories claiming Microsoft Office was coming to mobile/tablet devices for years, but the wait is finally over.

According to a press release obtained by The Verge from the Microsoft’s Czech Republic representatives, the company is set to launch mobile versions of their Office software in March of 2013.

In addition to Windows, Office will also be available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, IOS and Symbian” says the Microsoft press release.

The press release also mentions that Microsoft Office 2013 will be available for businesses as early as December of this year, and the app versions of the software will be made available to the general public at the end of February/early March of 2013.

There was no mention of what the app would cost iOS and Android users. The most expensive apps in the Apple apps store can cost well into the $100s of dollar range. While it is probably too early to speculate on price, expect the Microsoft Office 2013 app to be a premium download that will cost well above the average price of a standard app.

March Release Date: Coincidence or Perfect Marketing?

One of the first things to stand out about the Czech press release is the March 2013 release date. March has traditionally been reserved for Apple’s launch of its new iPad. Over the last two years Apple has announced the specs for its new iPad in early march and sold the device a few weeks later. Knowing how savvy both Microsoft and Apple are with their marketing, it would not be a stretch to assume both companies strike a deal to incorporate the Microsoft Office app into the new versions of the iPad.

While Microsoft Office may still be the gold standard for office productivity software many iOS users have found other apps to replace Office on their devices. There are a plethora of third-party productivity apps that fill in the gap that not having Microsoft Office leaves.

Microsoft would be wise to use the release of a new iPad to promote its Office app in order to help it again a foothold on a productivity market that has found ways to replicate Microsoft Office on mobile phones and tablets.

The scoop on the Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia will unveil its new flagship Windows Phone smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 920 at an event scheduled to be held on September 5th in conjunction with Microsoft. The smartphone has been designed to help Nokia maintain its place in the smartphone marketplace following the enormous challenge from the open-source Android-operated smartphone models that are flooding the market.

Rumor has it that the new Nokia smartphone will feature a 1.5GHz dual core processor, wireless charging capabilities, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera and a 4.5-inch HD display. The primary camera is speculated to be a PureView camera of around 8 megapixels.

What we have for sure so far are images of what appear to be the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone. They appeared last week with the only details being the name and that it will feature a 4.5-inch screen. Judging from the leaked images, the smartphone will most definitely come in a range of colors, a speculation that we can only confirm come tomorrow.

Reputed for its manufacture of hardware and software-reliable phones, Nokia must have put their best into designing and producing the Nokia Lumia 920. This is something good to the ultimate user of the phone. However, the rigorous testing and vetting of the phone design’s strengths and weaknesses is an expensive one, an explanation given by many techies as to why Nokia phones can be so high-priced.

The Nokia Lumia 920 will be released into a market flooded with relatively cheaper smartphones operating on Android and iOS. To gain a position in the gamble, the phone must have an extra software touch. For instance, Windows Phone has an edge over Android on multitasking, an edge that Nokia must exploit if they intend to shake the market.

Though the release date is on the first Wednesday of October, it is unfortunate that most of us will have to wait until late October or November before we can lay our hands on the gadget and try out the features and performance.