Ubuntu Phone , a new contender or overhyped flop ?

6 01 2013

devices-home-hero-432x252

Ubuntu, em… what ?

To most people, this means nothing. But to a small percentage of like-minded computer geeks like myself ! Ubuntu, is another Operating System. Similar to Windows or Mac. Ubuntu is a Linux based OS, some people may have heard of Linux, Ubuntu is based on the Debian Linux Distrubution and like Android, is free and open sourced. There are many more Linux operating softwares but Ubuntu is the most common, giving the user more control of their computer, similar to rooting a phone. Ubuntu also claims to be Virus-Free, and has great in built Virus protection. Ubuntu is free to download, install and updates are also free for life.

Ubuntu can be installed alongside an OS like Windows, this is what I have running on my computer. Ubuntu alongside W8. This means that upon boot, I can choose what OS I want to run, with a section of my Hard Drive partitioned to this OS and this OS alone. Ubuntu can currently be installed on an Android phone, with the phone still running Android, but when docked and plugged into a monitor and keyboard, becoming a fully fledged PC.

Ubuntu phone is going to bedifferent to this. This will be a standalone phone OS, i.e your phone will run Ubuntu instead of Android.

app-launcher

The video above gives an idea as to the UI and operating of this and will be available before February as a patch for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As soon as this is released I’ll post another thread on this, to give an idea of how it runs and functions with day to day use.

welcome-screen

Many think Ubuntu have taken a step too far with trying to implement this OS onto a mobile platform, and single handedly trying to Unify all of their Operating Software Platforms. They claim to be the first to be able to do this, but many would argue Windows got their first with the unification aspect.

This looks really interesting and the UI looks really fresh and different, I’m intrigued to see how it goes !!

http://www.viddler.com/v/ac8413f3

The Video above is from Engadget and also gives a slightly different, but great look at the OS in action and is well worth a watch.





2012 in review

31 12 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.





HTC 8X, a few weeks of use !

16 12 2012

Well ! After doing a previous piece on the 2 new HTC phones, the 8X and the 8S, I’ve been lucky enough to acquire an 8X!! I received a California Blue GSM model, this is probably my favourite colour scheme and looks really impressive up close.

HTC-Windows-Phone-8X-colours

There are a range of colour schemes as I mentioned previously, these can all be seen above, but the model I received is shown in the centre of the above image, and the image below.

w8_blue_small

Now, I’ve had my fair share of time with each OS, starting with Blackberry, moving onto iOS, then to Android and now a taste of WP8. This isn’t the worst transition I’ve experienced as there are a lot of common points with every OS, but there are also a lot of big changes with WP8, even in comparison to WP7.

I spoke a lot about the technical specs in the previous 8X article so I’m not going to spend time writing that here, just more about my impressions with using the device on a day to day basis. https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/htc-8x-and-8s-windows-phone-preview/

The device feels great in hand, the back of the phone is made of a sort of rubberised material, this stops it slipping and also feels really well made. The glass on the front is Gorilla Glass 2 so is typically well made and handles most common slight scratches well and is also curved to the contour of the phones body which stands out and looks impressive. One of the first things you notice about the phone is how thin it is, the device is shaped so that it is thinner at the edge and thicker in the middle and this gives the illusion of it being even thinner than you would expect. The image below is taken from HTC and shows the process involved in designing this to achieve this thickness.

htc-windows-phone-wp-8s-8x-design-thin

The WP8 UI takes a bit of getting used to in coming from Android, you have the same sort of soft keys that appear down the bottom, one for search, one for back, and one showing the Windows symbol for home. This is about as far as this similarity goes ! With most other things being massively different than both iOS and Android OS.

One of the biggest let downs, not of the Phone, but of the general OS is the Windows store. Like Android was a while ago, it lacks big name apps, and general volumes of games and apps alike. The store is easy to use but I believe that if this store improves with the numbers of apps and games it provides and the quality of these games improve, the OS will become a massive hit. If I could have my same Play Store or iTunes choice on my HTC 8X I’d never put the device down and never look back.

The WP8 OS is incredibly smooth, some of the apps don’t share this feel, but all of the stock OS and big name apps do. I had an issue originally as I used Whatsapp every day and this wasn’t available for WP8, but in the past few days it has been released which has cured a massive issue I had with being able to use the phone as a daily device ! The battery also lasts extremely well outperforming my Galaxy Nexus by some considerable margin in most instances.

