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Sep 13

Nokia Lumia 1020: First week’s impressions of Windows Phone

CN Tower at night

The CN Tower in Toronto, shot at night without flash on Nokia Lumia 1020

It has now been a week since I got the Nokia Lumia 1020.
The phone feels great in your hand.
The photos are very good.
You do feel like you live on an island.

Windows Phone is still a novelty.

I love the flat design and once you get its implementation of panels, its interface seems more fluid than iOS’ dependency on tabs. The user interface’s fit and finish are polished and smooth, nothing like the noisy bumpy experience on Android.

I am what I believe is an enterprise user.
I need impeccable email and calendar experience, as close as you would get in Outlook (however frustrating it is sometimes). Windows Phone is not there. It is smooth, but close (see gripes below). Microsoft can and should improve on this, but who do you talk to in order to ask?

Presently, with a week left for me to return the phone, I am swaying between keeping it and getting the new iPhone 5s. Below are some of the impressions I gathered over the last week.

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Posted from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Jun 12

Is Apple’s updated Game Center about to nibble at the heels of the XBOX?

One the items that caught my eyes in Apple's WWDC demos was the gaming extension that was layered onto the Apple TV box. Games enabled with Airplay can now mirror and even display separate content on the TV. Think of it as your iPhone and iPad as the controller but also as the gaming machine beaming the game onto your HD TV screen. Demos also showed four iPhone users playing concurrently on the same TV screen, competing with each other. Apple is not making a lot of noise about this yet – as iOS 6 is not out. But the implications can be huge. Graphics and computing power on the iPad and iPhone are respectable to say the least. Kids and adults alike are moving off of Nintendos and Playstation Portables (ok, fewer of those) onto iPod Touch, iPhones, iPads because the games are there and can do more than what they do on the platforms. The Kindle Fire and other Android devices are successful in this domain. But the Android horde lacks the bridge to the big screen that Apple TV brings to the fore with a $100 entry fee (beyond Samsung TV's built-in connectivity). Apple TV Airplay-enabled Game Center will use the iOS device as controller with the accelerometer and also as a second 'private' screen for the player using it. This is like having a Nintendo Dual Screen device where the game screen is 40", 50", 60" big. The local screen, on the iOS device, acts as the private control view. XBOX is built into the Windows Phone platform. But Microsoft did nothing to make it interesting beyond messaging for gamers. There are no mobile, GPS or context-enabled extensions for the XBOX games you love. You cannot use the phone as controller either. Who knows, maybe now the creativity will strike and this will happen. And nobody knows how the next iPhone or Apple TV will take this even further. Fun stuff.

Posted from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Apr 12

Is nothing really that much worse than something?

How much is a brand worth to a company? For most small companies it means virtually everything. They are one and all with the brand. Bigger companies often pour massive amounts into building and maintaining brands. According to David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising, such brand positioning makes or breaks the brand. Something breaks, though, when it comes to mobile. 

Companies and organizations that make such huge investments in their brand suddenly realize their website, often times their core offering, looks bad or does not work on mobile devices. In a world where budgets are almost always tight, they look to do something out of nothing to address this problem. They want to be available to the growing smartphones and tablet-using masses. They need something

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