Category Archives: Windows Phone

Nokia Releases Free Battery Pro+ App For Your Lumia

While there are a bunch of battery monitoring apps for Windows Phone in the Store, most of them are paid or come with ads. To put an end to your search for a well designed app, the Battery Pro+ powered by Nokia has been released. The app has actually been published by Wunderman Polska, the agency Nokia Poland seems to have used.

The app is free, and comes with live tiles in two sizes, giving you a quick way to monitor your Lumia’s battery. Once inside the app, you get information such as remaining time based on current usage, the hourly consumption, and the total battery capacity of your device. The network activity section shows you which network radios are in operation and also lets you tap on any of them to jump into settings, thereby also acting like a handy shortcut app.

Nokia Releases Free Battery Pro+ App That's Lets You Keep An Eye On Your Lumia Battery Nokia Releases Free Battery Pro+ App That's Lets You Keep An Eye On Your Lumia Battery

The live tiles can be pinned to the homescreen. Like every other Windows Phone live tile they aren’t ‘live’ as such and are only updated every 30 minutes in order to conserve battery. The tile is also refreshed everytime you open the app.

Nokia Releases Free Battery Pro+ App That's Lets You Keep An Eye On Your Lumia BatteryNokia Releases Free Battery Pro+ App That's Lets You Keep An Eye On Your Lumia Battery

The app is well designed and the shortcuts to WIFI, Bluetooth, and Network are a nice touch. However I’d like to see two more features added in a subsequent release. First is the ability to jump into battery settings by tapping on the battery indicator within the app – this is useful for toggling the battery saver mode. Second, the ability to put the battery percentage on the lockscreen.

Nokia Releases Free Battery Pro+ App That's Lets You Keep An Eye On Your Lumia Battery

In addition to Battery Pro+, Nokia Poland has also published a bunch of other free utilities that I’ll feature in a later post. Get Battery Pro+ here.

Lumia 920 Amber (GDR2) Update Now Available

Nokia’s started rolling out the much awaited Amber update for its Lumia 920 smartphone. From Microsoft’s perspective, GDR2 is more of an enabler than one that brings new features, however there are still many compelling reasons to upgrade. You get the revamped Xbox Music app, support for FM radio, IE10 HTML5 improvements, an improved Skype experience among other things. Further, there are Nokia specific improvements such as support for glance screen, tap to wake up, flip to silence and the ability use apps like Smart Camera, YouTube uploader and Video Trimmer that you couldn’t previously use on the Lumia 920, despite the apps being available on the Windows Phone Store.

Lumia 920 Firmware Update

The firmware number is 3047.0000.1326.2002, and Microsoft calls the GDR2 update by the 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78 name. Microsoft’s official changelog lists the following improvements:

  • Google accounts. Windows Phone 8 now supports the CardDAV and CalDAV protocols that allow people to sync Google contacts and calendar information when they get new phones. (Existing phones that are synced to a Google account prior to December 31, 2013 will continue to sync as before.)
  • Xbox Music. It’s now easier to select, download, and pin music. Plus, music fans will see more accurate metadata (such as song and album information) and many other performance improvements.
  • FM radio. Listen to FM radio right from the Music+Videos hub. (Not available for all phones.)
  • Data Sense. Stay on top of your phone’s data usage with Data Sense. You can set a limit based on your data plan, or just keep track of which apps use the most data. (Not all mobile operators offer Data Sense.)
  • Skype. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps like Lync and Skype now feature improved stability and performance.
  • Internet Explorer. Several fixes, including improvements to media playback reliability, will make your web browsing experience better than ever.
  • Camera. Set your favorite Lens so it opens automatically when you press the camera button. (Not available for all phones.)
  • Other improvements. Includes many other improvements to Windows Phone.

The update is rolling out across various regions, so it is possible that it might not be immediately available on your device. As always, make sure you backup the phone before you update.

