Windows Phone

(Updated) What will be new in Windows Phone Tango (WindowsPhone 7.5 Refresh)

(Updated) What will be new in Windows Phone Tango (WindowsPhone 7.5 Refresh)

Tango-Update

In the last days several news about Tango where made public, where some new screen shots from an Windows Phone Tango (although Microsoft does not call it like this) ROM are imaged. The images are originally from xda-developers and WP7forum.ru.

So here is what is new in short:

Update 1: More apps in TaskSwitcher – NOT!

Tango Multitasking

Yesterday I reported about the leaked news that Tango will have an increased task ability of 8 apps. As stated by HD2Owner on xda, this is a cooked in feature, not a real one. Sorry for the confusion.

Far less memory usage

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As you can see on this picture, the xda-devs made a comparison between the actual version 8107 and the awaited Mango refresh with version 8773 (a cooked ROM). There is less memory usage on the newer build. Whether this is on final build like this or not, we can actually not say. It makes sense that the new version does use less memory, as there will be certain devices with only 256 MB. And Microsoft will for sure make Windows Phone as fast and fluid as we know already also on these devices.

Evolved MMS settings

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As you can see on this shot, there are new settings for delivery confirmation and acknowledgement.

We will also be able to use multiple attachments in one MMS, but his might be a carrier-dependent settings. Background info: there are certain carriers which have a size limit on MMS, so this will maybe not available on all devices.

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Updated Marketplace

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If an app is not able to run on a 256 MB-device, the marketplace tells you that for your device the app is not available. So this will lead to an still fast and fluid user experience, just because you cannot install memory-eating apps .

I will update this post as soon as new information are showing up.

Sources: xda-developers, WP7forum.ru, WP7forum.ru

Posted by msicc in Archive, 2 comments
Confirmed: Google is working on a G+ app for WindowsPhone

Confirmed: Google is working on a G+ app for WindowsPhone

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Just a few minutes after I switched off my PC today, I received a note that is worth to share.

According to Google Germany´s press spokesperson Stefan Keuchel, Google is working on an app for their social network.

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As you can see, @dominiksichling asked him on Twitter whether and when an G+ app for Windows Phone will be released.

Google´s answer: there is no date yet, but it is coming.

Good to see that also Microsoft competitors are working on apps for Windows Phone. This shows that Windows Phone finally is gaining really some attention.

Feel free to leave your thinkings in comments below.

Thx to @dominiksichling for sharing this news.

Posted by msicc in Archive, 2 comments
My CeBIT 2012 review

My CeBIT 2012 review

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Yesterday I was with a colleague at Hannover (Germany), to visit the CeBIT fair of this year. We started there in the morning, looking around what is new and cool.

The first things we looked at where some German ministries, but that was not so interesting. Then we watched a keynote for IPv6 and security, but the speaker was way too boring to stay there longer than the 15 minutes we rested there. We were moving around, having a look what Google does (promoting G+ for pages and a coffee bar), had a look at some German web content provider, but there was nothing really exciting there. Finally, we arrived at hall 4, where Microsoft had its presence.

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As you can see, the stand of Microsoft is big, in fact it is one of the biggest I have seen there.

So what did Microsoft present?

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  • Cloud Computing (Windows Azure, Microsoft CRM Online, Windows Intune and Office)
  • Productivity and Collaboration with Office & Co. (Microsoft Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint, Project, Office and Office 365)
  • ERP and CRM Solutions with Microsoft Dynamics
  • Data Management, Business Intelligence (BI), Integration (SQL Server 2012, BizTalk Server, Sharepoint Server, Silverlight and Visual Studio 2010)
  • Client and Server (Windows Server, System Center, Small Business Server 2011, Forefront)
  • and of course they did a preview of Windows 8

While presenting this things above, of course there was even more to discover:

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Above you can see another view on a part of the Microsoft stand, where you were able to play around with some Ultrabooks and Windows 7. But that was not interesting for me, as I know Windows 7, and the Ultrabooks are nice to look at but more interesting was to get a view on a Windows 8 tablet. Microsoft used the Build Slates to demonstrate. Sadly you could get your hands on only after you made an appointment, and of course they did not have any appointment left before the afternoon/evening. So I decided to go to the Windows Phone part.

