Windows Phone 8: View from the eyes of an Android Freak (Day 1)

The battle for the “Best Mobile OS” has been going on for quite a while now, with iOS and Android hogging the lead and leaving the others so far behind that they cant even begin to see the dust yet. There are many who have tried to challenge they’re dominance, others who are content with staying behind. One company that’s been battling endlessly with Apple and Google is Microsoft. Apple and Google started entering the smartphone market around the 2007-2008 time period and by 2009 they had revamped the entire concept of smartphones and touch screens. Microsoft on the other hand was still lacking in the mobile department, they were probably too preoccupied with the “Vista” problem. Microsoft’s mobile OS was  basically a smaller version of windows xp. It was hard to use, you couldn’t really figure out how to work it that well even if you were a huge geek and the worst thing was the resisitive touch screen, that was just terrible. Fast forward to October 2010, Microsoft announced a completely revamped ‘Windows Phone OS’ with a completely revamped “metro” interface and it was beautiful. I was lovestruck. Sadly though as with all new software, it had it’s issues. Jump forward to 2013. Microsoft’s been in the market for 3 years and they’ve had time to fix their issues. So is Windows Phone 8 a worthy competitor for the No. 1 spot?

 

My first day with windows phone 8 has been a blast. As with every new phone, I spent endless hours downloading new apps, customizing it (as much as windows phone would allow me to) and tinkering with it in every which way. I picked up the Lumia 520, which is the lowest end and ‘cheapest’ Windows Phone device in the market so obviously my expectations were low, surprisingly it blew me away. From the minute I turned it on the phone was fast, fluid and mellifluous. I really was not expecting such performance from such a low end device. Multitasking and opening apps were smooth, there was no input lag whatsoever.

The biggest Complaint people have about windows phone now days is that it’s app collection is terrible. On the contrary, I was able to find a replacement for my 5 most used apps quite quickly. Keep in mind I don’t use as many apps as I used to since I’ve been really tied down at work. My most used apps on my nexus are Falcon Pro, Instagram, Feedly, PocketCasts and Whatsapp. What I use on windows phone; Twitter, Instance (not that great but instagram should be coming soon), Nextgen reader, Podcast and Whatsapp. See, no trouble. One thing however is that some alternatives for free android apps were paid on windows phone. Just a small annoyance. My favourite thing about windows phone is the brilliant sync integration. I literally just had to sign in to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and immediately it started populating my entire device with my data. The photos app had my facebook photo’s, the people tile was an integrated feed of my facebook, twitter and linkedIn and the me tile had all my information already. Other than that you can even use facebook chat through the default messaging app, that’s brilliant!

One of the biggest gripes I’ve had however is that there’s no unified notification center, so I tend to miss a lot of notifications and only become aware of them when I scroll through and see the tile. That and the fact there are no quick toggles for settings like WiFi and bluetooth, altough I’m certain you can pin those settings to your start screen, you still have to open the app and switch the toggle.

Apart from that, I’m quite astonished. I’ve never been this satisfied with a phone of this pricepoint before. Devices at this price point have always irked me more than they have impressed me. Keep in mind I haven’t even had the phone for a full 24 hours yet and I plan on using the phone for at least two weeks or more before I give you my full and final opinion, which will most probably be in the form of a YouTube review so stay tuned folks and make sure to subscribe or keep coming back so that you don’t miss anything.

Thanks for reading!

 

Mobile operating system alternatives that stand a chance

How many of you out there are sick of the smartphone wars? You know the war of the mobile OS’, largely dominated by Android and iOS. The smartphone wars has chewed up and spit out lot’s of competition over the years, completely destroying some companies (Palm/Hp, Symbian) and some who just refuse to give up (RIM, Microsoft). There’s certainly no lack of choice when it comes to mobile OS preference, but what happens if you get bored with the so-called “Big 4”, wouldn’t you like more options? Well here’s a list of the mobile OS’s that I think may actually stand a chance.