Now, if you have made the move to W8 for your laptop or desktop you will be aware of the metro tile UI and how this operates. This works a lot better on a phone than on a computer or desktop as far as Im concerned, it feels like this is what it was made for and it does a great job of keeping you up to date with everything that is happening. One of my personal favourites is the people tile, this gives you information about Facebook, Twitter etc all in one place which is something the other OS’s have yet to accomplish to this level.

This phone is great, if the store starts to support more apps I would have absolutely 0 hesitation in recommending this, or any other Windows Phone to a friend, but this is an issue at present. I think that in the coming months this will change to a completely unrecognisable choice  of apps and games and when this comes, the battle of the OS will become even more interesting !!





Windows 8, a few weeks of discussion!

15 11 2012

So, after swaying backwards and forwards for what seemed like an age. I took the plunge and upgraded my laptop to Windows 8.

I am quite enjoying the new UI, but many have a completely different opinion !!

What do you think of the new interface ? Is it something you love, or are going to have to learn to love ?

I’ve done pieces on the new Windows 8 Mobile OS, as well as the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X who will run this OS. But the laptop, tablet, PC will be what makes the most use of this.

The Metro Tile start button had me confused first of all, this is shown above, I wasn’t sure if the complete system was ran around this or purely the start panel. To answer, it is only the start button. If you click start you get the same sort of Metro Interface you get on a Windows Phone with Live Tiles and lots of different applications. This can give you an idea if you have any emails, notifications or any events coming up in your calendar. This is bringing the OS of Laptops and PC’s more in line with Mobiles and thus gives us an opportunity to integrate the 2 of these together to ensure we take everything with us at all times. In a few weeks time I will hopefully take delivery of a HTC 8X, and can give a further insight into the integration when this is received, but it seems like there are a good few opportunities to be completely integrated.

On the Metro themed Start button, there is a tile that is called ‘Desktop’ clicking this takes you back to your standard HomeScreen you know, and most probably grown to love. Your desktop can still have shortcuts on it, and you can still drag and drop to the recycle bin etc etc. When on the Start Button, if you right click and click ‘All Apps’ this will give you a better view of what you can click to run, including ‘My Comnputer’, ‘Control Panel’ and things of that nature, as well as programs that may not show up right away on your Metro themed background. It can take time to get this start button the way you like fiddling with combinations, but when you have a system you can use and suits what you like to check and keep up to date with, it works fantastically.

Hovering over the top right and bottom left of the screen also gives you a lot more options. Hovering in the top right for example gives you another side menu to shut the computer down, search for files or programmes and connect to other devices. The bottom left gives you access to the start button, and opens up the screen shown at the top of this piece.

If you are into developing, there is a lot of debate about this OS as it is apparently far more locked down than previous ones. I am not into this on a major scale, so it doesn’t effect me to a massive extent but this may cause problems for you if you are.

I am loving this new OS, and personally don’t see a lot of negatives with a lot of useful shortcuts and integration, I see this being very popular, and as Windows is the most commonly ran OS generally, most people will probably have to like it or lump it anyway !

When I upgraded, I had the option to do so online for £19.99 if I choose not to receive a disc, this is the option I choose and didn’t take long to complete. Upgrading officially this way ensures all of your files are saved, and running the update helper gives you an idea if any of your programmes will maybe have compatibility issues with W8, most require a simple reinstall or update if this is the case.

A handy hint I read elsewhere, which successfully worked for me, Is that if you bought a W7 laptop between July and January 2013, you are eligible for a discounted upgrade to W8. If you fill in a code for this online, you can get this code no questions asked with no proof of purchase required. This is obviously a flaw in the system but allowed me to get the upgrade for £14.99 and saved me a fiver for the pub !!

The link for this section is – http://www.windowsupgradeoffer.com

If you do this you will have a voucher sent to your email within 24 hours that you can input when downloading the upgrade.

I’d love to hear everybodies views on this ! As it has been, and will continue to be a very controversial system.

Thanks !!

J

 





YouVue SmartPhone Camera Lens Review

15 11 2012

So, I’ve been on the market for a camera lens for my smartphone for quite some time.

The lenses can range from a few pounds to much much more.

The YouVue lens comes in at approximately £20 depending on where this is purchased from, and has 2 main functionalities.

The first functionality is the Close Up ‘Macro’ Lens. This should magnify your existing photos and give you a much more close up shot without the need for zoom, and obviously with zoom increases your distance.

The second functionality is the wide-angle fish-eye style lens. This lens encapsules more into the pictures, and gives quite a nice modern effect to them with the fish-eye style.