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At the Windows Phone part, I had to wait a couple of minutes to get my hands on. First I could not believe what I saw there, but it was true: Nokia Lumia 900. Here are some hands-on shots:

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The device has similar specs to the HTC Titan, it is only slightly smaller in screen size and has the equal good haptic of the  Lumia 800. Paired with the fact that Nokia offers a bunch of very useful apps with its Windows Phones for free, I am really thinking about swapping my Titan into a Lumia 900. With this Nokia device it is really hard to stay on the Titan.

After playing around with the Lumia 900, we recognized that there is also an Xbox part. My colleague (who is originally an Apple fanboy) recently  bought an Xbox and a Kinect, so he could not resist to play Fruit Ninja:

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Microsoft also presented Dance Central 2 and another Kinect game – I will talk about this in another post.

As we finally could tear away from Microsoft´s stand, we were looking into the other halls. Dell, IBM, HP, nothing spectacular than already available products or talking about server racks and vending machines. After a short break it was time for me to turn to hall 8, where Microsoft did a CeBIT special about “Developing for Windows 8”.

My colleague was turning another bit around while I was there. He told me that he was at AVM´s stand, where he had a look to an LTE router, and visited an cellular carrier, where they were  demonstrating LTE.

My conclusion: it was a bit disappointing for me as there was not so much interesting stuff as I hoped (especially from the hardware part), but my experience yesterday confirmed my thought that it is difficult to see something new, because all was presented already on MWC last week and not all vendors and companies are heading to CeBIT afterwards. Microsoft did an excellent job in my eyes by presenting some interesting information about their products, and the did also include developers. So for this part I can only say: all thumbs up!

Note: thanks to @dominiksichling for supporting me yesterday and let me use photo/video where he is shown for my blog post(s).

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Microsoft at CeBIT 2012: “Microsoft Heartbeat – The Power of Design”

This was the motto today on Microsoft´s CeBit opening press conference.

It was all about Metro. Ralph Haupter, General Manager at Microsoft Germany, explained what this means for Microsoft:

”Design also says something about the state of a company. We used to define ourselves by our software’s functionality. Today the question at Microsoft is how we people can get to grips with this wonderful new digital world and enjoy it, whether we want to entrust it with our data and if we can control it. This is a question of integrated design.”

A homogeneous look on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8

All major products of Microsoft are using the Metro look. Be it the experience on Windows Phone, the new Xbox Dashboard or last weeks previewed Windows 8: Metro leads to an homogeneous look and feel. Also the CeBIT trade show stand is shining in the new Metro look.

Microsoft is facing three critical factors here:

  • Esthetics of the experience. For Microsoft, working with technology nowadays should be both appealing and enjoyable.
  • Clarity of the function. IT must stay controllable with a vast number of devices as well as data sources
  • Intelligence of the blueprint.  New the technologies only become flexible and smart, if they are in first place.

The result is shown through the Metro Design. With the consumer preview been downloaded over a million times within the first 24 hours, it is clear the there is a huge interest in the Metro UI. Also for developers the Metro UI has potential:

One of the first German suppliers in the new Windows Store is the Berlin start-up company ”6Wunderkinder”. Their ”Wunderlist” app, a no-frills and easy-to-use Task Manager will soon be available to download. Christian Reber, CEO of the successful company, underlines that an attractive and effective operational concept is key factor for the app’s success. The Metro Design provides the ideal framework here. Plus Windows, which is by far the most popular operating system worldwide. ”We are not only convinced by the Metro Design approach, but also see an enormous potential for our company to reach far more people with our ideas and apps via Windows 8 in the future,” explained Reber.

The new experience will be available in 231 different markets, while using more than 100 languages. This opportunities are only given on Microsoft´s upcoming OS.

Tomorrow there will be a keynote of Kevin Turner, Microsoft´s Chief Operating Officer, at 10 am (EST). He will talk about „What’s Next: IT trends, business opportunity and Windows 8”. You can watch the keynote live at the CeBIT Global Conferences 2012.

