A feature that has been available on a select few other Windows Phone 8 mobile devices has now come to the Nokia Lumia range and this feature is App Folders, and going against rumour, it is actually available for ALL Nokia Lumia devices running the Amber update meaning you don’t have to wait for the Black update to arrive.
If you keep up-to-date with news on the Windows Phone platform, you will know that an unfortunate leak of the Windows Phone 8.1 build has spread the news of an application in beta which will replace the current speech search tools currently named “zCortana”. While many Windows Phone beta applications from Microsoft will normally have their names changed to be suitable for the platform, many people within the Windows Phone community are insisting that Microsoft keep the name Cortana for the new Windows Phone personal assistant.
It took some time but they are now here. When I was going through my daily sweep of the WPCentral application news articles, I noticed that they had posted about Microsoft releasing the Bing apps that are available on all Windows 8 and RT devices. The four apps that you can download now are News, Weather, Finance and Sports.
Try out a new way to share photos with users all over the world anonymously!
I’m always looking out for new and exciting apps through the new+rising feature in the Windows Phone marketplace when I discovered Rando. Looking through the description for the application, I was immediately interested.
While Rando still has the sharing aspect of some big named photo sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat, it takes away the social side in that photos can’t be liked, shared or commented on. The application works anonymously so when you take a photo, it is then sent to someone in the world who uses the Rando application. Once you’ve sent a photo, you are then available to receive one back from anyone in the world.
All of the photos that you send and receive are displayed in this circular effect much like a peephole. All of the images that you take are then stored in this format into your Windows Phone photo camera roll. I can’t seem to find a way to save the photos that you receive but they are stored in the application through a timeline of Randos.
Some little features that are great in the application is that when you are on your timeline, you can tap on an image which will then flip over to show the location where the image was sent from! The application also uses push notifications to let you know when you have received a new Rando or when your Rando has been received by a user. If you also receive a Rando which you deem inappropriate you can report the sender and remove the picture by holding down on the Rando.
Rando reminds me of an activity my girlfriend, Hannah, takes part of. The process is very similar to the website Postcrossing where people from all around the world send postcards to each other. The anonymous sharing of the photos in Rando is the thing that makes this application stand out from all the other applications on the marketplace now. The idea is amazing and while the company, ustwo, may have released this application as experimental, I can see it taking off as one of the big photo sharing applications that so many love. The best part of it is that the developers have put the effort in to developing it for Windows Phone and even talked about their experience with Visual Studio and Expression Blend on their blog.
About a week ago, Nokia got in touch with me through Twitter after I had a conversation with a Nokia Lumia 520 user about their device as my girlfriend, Hannah, is looking to get one once her contract runs out. Well the good guys at Nokia asked me if she would like to trial a Lumia 520 before she commits to getting one which was great!
@jamzc92 Hi James, did you girlfriend decide whether or not to go for a Lumia 520 or not yet? We have them available for trial if that helps
— Nokia Connects (@Nokia_Connects) May 21, 2013
Hannah only received the device a few days ago and has had a little play around with it so expect a post to appear soon over on her blog which you can read here: http://hannahackroyd.wordpress.com. However, I had a little play with it too and from having my Lumia 920, I could instantly tell some cool things in both devices and some things that even the Lumia 520 won me over on. My review is probably will be a little more technical than Hannah’s will be so mine might appeal to the tech users, however hers will appeal to the everyday user and give a good reason about why everyone should switch to Lumia and Windows Phone.
Before I go into the review of the 520, you need to know that this is Nokia’s low-end device which means it does have features missing from the higher-end devices like my Lumia 920 but boy are you going to love this device just as much.
So let’s kick this review off with the 520′s sleek body. When I saw the device, I thought it had a unibody like the 920. The back case is so in-line with the device that it genuinely looked like the battery was built in. Now this is cool for two reasons. The phone looks like a unibody first, and second, if the battery dies later in life like most batteries do, it can just be replaced easily. Also the yellow is just awesome. I do wish I had just waited and bought the yellow 920 when it came back into stock but I’m impatient and just impulse bought it.
Next on my list is the screen. Although the 520 still packs the WVGA resolution that the original Windows Phone 7 OS was known for, it looks so crisp and clear on the Lumia 520. I personally thought that the screen looked a lot clearer than that of the 920. I’m not saying that the 920′s screen is bad, it just seemed a lot brighter and cleared on the 520.
The Lumia 520 comes with a ton of expandable storage. Although the device itself only has 8GB, you get an extra 7GB from SkyDrive and you can even use a MicroSD in the 520 with up to 64GB extra storage. I don’t think you will be able to get a cheaper phone than the 520 and have as much storage as you can get. You seem to pay so much more for models of iPhone which just have extra storage when MicroSD cards are relatively cheap.
The device even sports a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 which allows the phone to run as smoothly as my feature filled Lumia 920. Unless you play with one yourself, you won’t understand how smooth the device is. There is no jittering when you swipe across screens or animations when apps load. It just performs like any of the higher-end phones do.
For a low-end Windows Phone device, it is definitely worth the money for what you get. Nokia have really put the effort into making their range of Lumia Windows Phone devices the best they can and I applaud them for that. One of the best part of the Lumia range is that every phone has something different that makes it personalised for specific people. The professional camera lovers can go for the 920 or the newer 925/928. I read somewhere online that someone had called the high-end Lumia phones “Cameras with a phone in them”. If you like taking pictures but can’t afford the high-end phones there are the mid-range 720 which are just as good. And if you want a budget phone which still has an amazing OS and Nokia featured filled apps, there is the 520.
I think Hannah is looking like she might get the Lumia 520 as she loves her current Lumia 800 and the Windows Phone OS. I’m glad that I have been able to show people how good Windows Phone is and get them to switch.
If you are interested in a Lumia 520 device in the UK, most carriers have a deal where you get the phone for free with 100 talk minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of internet for £15/month or you can buy the phone for about £90 on PAYG. You can check out all the technical information for the Lumia 520 on Nokia’s website: http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia520/