[via: My Nokia Blog]

Stop Buying The iPhone 4. Save Yourself Money & Get A Lumia 520 Instead

Apple has all sorts of schemes running in India to promote the iPhone 4. You can trade old devices, get it on EMI, make zero down payments and so on. But there are two facts that you cannot get away from, it costs close to 25,000 INR and it will soon be 3 years old. Three years is an eternity in the world of technology, you certainly do not want to be paying that kind of money for a device that will soon be a relic. Yes, it will get iOS 7 but that’s where Apple is so smart. A bland iPhone 4 to get iOS 7 statement doesn’t tell you that a bunch of iOS 7 features will not make it to the iPhone 4. Just as a bunch of iOS 6 features previously hadn’t. E.g. Like it was with iOS 6, you still won’t be able to take panoramas, you’ll get no filters in the camera app, and the real biggie – no AirDrop support. Plus most of the fancy animations and visuals that iOS 7 brings is a no-go too.

Further having recently used an iPhone 4 running iOS 6, I can tell you that you can immediately notice that you’re playing with old hardware. There are lags, the scrolling in apps isn’t smooth, the app launch times are slow and there are random stutters – all in all, its doesn’t feel very Apple anymore. On the other hand it still has its positivities, the 3.5″ retina display, the premium construction and for a lot of people the Apple brand name. But does it make sense to pay something like 25,000 INR for the pleasure of owning an ‘iPhone’? No.

Stop Buying The iPhone 4. Save Yourself Money & Get A Lumia 520 Instead

Here’s what you should do. Save yourself 15,000 INR and get a Lumia 520 instead. It costs about 9400 INR, comes in a bunch of colours – red and yellow being my favourites, but there are the more traditional black, white and cyan options too. The colour is an obvious talking point, and not for one second does the device look cheap, if that’s what you’re worried about. Put a 3 year old iPhone 4 on the table and a red Lumia 520 along side it, and guess which is the device that will draw more attention.

Despite having 512 MB of RAM, it is actually smoother than the iPhone. The dual-core processor helps and Windows Phone is very smooth in itself. There may be the odd app that takes a second more to resume, but overall the experience will be much better. Don’t worry too much about the apps. The basics are all there now. Facebook has a good app, so does Twitter, Foursquare, PVR, HDFC, Book My Show and Zomato – all apps I use on an everyday basis. Whats App was recently overhauled too.

Nokia’s Services = More value for money

Then, you get the Nokia goodies. Mix Radio for streaming curated playlists that are usually excellent, unlimited song downloads from a huge catalogue of songs (DRM free so you can send them via bluetooth, email them or listen to them on a PC), and finally you can even create your own stream based on artists you like. This is a big deal once you start using it, I have virtually stopped downloading music because of this.

Next there is Nokia’s mapping suit – HERE Drive, Maps, Public Transport, and City Lens. Owing to things like offline maps and great coverage, this is the best navigation solution on the phone – for most tasks it beats Google Maps as they are reliant on a data connection for everything. The Lumia 520 also has a decent camera, and comes with things like Smart Shoot and Cinemagram out of the box. With the Lumia 520 you also get a 4″ 800 x 480 screen, its no retina display (3.5″ 960×640 on the iPhone 4) but a lot of people seem to be willing to live with slightly lower pixel density in return for a bigger screen.

Thus, in the process you not only save a considerable amount of money, but you also get a device that’s pretty solid and packs a lot for its price. A friend of mine recently sold an old iPhone 4 and picked up the Lumia 520 instead; and this post is also partly a result of his experience.

My advice is this, if you don’t want to save money and get the Lumia 520, don’t. But under no circumstances should you buy the iPhone 4.

Nokia’s YouTube Uploader For Lumia Is Coming Soon

Despite being amazing video capture devices due to optical image stabilisation and rich recording, Nokia’s Lumias still cannot upload videos to YouTube directly from the device. There are ways to do it, but none of them is as straightforward as using a simple app. Thankfully that’s about to change. In addition to the brand new Video Trimmer application that just went live on the Windows Phone Store today, Nokia will soon be making the YouTube uploader app available as well. Both these apps were shown off at the time of the Lumia 1020 launch, but the YouTube uploader seems to have slipped under the radar.