Interesting words at the end:

“Windows 8 is also ”Windows reinvented” for a whole new generation of devices. It will be the best operating system for hundreds of millions of PCs, tablets and other devices, and for way more than one billion people across the whole world”, says Ralph Haupter.

I find interesting that Microsoft says “PCs, tablets and other devices”. Maybe this is also another hint of merging the Windows 8 kernel into Windows Phone, or even another Xbox Dashboard upgrade?

If you want to find out more about the CeBIT-News from Microsoft, head over to Microsoft´s official CeBIT site (also fully designed in Metro).

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WPDEV on W8CP: How to install the Windows Phone SDK

Yesterday I was all day playing around with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (W8CP) as many of us.

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Today I wanted to get a bit more serious and tried to install the Windows Phone SDK.

Once downloaded from App Hub, I clicked “Install”, and waited for the SDK to complete  . Install went trough, and I was waiting for opening my current project.

But then I was shocked by numerous error messages, all of the regarding XNA plugins and updates. So the dream was over. The SDK does not support W8CP.

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I am a very Metro-addicted man, so I was searching for a solution. On Twitter I was tipped by @nikovrdoljak to one part of the solution.

The errors are caused by Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable

XNA Game Studio installs a version of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable behind the scenes.  Some older versions of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable attempt to install and use a file that is being installed by Windows 8, and the older versions of the redistributable are not compatible with the newer version of the file that is installed by Windows 8.  Newer versions of the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable are compatible with Windows 8, and if you pre-install the new redistributable before installing XNA Game Studio, setup will recognize that it is already there and use the new version instead of trying to install the old version.

The reason this issue also impacts the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 is that this SDK installs XNA Game Studio behind the scenes, which in turn installs the Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable behind the scenes.

So where to download the actual version? Let´s check this later. I followed the steps shown on Aaron Stebner’s WebLog. But that was not all.

I think more WPDev are willing to try, so here is a checklist:

  • uninstall all parts of the Windows Phone SDK – Note: there are some bits left after you use the automatic install, so you have to uninstall remaining parts of the SDK manually
  • do a reboot (that thing you do not want to do once you started playing around with W8CP). Don´t worry, it is faster as on Windows 7 (on my 2 year old ASUS under one minute).
  • go to the Games for Windows download page, which you can find on this page: http://www.xbox.com/de-DE/LIVE/PC/DownloadClient. Replace the “de-DE”-part with your regional language code, for the US p. e. “en-US” to download the correct version of the redistributable.
  • start installation
  • in the middle of the installation, the UAC asks you to allow the installation. Now click on “change, when this message appears” (the original wording might be slightly different, I translated it from German).
  • pull down the switch to set Windows to not ask you anymore (yes, even if this is not recommended)
  • now let the installation of Games for Windows –LIVE Redistributable finish.
  • finally, start installation of the Windows Phone SDK. This time, it takes a little longer than before (probably due to the now working install parts)
  • if you want to, turn the UAC on again (control panel/more settings/users/settings for user access control)

Congrats, you installed the Windows Phone SDK, but…

you still have to deal with some points:

  • the SDK currently works only with Visual Studio 2010
  • the emulator does not work, so you have to debug on device
  • the updated Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 (which is only to have a look, not the final version), might afford additional steps

For me it only worked with above mentioned steps. If you had another steps to do or additional information, leave a comment to discuss.

happy coding on Windows 8, everyone!

Posted by msicc in Archive, 6 comments
What´s up for Microsoft in 2012?

What´s up for Microsoft in 2012?

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Today I want to give a sneak preview of what we can expect from Microsoft this year.

Several dates are just fixed:

January 10-13: CES

This will be Microsoft´s last appearance on the Consumer Electronic Show. While this decision started a controversial discussion last year, we will sure see some new features for our Xbox, Windows Phone and probably on Windows 8. Also Nokia is located with a big stand, so I guess there will sure be some Windows Phone news. Maybe we developers will get again some beta of the next Windows Phone version? Or a Windows Phone by Sony (Ericsson)?

February 27 –  March 1: Mobile World Congress

Well, this will be an interesting thing for me from two parts: first as an employee of Telefonicá, which has always something big to tell about their on-going projects like BlueVia, the API-program of them. The world central is also located in Spain, so it is only natural that there will be a huge presence of Telefonicá.  Second part is from my part as Microsoft fan. I expect further details about the next version of Windows Phone, and also some news about the tablet capabilities of Windows 8.

