Windows Phone 7.5 gets Google Calendar


Google has improved how its calendar and email services interact with Windows Phones running the mango system. Users can now cram up to 25 different calendars into the OS’s built-in calendar app.

BUT the setup’s not exactly seamless and as easy as it seems. You need to navigate your Windows Phone to the Google Sync page, login and check the boxes found there.

Also at the same Google Sync page, you can now choose to enable the “send mail as” feature if you’re using multiple addresses, with the option to delete unwanted emails instead of archiving.

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Lumia 900 hits Carphone Warehouse


Carphone Warehouse is soon to be launching the dual-camera sporting Mango phone which has been listed as “coming soon” on their website with an expected launch date of June 2012.

These plans are clearly still unofficial at the moment, but you can sign up for more info from the outlet as it becomes available. The biggest question, though, is whether or not the Lumia 900 will ship with LTE on board.

Nokia Lumia 800 Review


Nokia has been a dieing brand in the past few years with the increased comption from Apple’s IOS and also Google’s Android system so when Nokia made a pretty big organizational move when they decided to scrap their Symbian OS by partnering with Microsoft.  Togther they made the Nokia Lumia 800 which runs on Windows 7.5 .

What is Good about the Nokia Lumia 800? 

The phone on the first look has a stunning design and display. It’s design is one of a kind as it uses a single block of polycarbonate material. There is no other phone that looks like it, apart from other Nokia phones such as the Nokia Lumia 710. Though the phone uses a rather small 3.7 inch display (compaired to other Windows 7 Phones on the market), the screen resolution is awesome. The 1.4GHz processor is very well equipped to run Windows 7.5 and doesn’t seem to lag at all even with a lot of apps running in the background.

What is Bad about the Nokia Lumia 800? 

One of the downsides is there is no front facing camera. Other negative points about this phone are that the camera is of rather average quality. The screen size might also be small for some who prefer 4, 4.3 or 4.5 inch screens. Another negative is that there is no expandable memory.

Sum up of the Nokia Lumia 800 

Though Nokia have made a very good attempt to capture a part of the smartphone market with their new Windows devices, it has to be said that the specs of the Nokia Lumia 800 are not up to the mark. The hardware is gorgeous although too many things are missing in a phone that has a rather premium price tag. We are sure that Nokia is going to continue to churn out impressive Windows devices from now on although the Nokia Lumia 800 doesn’t have that WOW factor. If you asked me for an honest opinion, I would say that you should pass on the Nokia Lumia 800 and wait for the next generation Windows phones from the Nokia stables. But, if the form factor of the Nokia Lumia 800 is just too attractive to avoid, I would at least suggest that you read through my entire review of the Nokia Lumia 800 to learn more about individual aspects of this phone, to see if this phone truly warrants your purchase.

Design

The design is where the Nokia Lumia 800 really impresses. It uses a polycarbonate material in its construction. A polycarbonate is actually a special type of plastic that has a very metal like feel. When you touch and feel this phone, you will feel like you are holding a phone that is made out of anodized aluminum. Another special thing about this polycarbonate material is that the surface level color goes through the entire depth of this phone. So, even if you take a sharp object and scratch away, you will just see more of the surface level color, rather than seeing that ugly shiny metallic surface that will show up in most other phones. The Nokia Lumia 800 is available in some very attractive colors such as black and cyan.

As for the dimensions, the phone is 4.59 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and quite thick at .47 inches. What is special about the screen is that the glass is fitted on to the body in such a way that makes the glass look like it is floating on the phone. Another way to describe it would be to explain the appearance of a large drop of water on a smooth surface. If you can you imagine how a dew drop of crystal clear water would look like on a really black surface. Well, that is what the screen of the Nokia Lumia 800 looks like. Another special feature of the Nokia Lumia 800 is that the display is slightly curved. This allows for better touch screen responsiveness and control on your part.

Display

The Nokia Lumia 800 has a 3.7 inch AMOLED display with Clear Black properties. True to its name, the clear black really looks dark and not greyed out like in regular AMOLED displays. The 3.7 inch screen puts out a 480X800 pixel resolution, packing in about 250 pixels per square inch. There is support for 16 Million colors. In summary, the display is just stunning to look at, especially when you factor in the way the glass has been set on the phone.

