Tag Archives: gets

Lumia version of Weather Channel gets ‘recreated’

Published by at 10:46 UTC, January 28th 2014

Nokia does seem to want to maintain a premium weather application within its own ‘Collection’ in the Store and we noted that there’s a huge update to its Weather Channel implementation this week. It’s faster, facelifted and arguably more useful, with only a couple of ancillary features dropped, either because of time constraints on behalf of the coding team or because they weren’t deemed important enough to keep going.

From the description in the Nokia Collection:

Recently updated and completely revamped. the new weather channel app brings together over 200 meteorologists and our ultra-local trupoint(sm) forecasting technology, to provide you with the most accurate weather forecast available.

Get current weather with rich-image tiles on your desktop and click-into our app when you need more weather details, forecasts, and severe weather info. no other app compares to the weather channel for providing severe weather alerts delivered to your desktop, while allowing you to see local area radar to stay abreast of storms, as well as watch videos produced by the industry leader, the weather channel. now get going, it’s amazing out there.

Features:

  • Detailed weather forecasts: we help you plan your day, week, or even the next hour.
  • Severe weather alerts: delivered right to your app, so you are always prepared for inclement weather.
  • Maps & radar: customizable and animated radar maps let you go deep into the weather details with pin-point accuracy. a must have for tracking things like snow or precipitation.
  • Local video forecasts: get your local forecast from one of our favorite meteorologists and check out our extensive video library of weather related content.

This update is a complete re-creation of our offering to be even more accurate and relevant to your life. Highlights include:

  • Fixed banner ads functionality
  • Removed: augmented reality, my friends weather, and iwitness photos
  • Updated tile content and main panorama
  • Fixed 10 days forecast line break, assorted minor bug fixes, and performance improvements

The loss of augmented reality and iWitness photos seems to be a side-effect of the re-coding, either because those functions couldn’t be implemented in the new architecture or because they were deemed to complicate the user experience (i.e. bloat). ‘My friends weather’ made the cut for this, v2.7, after all, despite the textual changelog, so perhaps the other missing features will make a reappearance after all, in a future version?

Here’s the ‘re-created’ version 2.7.0.1404 of the Weather Channel in action:

Screenshot, Weather ChannelScreenshot, Weather Channel

Ignore the blank white spaces at the top of screenshots – these are for Nokia’s in-app banner ads – which don’t seem to be displaying at the moment, oddly! Here are the two first views, showing the current status and expected hourly forecasts…

Screenshot, Weather ChannelScreenshot, Weather Channel

The 36 hour textual summary is similar to what you’d hear on the radio and very useful; (right) an innovative cross-panorama 10 day forecast….

Screenshot, Weather ChannelScreenshot, Weather Channel

Aha – so this is where the rain is! Well, at least seven hours ago – it’s a shame the radar maps aren’t updated more often; (right) some of the various layers which can be selected for this view….

Screenshot, Weather ChannelScreenshot, Weather Channel

Despite what it says in the changelog, the ‘my friends weather’ is still present and correct, here showing that Rafe and Ewan might need to take a brolly today if they head out for a walk!

Screenshot, Weather ChannelScreenshot, Weather Channel

The two sides of the Weather Channel live tile…

Good stuff and thus just made it to my Start screen as my default Windows Phone weather application – at least until the next killer weather app comes along! You can download this for yourself if you have a Nokia Lumia device here.

PS. The non-Lumia Weather Channel application is still in the generic Windows Phone Store, currently somewhat languishing at v2.2.0.3. Still, there’s no shortage of weather applications generally on the platform, so I doubt anyone will be too inconvenienced.

Source / Credit: Nokia Collection

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Platforms: Windows Phone 8
Categories: Apps
 

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All About Windows Phone

The Nokia Lumia 1520 gets its Phones Show verdict

Published by at 15:38 UTC, January 26th 2014

It’s all very well writing for AAWP, but sometimes it’s good to step outside the Windows Phone ecosystem and evaluate devices from a cross-platform, ultra-critical perspective. This is something I (Steve) try to do with The Phones Show and in programme 219 it was the turn of Nokia’s latest and biggest smartphone ever – the Lumia 1520 ‘phablet’. 