March 9-18: SWSX Interactive

Last year, we all received our fantastic IE9. What happens this year? IE10? Windows 8? Xbox? Well, actually there is nothing concrete, so I have to update this when there will be news.

April: MIX

Well, if you click on that site, there are no news about a conference this year. Maybe it will be mashed up in this years Build. MS itself has no information to share at the moment.

June 5-7: E3 Expo

This is Microsoft´s primary Xbox Stage, and so we will normally see a lot of new Games both for Windows Phone and Xbox (like in 2011). I think there will be also some new apps around there, as the Xbox is now our multimedia centre in our living rooms.

June 11-14: TechEd 2012 

This is for pros and devs and is normally about already announced products. This is primarily for North America.

June 25-29: TechEd Europe 2012

After cancelling last year’s TechEd Europe, Microsoft is set to hold this year´s event.

July 9-13 Worldwide Partner Conference 2012

Microsoft is annually holding this event to thank their partners, show their roadmaps. As the trend for cloud computing continues, I guess there will be a large time of talking about the cloud, the cloud and the cloud.

November 12-15 SharePoint Conference 2012

As until now there is nothing about Office, Office 365 and SharePoint around, I guess this will be the scheduled launch conference for the updated 2012 product line.

So now you have a smart oversight about this years Microsoft events. Surely this list will be updated from time to time, as there are missing some events:

Build 2012

As it seems without a doubt the year of Windows 8 and the next version of Windows Phone, I am sure there will be an event. At this moment there is no information about it, but the missing MIX-conference is another indicator for this event to happen.

As I mentioned above, I will steadily update this post to keep the list up to date.

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My review of a year with Microsoft and a to-do-list for 2012

My review of a year with Microsoft and a to-do-list for 2012

iluvallMS

With the end of the year just around the corner, I want to take a look back to an amazing year for me as a Microsoft fan. There were certainly ups and downs, but over all it was a great year – as user and also as developer.

I do not want to take any numbers – there are already dozens of post where the numbers were discussed, so I guess we don´t need to get another post about this. I will tell you how the year felt for me.

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First we got a look into the future at the CES. With the CES we received a first view on Microsoft´s new strategy: Metro over all devices. We saw a first preview of Windows 8 with a Metro design part, but still have to wait for more information until Build in September, which was a specific event for Windows 8 (codename for now). The most appreciated news was the SoC-technology (System on a Chip), which will be supported by Windows 8. Also there were some Kinect improvements, as well as an updated version on Microsoft Surface. And finally Microsoft announced the NoDo-features like Copy&Paste.

The NoDo-Update came for Windows Phone. Well, as I got an unlocked HTC HD7 at this time, this was no real problem for me. I forced the update (thanks to the guys who found out this little trick), and that was it. This changed only little things. The carrier locked phones had to wait a bit longer, as the carriers were still in testing. The update seems also to do not well with some Samsung Phones, so there was always bad critics for the update process.

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Ok, Back to February and to the Mobile World Congress. MS gave us a first preview on the Internet Explorer 9, and compared it to the iOS-Safari. It was clearly the better one. But as always Microsoft also made us sad, as we had to wait until Windows Phone Mango. Finally we got also the first note that Windows Phone will receive Multitasking capabilities. And then there was the big bang of Nokia joining the Windows Phone game.

At the same time I made my fishing license. After I got approved for it, I wanted to download some fishing apps. But there wasn´t even one at this time. I thought by myself, ok, give them some time, they will come.  The first time I was on the water I needed a special knot, luckily I was on a place where I got an internet connection. But it was annoying to not have an app for it. So I decided to learn the Windows Phone development.

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Back at home, downloaded the tools, and found out that at Channel 9 is a Beginner series for Windows Phone Development. I stepped through to all the videos, and after 2 month or so (due to my primary work it took that long) I started to develop my fishing knots application. I learned a lot more while I was coding this application, but the basics I learned helped me a lot to get started.

