Tag: apps

Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920: The Smart, The Bad and the Ugly

During Social Media Week 13, I had the pleasure of testing the Nokia Lumia 920 for the whole week! A few tweeps and I, forever dubbed the #EpicNewsTeam, received a set of phones for a trail. Their campaign came with no strings attached, simply use the phone during the week and let them know how it went. Nokia clearly felt they had a superior product to put such confidence in the hands of a dangerously verbose and opinionated group!

Needless to say, the phone is state of the art. I will make comparisons to Apple and Android, but only because the phone truly warrants the comparison. Nokia and Windows have stepped up their game and are giving their competitors a run for their money with the Lumia 920.

The Smart
After being handed the phone I literally had it setup with all my social accounts and email in 5 minutes. The walk through stat up is quick and simple. The five minutes also includes the time to take a picture and tweet it! #SmarterEveryday is no joke.

Customizing the homescreen was really fast and easy. You have a choice of three sizes for all apps and some apps, like the AccuWeather.com app, had the option to set the tile as “live” giving it dynamic information on the home screen. Have the tile size options allows you to true set what apps and information you feel are the most important.

This phone is also blazing fast! And it must be to be almost constantly animated with those moving tiles on the home screen – more on that later. Switching between screens, and launching apps was very smooth. One of my favorite features was hitting back from the home screen, it brought you right back to your previously launch application, which made it easy to move between apps.

On top of it all, the battery life is amazing! I spent all of my days tweeting away, taking photos (which are great in low light by the way) and accessing email. I never ran into an issue with my battery.

The Bad
I had some periodic trouble to with getting the Wifi to connect and stay connected. Another of the #EpicNewsTeam also had an issue with the Wifi in a different location. It seemed to kick the phone off the network when the phone was locked and unlocked. I will say that my home wifi network had no issues.

My biggest issue was the lack of apps. I am an avid users of social media management apps, but developers haven’t created anything for the Window OS. Athough the phone is way beyond par on the hardware, the available software is a serious drawback. Apple jumped way ahead with a synchronous OS with tested hardware to boot and savvy developers pumping out apps. Android is cutting in and beginning to build a great synchronous OS and web experience and finally taking hold of the variety of hardware issues. The Nokia Lumia 920 is pulling up really fast. The hardware and software are a great combination, but Windows needs to make a concerted effort to get more apps.

The Ugly
The SkyDrive feature was a bit cumbersome. The aforementioned picture tweet was uploaded using Windows Skydrive, a cloud storage service. Viewing the photo from outside services via mobile was akward, especially from iPhone. There were no options to switch the photo service for twitter. On the other hand uploading images to Facebook was very easy. I can see SkyDrive being useful, especially when it comes to documents, which can also be viewed from the phone.

The next feature was difficult in the bad or the ugly. The windows tiles in constant flux was, in my personal opinion, a bit too much. It made me anxious to constantly see the phone moving, always asking for my attention. It made me want to keep the phone locked, so the screen wasn’t on, which a phone shouldn’t do.

All in all, the Nokia Lumia 920 is a great piece of technology! The hardware is very fast, the OS is very smooth and intuitive, which is a big plus from previous Windows phones. You can literally be setup with all the essentials within minutes of turning this phone on. I’m going to continue using this phone for the remainder of my trial (maybe even ask for an extension)…

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I’m in the closet…

Its true, I lied a little. Just a little. Remember when I said I wouldn’t visit Tablet Town again for a while? Well, after getting some feedback from friends I didn’t ask at first, I splurged and exchanged the disappointing Galaxy Tablet for the iPad2. I’m almost sadly embarrassed to say: I love it! I can almost envision me with all apple products and trading in my Android phone for an iPhone. But I won’t (maybe… yet).

This means I’m now officially a closet Andoird Lover. Yes, my allegiance still lies with Google and I’ll defend them until their purchase of Motorola pays off and we have dedicated hardware for the Android OS running everything Google has to offer plus the social overlay of G+. That is the dream I’m still hoping for. Afterall, all my information still lies in Google’s cloud; email, calendar, documents and some music.

Although the iPad2 is incredible, I will stand by my statement that it’s not a perfect fit. There are a few things I wish it could do better…

1. Email: This was the biggest ordeal. I had the official gmail app, which organized my mail the right way. But the badge notifications kept showing my 27,000+ unread emails that I never archived. This doesn’t bother me in my browser, but on the iPad it was annoying. I couldn’t tell when I got new emails! I decided to just start using the standard mail app, but it too has it’s issues. I get my Google Priority Inbox access, but it doesn’t sort out all the unread. And given the volume of emails I handle and sometimes keep items unread for prioritization purposes, with the iPad I have to do a lot of scrolling and searching, but at least I can tell when something is new.
**Does anyone else think it’s weird how this OS sends attachments on emails?**

2. Browsing: I had to download a special app to sync my Chrome Browser with Safari. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it is functional.