From the review:

Great camera and speaker too, two components I care about. The camera’s slightly larger than that in most smartphones, with a 1/2.5” sensor and a really well optimised dual LED flash. At 20 megapixels raw resolution, there’s some PureView oversampling and lossless zoom too, though not taken to the same extent as on my beloved 1020. Using the 1520 as a camera – or camcorder looks a little ridiculous, mind you, shades of using an iPad mini as a camera etc, but at least Nokia’s glorious ClearBlack Display polarisers mean that you can ALWAYS see what you’re shooting, unlike some other smartphones I could mention from the likes of Sony and Huawei.

Likewise, the speaker’s very good – together with the enormous and colourful LCD screen, this makes for a SUPERB media watching experience. Now if only there was a YouTube client or a decent Netflix app…. Sigh. Apps, eh? MetroTube does well here, mind you, and maybe the Netflix app will get a makeover sometime soon.

Summing up, my biggest question is not “Is the 1520 any good?” – it’s patently is a fabulous slice of silicon – but ‘Who’s going to buy the 1520?’ Smartphone newcomers wanting a phablet might look at this next to a Galaxy Note 3, but then wouldn’t they be swayed by the latter’s brand name, far larger selection of apps and sexy stylus? Windows Phone fans could upgrade to this, the biggest and highest specified of the breed, but they’d have to really, really want a bigger screen and the likes of the 925 are a far better fit for phone use, if I’m honest.

The Lumia 1520 right now is a little out in no man’s land. Can I foresee Microsoft pulling out all the stops and producing a next-gen update for this hardware that makes far better use of the horsepower and screen real estate? Maybe. I hope so. Otherwise this lovely piece of electronics is going to be rather wasted.

And here’s the embedded video in full, with the Lumia 1520 video taking up most of the body of the show (it’s around eight minutes):

Comments welcome – who do you think will buy the 1520? I see rumours on the wind of a smaller version, halfway between this and the more traditionally sized 925, 720, etc. If true, this should appeal to a much larger slice of the phone-buying public.

Source / Credit: The Phones Show

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Platforms: Windows Phone 8
Categories: Video, Hardware
 

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All About Windows Phone

Phonly gets a big update, adds full article downloading

Published by at 7:27 UTC, January 25th 2014

A few months ago, I reviewed Phonly, giving it a very decent rating as a Windows Phone front end to the massively popular Feedly news aggregator. Well, Phonly’s back, and with the ability to directly open ‘full’ articles without messing around with IE or visiting the linked news sites at all.

New for this version 1.2.4.0 are (over and above features in the version I reviewed)

  • Download full article without opening Internet Explorer or mobilizer (must be enabled in ‘Reading Settings’)
  • Tap and hold an article in a list to ‘Mark above as read’
  • New settings page layout
  • Updated login page background
  • Bug-fixes

Here’s the new version in action:

Screenshot, Phonly upgradeScreenshot, Phonly upgrade

Phonly’s clean front end to Feedly (and note in these screens that you can remove the ads with an in-app purchase if you want); reading a news article which is only summarised in its RSS feed normally results in this ‘Continue reading’ link and you have to open it up Internet Explorer.

Screenshot, Phonly upgradeScreenshot, Phonly upgrade

However, with v1.2.4.0, you can opt to ‘download full article’ in Settings, and then, as if by magic, you have access to the full, optimised article within Phonly, just as if the site had published the full article in the RSS feed in the first place.

It’s great for users, though I do wonder about news site owners, who may be seeing less eyeballs on their sites – and thus less ad impressions. Comments welcome!

You can download Phonly here in the Windows Phone Store.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Store

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Platforms: Windows Phone 8
Categories: Apps
 

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All About Windows Phone

Bing Translator gets faster, more accurate translation, plus offline voice overhaul

Published by at 9:09 UTC, January 16th 2014

Much underrated (and not helped by a mass of copycat front ends in the Windows Phone Store), Bing Translator is a terrific language tool for occasions when you’re totally stuck in another country/tongue, even without access to roaming data. Whether passing the phone from person to person or translating written text or (old school) typing something in, Translator has you covered, now with faster and more accurate translation.

Bing Translator is perhaps the premier language tool on Windows Phone, here’s the description in the Store:

Bing Translator is your companion when you need to overcome the language barrier. Use your camera, voice or keyboard to enter text you want to translate. Use Bing Translator on-the-go, even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

  • Text translation – Type and translate text into more than 40 languages.
  • Camera translation – Translate signs, menus, newspapers, or any printed text with your device’s camera in an instant.
  • Voice translation – Translate by speaking into your phone. Voice translation requires a network connection.
  • Text to speech – Hear translations spoken with a native speaker’s accent. Text to speech requires a network connection.
  • Offline translation – Translate when you are not connected to the Internet and when you want to avoid expensive data roaming charges, by using downloadable offline language packs.
  • Word of the Day – Improve your vocabulary by pinning the Translator to your Start screen.
  • Pin each mode to your Start screen and jump straight to translating in a single tap.
  • Copy and paste or use your keyboard to quickly enter the text you want to translate.

