Tag Archives: Windows Phone

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.

Windows Phone 7 Alert: HTC Connection Settings app is bad for your phone

Bad News Bears“HTC Connection Settings” is a free app from HTC which comes pre-loaded on some of HTC’s Windows Phone 7 mobile phones and can be downloaded from the company’s “HTC Hub” app or from the Marketplace. Unfortunately, this app suddenly decided that my phone didn’t need data access anymore – talk about bad news.

After enduring more than 6 hours without any data access, I decided to give Verizon a call and see what was going on. With a stroke of luck, Verizon’s Customer Support was very helpful and friendly (unlike some of my past dealings). The gentleman from customer support walked me through several troubleshooting steps, including reprogramming my phone on Verizon’s network, and was able to effectively rule out the idea that it was a problem on their end. He then told me to make sure I had all of my important data  backed up, because we needed to reset my phone to the factory defaults. After securing a backup, I went ahead and reset my phone.

I was skeptical that this would produce anything more than another headache for me, but to my surprise my 3G connection was then fully functioning. This led me to believe that it was either a glitch in Microsoft’s Windows Phone  7 OS (which is unlikely, since such an issue would be widely reported), or a problem with an app I had installed. After doing some internet sleuthing, I came across several forum posts about the same issue being related to the “HTC Connection Settings” app after installing the Mango update.

If your Windows Phone has “HTC Connection Settings” installed on it, I recommend that you remove it immediately. If you come across this app in the Marketplace, do not download it. It’s a pointless app that serves no real purpose anyway, so I doubt anyone would miss it. I know I don’t.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue? Let me know in the comments section below.

The Little-Advertised New Features of Windows Phone 7 “Mango”

MangosConsidering the expansive list of enhancements and new features, I can’t imagine there was a single Windows Phone user that was not excited about the recently released Mango update. We were given native Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn integration, as well as enhanced multitasking and Live Tile support, among countless other improvements.

But these features were no surprise, as they were the highly anticipated features that would make WP7 a relevant platform in today’s smartphone market. The purpose of this article is to expose a couple of my favorite new features that were not so well-known prior to release. Not only are these features nice-to-have enhancements, they have simplified and improved day-to-day use of my mobile phone.

Outlook Mobile

Connecting to my company’s Exchange server for email was great before Mango, but the user interface has been pushed over the top after the update. I prefer to configure my Outlook 2010 desktop client to display emails in Conversations, which makes keeping track of email threads much easier. When applied to the smaller screen of my HTC Trophy, this feature really shines. Instead of having to scroll through every email I receive, they are now grouped into threads, as they should be.

While this enhancement is nothing groundbreaking, it does bring Email on WP7 up to par with other mobile phones, further buttressing Microsoft’s relevancy in the rapidly changing mobile market.

SharePoint Mobile

Prior to the Mango update, the native SharePoint functionality was hardly useful, even for SharePoint professionals like me. The original version only worked with SharePoint sites which implemented Forms Based Authentication (FBA), effectively making the feature useless. My company’s Intranet site uses Windows Authentication (NTLM), which meant that I could not access any of my own documents stored in SharePoint, let alone any documents stored on my clients’ SharePoint sites.

WP7 Office Hub
The Office Hub in WP7

While the enhancement was not widely advertised, the Mango update added support for NTLM authentication, and I can now access project documents with a couple taps of my finger. I no longer need access to my laptop and WiFi to get at the documents I need to do my job.

Coupled with the Office Hub integrated into WP7, viewing Office documents on a mobile device has never been so seamless. This is a feature, if marketed properly, that Microsoft could use to gain an edge in the corporate sector, which would undoubtedly help them overtake the iPhone and Android as the mobile platform of choice for day-to-day business.

Conclusion

Microsoft’s not likely to usurp Apple or Android as the #1 mobile platform any time soon, but they are making solid strides to cement themselves in the #3 spot. As the smartphone market continues to grow, the value of a viable third competitor will as well. I love my Windows Phone, and I definitely love how it continues to make my professional life easier. If Microsoft continues to make the right improvements and learns to market these improvements correctly, Windows Phone may establish itself as a successful mobile OS for years to come.

A Windows Phone and My Mother: A Perfect Match?

It’s that time again. Yep, I am of course talking about contract renewal day for the family cellphone plan. For me and my sister, the phone choices are pretty obvious (an Android for me and an iPhone for her). But once mom starts talking smartphone, the whole cellular arena starts to get a little grey.