MeeGo

You may have heard of MeeGo before, it’s the OS everyone claimed was doomed. Nokia released it on the N9 stating it was “Our first and last MeeGo phone”. It released to mixed emotions, some praised it for its great simplicity and multitasking where many thrashed the lack of apps and the Ovi Store. No one really paid much attention to MeeGo presuming it would be gone forever, but alas! A group of Nokia employee’s and MeeGo fanboys left Nokia to work on MeeGo and asked the great king Elop if they could have the necessary legal documents to pursue their dream, so with Nokia’s blessing they continue to develop MeeGo and offer it as a free, open operating system, and they all lived happily ever after. The End. (Notice how this story actually works as a fairy tale? that’s pretty neat!)

Mozilla Firefox OS

A Firefox, everyone’s backup browser. The way I see this is, Mozilla saw that google was making “Chrome OS” and they decided that they would do the same thing, but mobile! Firefox OS offers the same experience you get on the Firefox browser, plus a few more features. It’s a very simple operating system with all the basic features you’d expect out of a phone, it’s not really for people who do everything on their phone, it’s for people who do only the basics. App support isn’t that good but considering all the apps will be HTML5 based you should see a lot of web apps appear, they’re not as speedy as native apps but developers won’t mind making them as they’re easy to program and debug and will release them to have a larger market share/consumer base. There’s not much else to say about this other than what we know so far, so we’ll have to wait and see!

Open WebOS

WebOS was actually really promising before HP sent it packing. I always wanted to buy an HP Pre 3, at heart I might still be a webOS fanboy. If you’re like me, there’s hope my brethren! A while back HP released WebOS to the public (this allows anyone to work on the code) and some people got it running on the Galaxy Nexus! So you can say that I’m fascinated, and can’t wait for further development!

Ubuntu Phone

And here we have reached my favourite of the bunch, the ubuntu phone! I’m a huge fan of Ubuntu, I use it on my PC and laptop and have Xubuntu (forked Ubuntu with xfce) running on my laptop. I love the open-ness, the interface, Linux and everything about it. Ubuntu’s been great for me the past couple of years and I’m super stoked that it’s finally going to be arriving on the phone. It has a great new user interface and has support for native apps as well as HTML5 and, when you dock the device it has the capability to turn into a full-fledged ubuntu desktop. The only thing that would make this better is if you could dual-boot it with android and open webOS (high hopes).

There are a couple I didn’t go into detail with such as the Jolla Sailfish and Samsung’s Tizen, but these are the ones I felt would have the most potential to turn into your daily drivers. Sadly we now reach the end of this post, but fear not as there shall be more in the near future, for now you can keep in touch with my twitter @SnazzyHam, thanks for reading folks and as always, Stay Snazzy!

Best Of Windows 8 Hardware – Tablets / Convertibles

With Windows 8 being launched today, a whole slew of devices or computers were launched over the past year to complement it. here’s a list of my favourite tablets, with a list on desktops and laptops coming soon.

1. Dell XPS Duo 12

pros: innovative design, good specifications, ultrabook like form factor

cons: expensive ($1,200) (still cheaper than certain macbook air’s and better IMO)

2. HP Envy x2

pros: looks like a laptop but is also a tablet, brilliant battery life

cons: still unsure for now, will update if any are found

3. Asus Vivo Tab

Just as you expect it to be, comes in RT and Normal variants.

4. Samsung ATIV Smart PC

comes with an S-Pen for galaxy note like functionality!

5. Dell XPS 10

How to speed up your PC, and prep it for Windows 8!

first of all, Happy Windows 8 day everybody! it’s a great day today is it not? I for one am super excited for Windows 8, I may be a bit speculative of it tho which is why I shall only install it on my laptop and then once I’m comfortable with it I shall install it on my pc. Over the past couple of months my laptops been giving me a hell load of problems, it’s a great laptop no doubt, great specs, 8GB of RAM and it’s still slow as hell. So I downloaded some software, cleaned up some stuff and voila, it’s ready for Windows 8. First I’ll be taking you through the things to do to speed up your PC, then I shall tell you about the methods of updating from windows xp, vista and 7 to windows 8 and finally an alternative for the lazy people.