Windows 7.5 

Like I said earlier, Nokia made a pretty big gamble to dump its Symbian OS and adopt the Windows 7.5 OS. Though Windows 7.5 OS is still catching up with Android and iOS in terms of popularity, it has a lot going for it. The Mango OS offers a great Qwerty keyboard that is better than both the Android keyboard and the iOS keyboard. Mango 7.5 also makes it incredibly easy to integrate facebook and Twitter accounts into what is called a People hub. With Mango 7.5 being a Microsoft product, it is only natural that the phone is ready for streamlining with Microsoft services like Sky Drive, Zune and Live Id services.

Mango 7.5 also offers some pretty unique features such as threaded conversations that can be transferred from one platform to another. For example, you could be having a MSN chat with a person and then continue that threaded conversation as a threaded text message conversation at a later point. You just can’t do that with the Android OS and the iOS.

One drawback with the Mango 7.5 OS is that app support is still in a very evolutionary stage. While Android and iOS have hundreds of thousands of downloadable apps, the app count at Microsoft is a very humble 50,000, as of now. But, with Microsoft being the software powerhouse that it is, one can easily expect the app database to grow astronomically, especially if Windows phones become really popular.

Memory 

The Lumia 800 has 16GB of internal memory. There is no expandable SD card slot. As a matter of fact, you won’t find expandable SD card slots in any Windows phones as the OS’s architecture doesn’t support one, at least as of now (unless it was one of the Pre-Windows Mobile 2005)

Camera

The Nokia Lumia 800 does not have a front facing camera. If that was a little disappointing, we have more bad news in the camera department. The 8MP camera with dual LED flash produces picture quality that is best described as disappointing. We have tried 5MP cell phone cameras that have produced better pictures. We just don’t understand how a 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics can result in such mediocre pictures. It probably has something to do with the software integration. Whatever it is, there is a very good chance that the Lumia 800′s camera will disappoint you. This is a shame because Nokia phones like the N8 became very popular just because of their superb cameras.

Processor and performance 

The Nokia Lumia 800 uses a 1.4GHz single core processor that is supported by 512MB of RAM. It is pretty snappy for general use of the phone, such as opening up of apps, Nokia Drive etc. However, the processor does drag just a little bit when you open up the music player with heavy playlists. Graphic rich games also loaded quite slowly. 1GB of RAM might have addressed those shortcomings quite easily. But then, Nokia have given it 512MB of RAM and we just have to live with it.

Battery life

Though the phone uses a rather medium sized 1,450 mAh battery, it can provide impressive continuous talk time of up to 9 hours, on a 3G network. The standby times for this phone are in the 15 day range.

Windows Phone 7 Review


The Windows Phone 7 has been available here in the UK since 21st October and I managed to get hold of one for a few days from a friend after I bribed him with a bottle of whisky (he’s a big fan of his whisky). So I borrowed his HTC HD7.

So I used it for around 3 days and to be honest it took some getting used to. But I think I’ve learnt enough to share some experiences in this blog post.

So some points about Windows Phone 7:

Availability

It took my friend 6 days to get his hands on a phone and that wasn’t through want of trying. It seemed that if you wanted to get a Windows Phone here in the UK then you had little choice but to sign up with a carrier on a new contract which is not something he wanted to do (he wanted a sim free phone). I’m mainly thinking that the limited phone availability could be interpreted as there was an unexpected high demand for the phones.

First impressions

I pretty much new my way around the phone before I got it due to the mass of online videos on youtube and other review sites. So there wasn’t much new to learn about it but still I was looking forward to finally getting one in my hands. I can say that the phone is a delight to use; it is quick and very easy to use. Do I say that because I already knew my way around the phone? Possibly, yes, though I am still of the opinion that this phone’s base interface (known as Metro) is both a refreshing change and a step ahead of any of its competitors (esp againest the likes of the Iphone and the new blackberry OS7)
Microsoft have very clearly spent a lot of time thinking up ways that the phone can impress and delight users, be that with an entire feature (such as OneNote sync) or a user interaction (such as email notifications on the lock screen) of which is a great use to me (I use email for everything).
The Music and Video hub is new to me because I have never handled a Zune HD before (which is where the interface borrows from) and only know this as I had a play with a friends one (she swares by her Zune). The backdrop to the hub changes to show the artist that you last listened to which contributes heavily to the overall positive look. The best word I can think of to describe the Music and Video hub is “very classy”.
The calendar too is a work of art. I have four different calendars (meaning four separate accounts) and the syncing to the phone and the calendar does a beautiful job of displaying them all. The vibrant colours used for each calendar contrast fantastically with the black background and make the simple act of looking at one’s agenda a real pleasurable experience (and easy as well). The app bar has a button that takes you back to the current day no matter where you happen to be browsing within the calendar – a very smart idea indeed.

