Steve is the editor at All About Symbian, which means any typos that slip through in the main stories are his responsibility (although, ultimately, you can still blame Rafe). He’s also one of the main writers, specialising in the camera and multimedia side of things when it comes to reviews and tutorials. When not working on AAS and All About Windows Phone, Steve writes, produces and stars in The Phones Show, a fortnightly video show reviewing phones and smartphones in detail.
Recent Content by Steve
I had a crazy idea a while ago, after trying to get a decent 'panorama' shot on my Nokia smartphone and finding the stitching flaky and the resolution low every single blessed time. Yes, yes, calm down Apple fans, I know the iPhone does this out of the box, but here I'm talking Nokia. Symbian and Windows Phone, and the 808 PureView and Lumia 1020 specifically, since the high resolution available (typically 7700 pixels-ish wide) opens up the possibility for a huge, massive cheat. As [cough] detailed below.
That Nokia has been in forefront of mobile imaging is surely not in doubt, whatever you think of the operating systems the company has chosen at each stage (Symbian and then Windows Phone). In fact, it's a testament to how good and ground breaking the Nokia N95 was in its day (the first 5MP camera on a smartphone etc.) that it can even hold its head up here in 2013. But seven years has seen quite a bit of innovation in sensor quality, resolution and image processing - which is why I thought a 2006-2013 data point might be in order. Here's the legendary N95 pitted against the latest Nokia Lumia 1020 across six test scenes/uses.
The photos from the Nokia 808 PureView are often said to be less striking than those from the competition, whether it's a Lumia 1020, iPhone 5S or a Samsung Galaxy S4, however much purists would say that the 808's output is more 'natural'. One advantage the 808 has in its armoury is a Creative mode which lets users apply the saturation and sharpness, so beloved these days. Here, in a followup to my earlier piece 'How to: Set the Nokia 808 up to satisfy '2013' photo preferences', I look at the practical differences in output a few sliders can make.
I've talked in the past about bookmarking specific URLs in order to get to the 'HTML5' (/touch) versions of Google mobile web sites, i.e. the versions that iPhones and Android phones see. All too often, Symbian phones get served up the very low tech 'feature phone' versions of each page - which is a shame when Symbian OS and modern hardware can do a pretty decent job of handling whatever Google serves up. Google HD Browser automates the signing into Google and making sure the right URLs are used, giving - in effect - an (almost) complete Google touch experience. See below for comments on how effective it is and notes on some caveats.
Please accept this generic rant across the All About sites, but the subject matter applies to all platforms to various degrees. In-app purchasing or, more specifically, in-game purchasing is the current fad in game development and it's time enough people took a stand and said 'No'. And not just writing editorials and blog posts on the subject but actively boycotting such titles and recommending alternatives that rely on the traditional 'buy it once' model. Does it sound like I'm over-reacting? Maybe - it depends on exactly who's playing the games on your phone(s)?
Forgive a little retrospective, but it's (more or less) the five year anniversary of Position Art. Long time readers will know where I'm going with this - Stavros and his 'tool' (the Nokia N82!) A promotional campaign for the device created by agency Farfar under the guidance of Nokia's regular 1000 Heads, the character of Stavros transcended the usual ad boundaries and made a real connection to us, the Symbian faithful. I still remember many of his self-deluded mannerisms and faltering dialogue, I had a go at my own Position Art, and even learned to love the N82 as he did. The full story is remembered below...
The battle to preserve personal and secure data across mobile platforms goes on. You may remember that I went on an exploratory trip around every secure database system recently, with no satisfactory conclusion. Is it too much to expect to be able to take my PINs, my ID numbers, my software serial numbers, my secrets, from platform to platform? It may be too early to call off the search completely, but a solution is emerging that looks future proof and promising.
On the whole, the transition from Symbian Anna to 'Nokia Belle' went smoothly - at least for the nHD full touch devices (N8, C7, etc.) However, the Nokia E6 was included in the upgrade and, despite my reservations and allowances, most of us upgraded this VGA-screened, d-pad driven device to Belle... and then regretted it. You see, the E6 homescreen under Anna could be fully driven by the d-pad, whereas under Belle you had to keep reaching up to the touchscreen to get anything done. Step forward the number one E6 FAQ: is it possible to downgrade to Symbian Anna? Well, not officially. And certainly not easily. But step forward reader Matthew Kuhl, who proved it can be done - and pulled all the relevant steps together here for ready reference.
Having set out a camera-centric stall for transitioning from the Nokia N8 and 808 to the Lumia 1020, for those who simply must have the best camera and Xenon flash, I also wanted to write something more generic, for all Symbian users and concentrating less on camera functions and more on multitasking and other unique selling points, replicating each in a move to the mobile OS which most resembles Symbian under the hood - Android, featured here in its latest v4.4 variant, in the Google Nexus 5.
I wrote, a while ago, about possible showstoppers for people moving from Symbian to Android or Windows Phone, but a lot has happened in the intervening months, not least the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 1020, offering a more or less direct equivalent to the camera-centric flagships in Nokia's previous Symbian world. What I wanted to explore here was each aspect of smartphone functionality, from the point of view of matching what each generation did - and does. The overall picture may surprise you, though (as usual) there are a few caveats along the way.