It’s fair to say that similar functionality is available on other platforms, e.g. through rival Google’s own translation services. But that shouldn’t put you off installing Microsoft’s well rounded offering.

Here’s the changelog for Bing Translator v2.8 since v2.5, which we featured around a year ago:

  • Redesigned offline packs UI (new for v2.8)
  • Faster and more accurate voice translation (new for v2.8)
  • Camera translation for Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish
  • Offline translation for Dutch, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish
  • Lamp in camera mode
  • Remove history items one by one
  • Camera and offline translation for Portuguese
  • Text tracking improvements for camera translation

Screenshot, Bing TranslatorScreenshot, Bing Translator

As ever, Bing Translator opens up with overview graphics front and centre, highlighting the main things you can do with it…

Screenshot, Bing TranslatorScreenshot, Bing Translator

The language choice is truly vast, though it’s important to note that only the most common dozen or so are available for audio recognition and playback (and, by extension, with offline packs available); (right) interestingly and usefully, each module in Bing Translator can be defaulted to a different language, depending on your needs and use case.

Screenshot, Bing TranslatorScreenshot, Bing Translator

Translation the old fashioned way, typing in your text using the keyboard and seeing written (and, in this case, audio) response; (right) using the camera to translate written text, in this case from English to Spanish, though I have to say that this doesn’t look at all right: I’d have expected something along the lines of “Es la hora de acostarse todavía?” Comments?

Screenshot, Bing TranslatorScreenshot, Bing Translator

A dozen or so languages have offline packs which let you translate using voice, camera or text without incurring any data charges back to Microsoft’s servers. 35MB doesn’t seem excessive and will certainly be useful next time I go to France or a French-speaking country.

Screenshot, Bing TranslatorScreenshot, Bing Translator

Usefully, shortcuts to each of the main translation methods can be pinned individually as live tiles, as shown here, each with default languages/directions pre-defined; (right) Klingon makes an appearance here, which should get you street cred in the right circles, if used right. Maybe!

All well and good, even if machine translations rarely get that close to what a native speaker might use. The voice translation, in conjunction with an offline pack and the one button reversal of translation direction, do make this application a potentially life saving tool in a sticky situation.

You can download Bing Translator 2.8 for free here in the Windows Phone Store.

Source / Credit: All About Windows Phone

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Platforms: Windows Phone 8
Categories: Apps
 

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All About Windows Phone

Apple contractor Hon Hai gets jumpy about ‘bumper fourth quarter’

What’s it so worried about?

Predictions that Apple contractor Hon Hai had bumper fourth quarter profits prompted a rush statement from the Taiwanese maker early today, seemingly down-playing the reports.
Hon Hai, whose trading name is Foxconn, quickly rebutted the reports in Chinese tabloid Apple Daily which claimed that the Q4 profit margins would hit 8 per cent, with net margins of up to Taiwanese $ 40 billion, compared to 7 per cent in the third quarter.
Hon Hai stressed that the estimates had come from institution analysts, and had not stemmed from the company itself – which would be counter to stock exchange rules.
But the rushed statement in London, on Reuters News Service, probably raised more questions than it answered. Apart from concerns about possibly breaking regulations governing the posting of financial results, it could be that Hon Hai was more worried about the implications for Apple, a key partner and for whom it makes iPhones.
Apple is notoriously sensitive about its internal affairs, particularly of a financial nature, and in the past sub contractors who’ve leaked information inadvertently or otherwise have soon been axed.
As such, if the predictions about Hon Hai’s Q4 results are correct, it could point to a bumper time too for Apple, impacting its share price.
Meanwhile today, Hon Hai was sticking firmly to the corporate line stating, “The company did not provide any projected financial reports to the public and all the financial statements will only be posted on the MOPS (the Taiwanese stock exchange’s own regulatory news service) which is regulated by the rules of government.”

Dave Evans is a long established commentator on both the IT and cellular industries. His current focus is on share price trends within the sector. You can email him here

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