Nokia Innovation has a video of Nokia’s Kristina Björknäs (@bjorknas) taking about the Lumia 1020, and showing off some of its features. The YouTube uploader is mentioned at the 2:00 minute mark.

Both these apps, in addition to the Smart Camera and the Pro Camera, will be available for existing Lumia devices once they have received the upcoming Amber update.

Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone

Nokia’s Creative Studio is an excellent photo editing app for its Lumia devices, but there are things that it isn’t that good at. Collages is one, adding borders another. Fortunately there is a excellent free app that can plug all these holes, and give the Creative Studio quite a run for its money. Fotor is free, and has been updated to take advantage of Windows Phone 8.  It performs fluidly even on slightly lower spec’d devices like the Lumia 620 and 720, and makes for a very pleasant editing experience.

Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone

Inside settings you can choose to edit/save in the high resolution mode or go slightly lower res. for faster performance. The Collage option is fully featured, you can choose aspect ratios, designs, and even move the bars to increase or decrease space there is for each photo. Then, you can even add a pattern.

Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone

The borders can be curved or straight and you can choose the width as well. The app also comes with a one tap enhance mode, which has three levels.

Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone

You can use the Tilt Shift option to change focus, and also play with the contrast, saturation and blur/sharpen settings.

Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone Fotor Is A Must Have Photo Editor For Windows Phone

And finally, there are filters.

All in all, installing Fotor is a no brainer. Its free and fun.

WhatsApp For Windows Phone 8 Gets A Huge Overhaul: Changelog

You cannot live without Whats App in today’s world. Its the first app that I install on any device that I’m using, and unfortunately for Windows Phone it has been a slightly sticky point. The problem was that Whats App used the streaming APIs to keep the app alive and waiting for push messages, and that method made it unreliable at times. Moreover, it meant that you could never use the play/pause/next shortcuts that pop up when the volume button is pressed, as Whats App had taken those over. All that ends now.

A huge Whats App for Windows Phone update is live in the Windows Phone Store, and it promises to change things for the better. While the app might still look similar, the entire internal mechanism has changed.

  • Whats App now has its own background agent, leaving the streaming API free. This should mean greater reliability, and better push notifications.
  • Tapping on the Whats App icon that you’ve pinned to the homescreen opens up the last screen that you were in before leaving the app. This makes jumping in and out of Whats App much more convenient.
  • Tapping the toast notification opens up the chat corresponding to that message.
  • The app is faster overall, and much quicker to resume.
  • You can now call people from within the chat, although it does take a couple of clicks while Windows Phone prompts you to confirm.

WhatsApp For Windows Phone 8 Gets A Huge Overhaul WhatsApp For Windows Phone 8 Gets A Huge Overhaul

  • The app also tells you that you won’t receive push notifications while the battery saver mode is on. This is because Windows Phone restricts background activity during that time to preserve battery.
  • Sending and receiving contacts works well.

WhatsApp For Windows Phone 8 Gets A Huge Overhaul WhatsApp For Windows Phone 8 Gets A Huge Overhaul

  • You can send video after recording it from within the app, but you still cannot send existing files.
  • Whats App gets proper Emoji. The style/layout is identical to what you’d see on iOS and Android.

WhatsApp For Windows Phone 8 Gets A Huge Overhaul

  • Finally, if someone sends you a location it opens up the default Windows Phone maps app. You can’t choose to goto into Nokia Maps yet, but if you’d like to get driving directions, Nokia Drive opens up to guide you. This is a pretty big deal. I frequently ask people to Whats App me their location, and then use GPS to get there. Earlier, you couldn’t even view the location in a proper maps app, forget about navigating there. 

Go grab the update here. Notice any other changes, let us know!