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While I started with my own WPDev-Story, in April Microsoft held his annual MIX-conference. This was the first time for me, that it was not only from a user part from interest, but also from a developer part. We received an updated SDK, which was an huge step towards Windows Phone Mango. Microsoft announced 1500 new features which we developers can take advantage from with the new Windows Phone Mango release. User will get over 500 new features. The Kinect SDK expanded to Windows, with some really cool projects to use with. And last but not least Microsoft released the final Beta of Silverlight.

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The rumours were also going wild for Microsoft to buy Skype. Well, finally in may Microsoft and Skype announced that the rumours were true.

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Until now, a awesome first half of the year. Then in June, the annual E3-Games convention started. Microsoft introduced a bunch of new games, like Fruit Ninja Kinect, Forza Motorsport 4 as well as Family Titles like Disneyland Adventures for Kinect or Once upon a Monster for Kinect. My kids where as excited as I was, there was only one big error: We had a Xbox, but no Kinect. This was one reason I wanted a Kinect like never before. Well, Santa (aka my wife, 1000 kisses for her) solved this little problem for me a few days ago. Also some titles for Windows Phone were announced, sadly not all of them where released until now. We also were introduced to the new Xbox Dashboard and the new bunch of features like Voice commands. Microsoft released also Kinect fun labs, which is a portal to some awesome Apps for Kinect like Build a Buddy or Kinect Me!.

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In July Windows Phone Mango got RTM-status, followed by a special developer beta. I enjoyed the beta, and all on my primary work were jealous about the fact I had mango before them.

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After a calm summer, in September Microsoft revealed Windows 8 and released to Windows Phone Mango Update. Together with the new Xbox Dashboard, Microsoft revealed its “3-Screens”-Strategy.

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With new Windows Phone Hardware it steps forward, Nokia launched also finally their first Windows Phones. More and More must-have Smartphone-apps came to Windows Phone, such as Navigon or Whatsapp. Microsoft´s own advertising system launched in other countries like Germany and some other European countries.

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Well, also my Blog made a change. With all that Metro-stuff around me, I am now addicted to this design. A hosted blog on WordPress was no longer good for me, so I registered msicc.net and host it on my own. I found a good designer who has experience with themes for WordPress, and he made this fantastic metro design for me. It is currently still a work in progress, as there will be a mobile metro theme as well as some other features.

Microsoft released also some of their services on the other smartphone platforms iOS and Android. MS is a software company, and this step is more than logical for me. Some features are also after exclusive to Windows Phone, so it does not really hurt.

It was an amazing year, but there were also some disappointing things: Microsoft stated that Skype will launch on Windows Phone this fall, then by the month of December. Sadly it is still missing. We tried to force Microsoft to release it via twitter or Facebook, but there was and is not statement when we will get it on our Phones. Also Photosynth, launched on iPhone and promised for a launch with Mango, is still not here – without comment from Microsoft.

I really hope Microsoft will really work with the feedback we provide trough their programs on userchoice.com to improve the overall experience on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows.

Still there are a lot to-dos for Microsoft for 2012:

  • release Skype as an app
  • built in Skype into Windows Phone
  • Make all Bing features available outside the US
  • improve the Xbox-Live-Game-Submission on Marketplace
  • continue to get more devs on their side to provide Windows Phone apps
  • more marketing for Windows Phone and the experience
  • improve Windows Phone with the newest technologies like NFC, dual core CPU´s
  • open even more APIs to us developers
  • make TellMe simply better than Siri on iOS, including opening to developers
  • shorten the time between announcement and release btw. increase betas to more customers
  • release Zune-Pass in more countries. This is still a huge advantage over the other platforms as it is built in!
  • gain more partnerships for content on Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone
  • release more features in small updates to the Windows Phone platform to compete with the others, instead of releasing only one major update
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Fishing Knots 1.4 is available & on Christmas Sale!

Fishing Knots 1.4 is available & on Christmas Sale!

My Fishing Knots app has been updated to version 1.4

What´s new?

I added completely reworked graphics to the app. The images are now also following your background color (black or white).

Of course you have still the former features like:

  • controllable animations
  • read aloud the instructions for a knot
  • 3-step instructions with image and text

Of course the German an the Italian version have this update, too.