Now granted, my mother is already at an average level of technological intelligence. She does approximately 75% of her job with a company computer, uses a digital camera and can organize and back-up her digital picture library, and has all of her contacts precisely managed via Microsoft Outlook. So with that in mind, which smartphone OS is truly the best for her? Android? Apple? Or how about that newcomer by Microsoft, the Windows Phone 7? Well, I got to the bottom of it by doing an exclusive interview.

The Interview

Me: For starters, what phone did you have prior?

Mom: I had the HTC Ozone, which was similar to a Blackberry. It was a smartphone with a physical keyboard and [non-touch] screen. I didn’t like that the screen was too small, and it was hard to find the settings for the phone. It had plenty of settings options, but it had many different menu screens to get to them. The phone was complex and not very intuitive.

Me: Which new phone did you pick then?

Here's a hint: she got the HTC Trophy

Mom: I picked the HTC Trophy in the end [Which is a 3G Windows Phone OS 7 device by Verizon]. It has easy syncing with my Microsoft Outlook [through Microsoft Exchange]. Also, I really wanted a touchscreen.

Me: Is the touchscreen easy to use then?

Mom: It takes a bit to get used to…some training. Some days, I will touch where I do not want to, and an unwanted program will open. Ultimately I wanted to get to a new technology, and Windows Phone was the easiest.

Me: Alright, let’s talk contacts next.

Mom: Everything was done with Microsoft Outlook, so all my contacts synced well. I didn’t need to manually load any of them. I like the search function in the contacts app, and [when immediately opened] it shows me the last six to eight people I called. I can then take a person and pin them to the front home screen. Like speed dial. Besides that, [the contact interface] is easy to use. Once I dial a number or get a call I can add it to my contacts, which makes it very intuitive.

[Authors Note: Due to the liability of personal information being leaked, the home screen and their customizable boxes were not photographed. See the official website for more pretty pictures of the Windows Phone OS in action.]

Me: Any other things you like about the HTC Trophy?

The Windows Phone 7 main app menu

Mom: I like the physical little search button on the phone; it takes me right to the internet. The main menu screen is easy to use and everything I need is right at my fingertips. I am just learning how to add apps, but I do not know how to get rid of the programs I don’t use. For a phone with new technology, it is so easy to figure out. I added the family’s home email account all by myself. I thought, “Oh, that’s pretty easy.”

The messaging application is simple, and gives me a list of who I’ve talked to most recently. Also I like the text messaging conversation boxes. It shows what I said, then on the other side of the screen it shows what they said.

I also like that I can move boxes around on the home screen…[Gets engulfed in her new phone for a few seconds]…I can get apps now; I couldn’t do that before.

Me: Okay, so what don’t you like about the phone?

Mom: The phone feels clunky when it is dialing. I also don’t like how I have to use the volume control to set the phone to Vibrate Mode. I just want one button to set it; boom and done. I am getting used to using the top button to turn the touchscreen on and off as well.

I also do not like the where the physical camera button is. It’s in the wrong place. See how the adapter is on this side and the camera is placed in the exact same spot on the other side? When you plug the adapter in you can accidentally hit the camera button. The adapter should be on the bottom. I’ve taken more pictures of nothing than anything else! The camera itself is fine, though.

I had to setup a Windows Live email account with this phone, which is crazy as I will never use it.

I haven’t tried Bluetooth yet; I wouldn’t even know how to set it up. I also don’t like how the Airplane mode is hard to…Oh wait, here it is. And Bluetooth too. The settings menu is so easy to use.

Me: So it appears that the Windows Phone OS has a few pros and cons associated with it. If you could ask Microsoft to change one thing, what would it be?

Mom: I want more choices for changing the reading panes [On the home screen and main menu screens]. Currently, I can only do White font on a Black background or Black font on a White background with the colored panes; I’d like more color options. When it asks to “match my mood,” its either “dark” or “light.” I wish it had more.

Me: Bottom line, would you recommend this phone?

Mom: Yes I would. I know I can’t convert anyone else to this phone and between Apple and something else I can’t really compare it, but from what I went from to this has been positive and easy. Overall, I’ve been very pleased….except for the battery life, of course.

[End of the Interview]

Author’s Closing Comments

Sometimes, it is important to take a piece of technology and see how a different demographic would handle it. Therefore I wish to thank my mother for allowing me to capture her opinions and reconstruct them into a honest review of a Windows Phone device. From what I can tell, the Windows Phone 7 OS operating on the HTC Trophy is crisp, easy to navigate, and fairly intuitive for the average user. More importantly, these conclusions equate to my mother being satisfied with her smartphone choice. And really, that is all I truly care about.