3. No Flash: Oy! There are times I wish I could watch a video on this thing or see certain site features that use flash. Nevertheless, it’s much easier to get over that I thought.

4. Passwords: I have what I believe be a pretty safe passwords; a twelve character phrase with alternating numbers and letters. I hate having to enter it into the iPad. With Swype (Android only keyboard) I could teach it my password and Swype what looked like nonsense but enter the my passwords. It was great! It was safe and convenient. Now, every time I want to install something, Apple wants me to confirm with my password and it makes me cringe.

So, although not perfect fit, this glove would at least get a conviction. I’m very satisfied with the iPad2. Much more than the Galaxy 10.1 Tablet. It has a ton of apps that work and are formatted correctly. It is responsive, intuitive and functional. Plus, now I be part of the trendy group that is the Apple Lovers.

The Day I Had A Tablet

I had one, for a day – barely 24 hours – and this is why…

It was that time… you know, the crossroads in your life where you need a specialized piece of technology to fulfill your techie needs. I reached that point. I have an android smartphone, but I push that little guy way over the edge on a daily basis. I make it do everything a good enterprise phone should do – phone calls, lots of email, contact, calendar updates and syncing. But I also push it to manage and coordinate my social media, clients’ social media, some gaming, also web browsing and a hefty chunk of rss reading. I bought an extended battery just to keep it alive for 1 day.

So, there I was, ready, willing and in need of a tablet. But what do I get? Friends push me towards the iPad2, but being an Googler and passionate advocate for Google’s mobile android I was hesitant. Based on hardware alone the two are very similar. Same processing power, same sized screens; weight, dimensions and features all comparable, aside from a slightly better resolution in the apple products. When it boiled down, I needed a 16GB, tablet with enterprise and media capabilities. The iPad2 and Galaxy 10.1 were neck and neck.

I bought the Galaxy 10.1 for two reasons. 1: Price, it was slightly more affordable at the 16GB range. 2: Compatibility. There is no learning curve on an apple product. I can use it, but getting it setup to the point where I wanted it for daily, personalized use was the challenge. EVERYTHING I do I use Google; Docs, Calendar, Gmail, Contacts, G+, Chrome, Translate, Voice, etc. So, Android OS won that battle.

All the anticipation for the Galaxy 10.1 had been built up. However, when I opened it and fire it up, within the hour I was utterly and completely disappointed. But first the pros:

1. The OS – Gingerbread is an amazing OS. Its clean, fast, responsive and intuitive. It has it’s quirks but so does iOS.
2. Plug and play – I literally just have to log into my Google account once and voila! The tablet is mine with everything I want on it. Emails, contacts, calendar, the whole caboodle is setup within minutes.
3. Customization – it only takes a few moments to switch out the widgets and get the shortcuts I desired on all the screens in an organized fashion that made sense to me. It really does become YOURS.
4. The browser – running Chrome, flash ready (it even synced my bookmarks), the browser puts Safari to shame.

The cons… and this is where Google and Android developers have a HUGE opportunity.

1. Apps Availability – My phone has every app I would ever need avaiable at the tap of the screen. The Galaxy 10.1, not so much. My first inkling of disappointment was when I found that half the apps I had on my phone were not available to the tablet. Some of these included Amazon Store and Pinterest, which I understand would probably be best on the browser anyway – but they were not because they detect a mobile browser.

2. App Development – This is the biggest disappointment. It started with Hootsuite, which on the tablet is exact same as the android phone interface. They didn’t even TRY to create a custom experience for the tablet. Then, like dominoes, apps all fell into this pit of awful user experience and lackluster UI development. Facebook, Foursqaure, all the games I have, LinkedIn, DropBox and surprisingly even G+. All those apps were uncomfortably underdeveloped for this tablet and in most cases the exact replica of the phone version which leaves a lot of dead space on the screen. The only apps that really shined through the muck were those under the direct control of Google; Gmail, Calendar, Google Voice, Google Reader and Google Talk all worked and looked great!

The main reason I wanted, needed and bought a tablet was to give my phone a rest. I looked forward to a semi-laptop experience with the comfort of a lightweight, portable and sleek design and UI. The Galaxy 10.1 hardware fulfilled its calling, but inside it was broken. Developers clearly didn’t take the time to create great apps for the tools (especially the social ones) I used on a daily basis. I essentially held in my hand a larger and more expensive doppelganger of my phone. [insert sad trombone]

I returned the tablet the next day. I was completely unsatisfied. Did I dare move into the world of iProducts. No, I did not. Although I know the social apps I need look good and work well on the iPad, using the iPad for all my other core functions just doesn’t seem worth the investment – let alone trying to get it to sync with my phone and computer. Neither the Galaxy 10.1 or the iPad2 fit like a glove and after this experience I think I’ll wait to visit Tablet Town another day…