1. Speed up Your PC!

one disadvantages with PC’s is the amount of clutter you end up installing over the years, the amount of temp files that are stored and cache files, all of this collect over time and slow down your computer quite a bit. The worst part is that windows doesn’t let you easily access these files and even when you access them you can’t tell the difference from the important ones and the unimportant ones. That’s why you should download CCleaner. With one click of a button it deletes all the unnecessary temp and cache files and really helps in increasing you’re computers speed and performance, it cleaned up 13GB space for me! There are many softwares you could use for uninstalling software but in my opinion the built in one for windows works fine, but if you don’t like that then CCleaner has one as well which works quite well. Another thing you should do is browse through your files for unnecessary junk that’s taking up space on your pc, this really helps free up some valuable hard drive space. Once again doing this manually works great but if you want to do it in a “prettier” way I suggest you download DiskSpaceFan. [Sources: LifeHacker]. Some people say that with windows 7 you don’t need to worry about defragmenting your hard drive (google defragmentation if you don’t get it) but I still feel that it does increase performance. My favourite tool for this is Auslogics Disk Defrag  This concludes my guide for speeding up ypu’re pc, now windows 8 time!

2. Different Upgrade options

There are two types of Windows 8 (normal and Pro) and they’re not really that different. Pro just adds various options for businesses and power users, if you don’t know what a power user is then chances are you aren’t one and the normal version of Windows 8 should be fine for you. If you’re on windows 7 pro or ultimate then you have to update to windows 8 pro. Any other Windows 7 types have the option of upgrading to Windows 8 or Windows 8 pro. Upgrading to windows 8 from windows 7 is a breeze, just click upgrade and all you’re apps, settings and data(files you’ve stored on your hard drive like documents, movies, songs) will be automatically transferred for you, no hassle. If you’re upgrading from windows Vista to 8 then only you’re settings and data will be moved. From XP to 8 only data and nothing else will be moved. One thing to note is that to upgrade from Vista you have to update to SP1 first and from xp you have to update to SP3 first. This can be done from within windows and don’t worry, it’s free. Chances are it automatically updated for you already so you may be good to go. To check just go into Control Panel, System and Security, System and see what it says next to Operating System.

3. Easy yet Hard yet Easy way Out

Do a fresh install. A fresh install is when you get the windows disc and empty you’re hard drive and install from scratch, giving you the feeling that you’ve just bought a new PC. I used to be a big fan of fresh installs, I used to love doing them. I never minded backing up all my data and software and stuff and starting from scratch everytime, it was actually quite fun. The reason I called this easy is because there’s no need to clean your cache and stuff, since you start from scratch, there’s no nonsense stored on the pc, thus letting it perform to it’s full potential. Doing this will even give you bause speeds on 1GB of RAM… for a while.

Tech Round Up

hey there,

firstly, I would like to sincerely apologize for not posting in a long, long time. I know it’s no excuse, but I’ve been so tied down with school lately and a lot has been going on, I haven’t even watched any of this years tv episodes! (yes I know Nisha Bhojwani is going to be furious at me for that) l

Now on to the tech, where to start??? So much has hapenned! A slew of phones and tablets being released over CES and MWC! We have quad core phones with the HTC One X, phones that replace everything else, yes I’m referring to the Asus Padfone, a part phone, part tab and part laptop. That’s right. Also, the invasion of the netbook is upon us, in a frantic battle to push the post pc era as far back as possible, Intel launched a slew of Ultrabooks (Super slim and portable yet amazingly powerful laptops) at CES2012, all set to battle the beautiful and elegant Macbook Air. Also, as a preparation for the post pc era, Intel launched ARM based Medfeild processors for phones and tablets, they’re pretty brilliant in my honest opinion.

Also, If you haven’t noticed already, the rage comics revolution is really taking the society by a storm. Try finding someone, in my school at least, who won’t laugh to b**** please, or doesn’t know what me gusta is. It’s crazy, but I too am one of the loyal followers, although my weapon of choice is iFunny.

In the windows world, if you read my windows 8 dev preview review and wanted to get your hands on a more stable version, have no fear, the final version is close, so close I can almost taste it… But for those impatient bum’s such as myself, the consumer preview is available for download right now, and it’s impressive. I’ve been running it as my primary OS for the past few days and its gorgeous! A review of that will be up as soon as possible.

And last but not least, the new iPad is being launched today! Big whoop! Sorry,that was mean, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. Mainly because the iPad 2 is still quite awesome. Anyway, I’ll be up watching the event and if you want to stay updated you can follow me on twitter (@SnazzyHam). The iPad is rumored to have an HD retina display, 4G LTE(America Only), A better camera and a quad core processor, although lately there have been rumors of Apple planning to stick with dual core, rendering this as the iPad HD and not the iPad 3.