Check here some screenshots:

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X-Mas sale:

From now until December, 31st you can buy my app for a reduced price!

Check out the marketplace:

English:       Download-EN-Med

German:    

Italian:       

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HTC Titan vs. Nokia Lumia 800

HTC Titan vs. Nokia Lumia 800

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Today I am going to compare the HTC Titan to the Nokia Lumia 800.

Display:

The HTC Titan spots a 4,7 inch display, while the Nokia Lumia has a one inch smaller display. The Titan has a clear SLCD display, while the Lumia has an AMOLED display. Here you can see the difference (brightness on both devices is set to automatic):

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The Lumia´s color are more powerful due to the AMOLED technology. Personally, I think the calibration has too much of red in it. This makes me feel the HTC display is more natural in color.

Typing:

Well, let´s go ahead. Typing on Titan is really easy and fast, with nearly no wrong taps on the keyboard. Typing on Lumia is also easy, I was impressed that I was able to use it nearly as fast as the Titan.

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Camera:

Both devices have an 8 MP camera. I know that MP is not all, but in a comparison it still has to tell something. Also both devices come with a F2.2 lens. Nokia has the clear advantage of a Carl Zeiss lens on the hardware side. Carl Zeiss is a German manufacturer which is specialized on optical hardware.

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If you compare the two images, you will recognize that the Lumia´s color are not as powerful as the Titan ones. In my opinion the Titan´s Image looks a little better than the Lumia´s. Both Images are taken with flash. The quality of both cameras is really good for smartphone cameras. So here I will stop with a draw for both devices.

Performance:

Both the Titan as well as the Lumia are fast devices. In daily use, I did not recognize any problems or difference between them. In this case, let us have a look on the numbers (WP Bench):

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As you can see, the Titan has a little better result than the Lumia. The difference is so small, you won´t even check this in daily use.

Sound:

The Titans speaker is on the back, while the Lumia´s is on the bottom of the device. Both speakers have a good sound, while the Lumia´s has a bit weak loudness. The Titan has also a sound optimizer, while the Lumia does not have this. I am sure Nokia will bring any sound optimization in future. For now, plus goes to the Titan.

Differences:

Until now, both devices seem to be a good decision. But as OEM´s, both Nokia and HTC are trying to differentiate from others.

Nokia has its own Navigation System, Nokia Drive and Nokia Music as well as Nokia Maps (last one will be a paid app on other OEM devices). It has no front camera and no gyroscope. We were told that there is also a Nokia section in the marketplace. Well, at least in Germany with o2-sold devices there is no Nokia section. You have to search the Marketplace manually.

HTC has a own Marketplace section, with tools and gadgets you will find useful (for example a torch-app). The Titan also has a front camera for video calls as well as a gyroscope.

Conclusion:

Both devices are really good smartphones. If you want to have a good, well priced device, I recommend for sure the Nokia Lumia 800.

As I am an enthusiastic user and also developer, my decision is the HTC Titan. You will get an future secure device, which has all possibilities a modern smartphone needs.

Thanks for your attention and feel free to leave a comment below.

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HTC HD7 vs. Radar vs. Titan (in the sun comparison)

HTC HD7 vs. Radar vs. Titan (in the sun comparison)

This week we saw how amazing the Nokia Lumia 800 Display survives under the sun. (if you missed it, click here.

As I don´t have a Nokia Lumia 800 yet, I decided to compare an HD7 with a Radar and a Titan.

First I made screenshots from HD7´s and Titan´s start screen to check if there is a difference. I hardly see a difference.

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So, my second step was to take two different photos on each Device. One from the sun with some veil of clouds in front, and one of a garden.

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Ok, it is no surprise that the Titan´s picture is the best as it has the best camera of the three devices. The Titan took also the most original colors on both motives. The Radar takes better picture than the HD7, but not as good as the Titan.

At least I compared the screen within the sun light. The screen brightness is set to automatic on all devices.

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As you can see, the Radar display is still readable, while the HD7´s display is near to not visible. The Titan´s display most readable. I used two different angles to see how the HD7´s display will respond to the others, but this makes no difference in reading.

So we have a clear winner here: the HTC Titan. The Radar is only little behind, while the HD7 is far from the two Mango phones.

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