All that being said there are still problems with the phone, niggles if you will, some of which leave me scratching my head and thinking to myself “What on earth were they thinking?”. How ever lots of features are not complete (calendar and office being classic examples) which is no doubt due to Microsoft’s desire to get something in front of their customers who have been waiting for this for a while now.

The good points:

The main thing I use my phone for is sending/receiving email (personal and work) and this is where Windows Phone shines; I have two email accounts synced to the phone and am happy to report that email on this thing is a pure joy (even a lot more than my blackberry 9700) Simple things like a single click to delete an email and then being returned to your inbox rather than showing the next email brings a smile to my face. The animation when deleting an email is a delight and navigation is both simple and efficient. For me though the real high point of email is the presentation of it on the lock screen.

On the lock screen it shows my unread text messages whereas the second tile and third represent unread emails in each of my two email accounts. What I particularly like about this is that the O/S isn’t relying on space-consuming memory to tell me which account has unread messages, it is simply shown by location on the screen and it takes no time at all to get to grips with which is which. Its a great example of Windows Phone taking something that might seem fairly insignificant but that serves to make the whole overall experience easier.

The second thing that I have fallen in love with is OneNote syncing. I am a fairly regular OneNote user and recently added all of my OneNote files to http://office.live.com knowing that this would enable me to view them on the phone. There’s something deeply satisfying and delightful (there’s that word again) about being inside a OneNote page on your phone, hitting the camera button on the app bar to take a picture, then watching that photo automatically turn up on your laptop screen just a few seconds later. I can think of many scenarios where this will be useful (esp at work) and is definitely a very unique future for Windows Phone.

What else is good? I mentioned earlier that the Music and Video hub and truly it is an awesome.

The Bad points:

I’ve talked about some of the things I love but I’m afraid I have to report that not all is well with Windows Phone. I find it to be teeming with bits that detract from the overall experience and I’m going to list some of them out here.
I wrote above about how I love being able to sync my OneNote notebooks from http://office.live.com to my phone but I can’t ignore that setting up syncing of a notebook up in the first place is a very difficult thing to do. I managed to get myself into such a pickle first time around that I had to phone my friend up and beg him to help me out (seeing it was his phone)

The Music and Video hub is a delightful experience as I emphasized earlier but still its missing things and, quite frankly, some of the these things I find downright bizarre. For example, I can shuffle all of the songs on the phone but I can’t shuffle a playlist. Huh? What’s that about? That seems like a glaring mistake to me and is one that I miss a great deal because in general I make great use of my playlists but listening to them in the same order each time is not really what they were designed for (and to be honest bores me). So the word that springs to mind when using the Music and Video hub is that its “unfinished” and to be honest that is a common theme across the phone.

The dam right Ugly points:

I’ve talked about my main complaints and here’s a quick-fire list of more minor issues that irk me a little:
When typing a URL into the address bar in Internet Explorer there’s no “/” on the facing keyboard. What the….? [OK, its there if I long-hold on the period but still – you’d think this would be front and centre when typing a URL]
After installing an app from the marketplace you have to come out of the marketplace to actually launch it. Why can’t I simply launch it from the marketplace when it tells me that its finished installing it? Oh and Long-holding the period key on the keyboard will present a submenu of different punctuation marks that I can add to wherever I’m typing. This submenu includes a dash, an exclamation mark, a colon and a question mark but unbelievably no apostrophe. It seems like a small thing but I’m left incredulous at this omission.
I can pin a person to the home screen which is kinda cute and all but its not what I want; I want to pin a person’s phone number up there. That would be useful.

The Conclusion

There’s a few complaints in this blog post and that is indicative of this being version one of Windows Phone – I used the word “unfinished” a couple of times and that sums up the whole phone pretty well. Happily the majority of these irksome points are not core problems to the phone and can be easily fixed and I’m sure that will happen in the not too distant future. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m not enjoying the phone –I am, I’m loving it- and thinking of getting rid of my blackberry for one.