Well folks, I guess that will be all, Take care and have a supercalifragilisticespialidocsious day.

Snazzy Out.

 

Best Looking phones (end of 2011 issue)

I’m not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for buying phones that don’t have the right specs, but look freakin awesome! So heres my list of the top 8 best looking phones, in ascending order.

8. Blackberry Curve 9360

7. HTC Sensation XE

6. Apple iPhone 4/4S

5. LG Optimus 3D

4. Samsung/Google Galaxy Nexus

3. Motorola Droid Razr

2.  Motorola Droid X2

1. Nokia Lumia 800 (The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Especially)

OS Review – Windows 8

Yes, it’s true, for the first time since 1995 Microsoft has decided to overhaul the user interface on their coveted windows OS. People like me have been screaming “yes, finally!! get rid of that dipshit UI” but those loyal to microsoft are being very annoying regarding their concerns on the modernisation of the user interface.

I installed the Windows Developer Preview on my daily driver, my beloved laptop. Now yes I agree that is a very very stupid thing to do, considering this is just test software and not nearly stable enough to be my daily OS of choice, and all that is true. Although I was and still am truly amazed my the METRO UI on a big screen, especially since I’ve long been a fan of windows phone, this build had way to many bugs and glitches to run any of my software properly, It drained my battery like crazy, giving me a 3hour life span when I used to get 7, the brightness could never be adjusted, sound never worked and WiFi always got disconnected, hell it couldn’t even install the blackberry desktop software due to problems with .NET but I’m here to give you my review of what is to come in windows 8, and so far so good 🙂

We shall start with probably one of the most talked about features of the new OS, the start screen. The start screen was amazingly well thought of and all the work and effort by the entire microsoft team is visible in this dev preview. Even though it’s mainly designed for tablet use and finger touchy touchy, the new UI works great with a mouse and keyboard as well. With a multitouch trackpad, you can use two finger swipe to scroll back and forth around your start screen and pinch to view the entire thing as a map, although I have not been able to accomplish this. The use of keyboard shortcuts also helps navigating around your start screen, such as
“windows key + a” lets you search for apps, all in a very METRO way.

Moving on to number two, the explorer. The new windows explorer is amazing! I never liked the ribbon system, but over here it’s extremely useful and allows much more quick and efficient workflow. I can do all the usual stuff from right on top plus a hell of a lot more stuff I never knew I could, and with 3rd party developers allowed access to add their own plug ins to the ribbon, there’s gonna be some pretty good stuff heading our way. The transfer system is also really amazing, I used to hate copying and moving stuff on the old OS’s because windows explorer would crash or lag if you tried to move too many different things from different places, not to mention the crazy number of pop up windows. the new system allows all the transfers to combine their-self into one window and finally transfers can be paused! thank you microsoft! Oh and not to forget native ISO support! Bowchickawowow

On to my most favorite part of windows 8, the new task manager, now many people don’t even care about this so I shall make this breif, while sitting in my briefs. THE NEW TASK MANAGER IS AWESOME! that’s all I have to say, as you can see in the picture above, it allows us to monitor our memory usage, cpu usage, data trafic, etc. and gives us complete information detailing what’s going on in our computers, sweet!

Applications baby! the most amazing this about this OS are the applications! They’re built atop of html5 and other languages and incorporate metro so they have the best user interfaces and feel completely awesome to use! I do not know how to explain this in words, you will just have to use these yourself to know how awesome they are. Some apps I could really see being built amazingly in metro are Skype, Twitter/TweetDeck, Microsoft Office, Adobe CS’s, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Live Writer, uTorrent and basically everything else! It will just feel completely awesome, awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome!

In conclusion, windows 8 is a very fast, smooth and easy to use operating system thats not only beautiful in terms of the UI but also under the hood. I am extremely excited about the next release of windows and even though I am uninstalling it from my laptop, I will miss it immensely and I am eager and anxious for the next build, which is the beta build, expected to be released by feb 2012 and will definitely be reinstalling it on my laptop.