The lens is made up of a few different parts, the macro lens is clipped onto the clip that attaches to the phone, and the wide angle lens screws on top of the macro lens which also helps keep everything together, as well as coming with a compact carry case that can attach as a keyring.

Not having had the opportunity to try out many more lenses for smartphones, my opinion is solely based upon the YouVue. Sadly, my impressions weren’t that great of this piece of kit.

The clip that attaches to the phone works well, but seems as though it may become flimsy with a little bit of use, and the macro lens does not impress. I don’t know if it was my phone, but after a thorough cleaning the macro lens still produced incredibly fuzzy unclear pictures. This was much worse than the standard zoom of a phone and did not seem to do what it was asked.

The Wide-Angle lens seemed to work a lot better, if it was purely based on this functionality the lens would probably receive a much better write up, but it would be unfair to give it complete praise, or critiscism for this function as it isn’t the only function it looks to provide.

This works great for taking funky pictures and if your into Instagram, it does the trick in giving the pictures a quirky difference to help them stand out!

If your a serious photographer or are looking for a great deal of functionality and build quality, I wouldn’t recommend the YouVue. If your looking for this to be a fun gift, this is a good purchase and should provide a difference to the normal monotonous camera pictures !





Make Your Own Movie Kits Review !!

27 10 2012

With thanks to Paladone, I’ve had the opportunity to have some fun with their Make Your Own Movie Kits.

The kits come in 3 variants so far, each of these shown above, and each of which I’ve had the chance to try out !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hZJ4f_YoSQ&feature=youtu.be

The link above is my efforts so far ! Be kind, this was my first attempt at anything of this nature. The kits themselves are as simple as can be, they come with a background and many characters, some of the bigger characters are simple push out others require the use of scissors to be cut out.

The kit themselves obviously have very little to no tech, but the fun is in the movie making ! These give you the props essentially to make your own movie using as little or as much effort as you like.

The array of movie making software online is mind-boggling, some paid some free. I used basic free Windows Movie Maker software, taking soundclips from youtube, and pictures taken from my iPad 3. I then collated these, and made a video. With a little bit of experience and trial and error you could record videos, and make some pretty interesting movies, but my skills are pretty amateur to say the least !

Im in the process of making a video using all 3 kits combined, with Aliens on earth and Zombies on the moon! This is a work in process, and will be posted on the TechFilledFantasy Twitter once its finished.

These kits are very reasonably priced, with all 3 coming in at £5.99 each on www.menkind.co.uk

Considering the price of ink these days, I think its hard to grumble for getting 3 of these kits for under £20 especially on the run up to Christmas. Whether you are a budding Director, or are just looking to have a little bit of fun these are a good laugh, and the more people you get involved to animate the props, the better the end results !!





HTC 8X and 8S , Windows Phone Preview !

14 10 2012

So, Nokia have advertised the life out of the new Lumia range and the Windows software it will be running, but now the guys over at HTC have released some specs and pictures of their new HTC 8 range.

Im not going to spend all of this article talking about Windows Phone as I’ve already shown my excitement for it previously and wrote a few articles that concern it, as well as the Lumia 920 article, each of these can be found here ..

https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/nokia-lumia-920-are-the-boots-of-apple-google-shaking/

https://techfilledfantasy.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/270/

These articles will give you a bit of an overview of Windows Phone 8, and what you can expect from it.

The HTC 8X and HTC 8S will both run the Windows OS. Just like the HTC One X & S, you know more or less what to expect from each of these models that each will have its own selling points.

Taking the 8X first of all, it looks great as you can see below ( except the Big Bird yellow colour ). The design looks similar to the Lumia 920 if you ask me, but that again in my opinion isn’t a bad thing. The Lumia is a great looking device and I think the 8X is also equally as good looking. The phone has a 4.3 inch 720p Screen incorporating Gorilla Glass 2.

Thankfully Big Bird yellow isn’t the only colour this device will come in, there are a number of different colour options you can go for which are each shown below.

 

My favourite is the ‘blue’, I think it looks purple but I suppose seeing it up close may change my opinion of it.

The 8X’s Camera is also quite highly touted, this is an 8MP camera but this isn’t its main selling point. The camera is said to capture almost 3x the image area that a normal smartphone camera does. The image below is taken directly from the HTC website and gives an idea to what is meant by this.

Both phones also have Beats Audio, predictable in most HTC phones now considering they more or less have the controlling stake in the company, this is a good addition but not a deal-breaker to most, but might sway some iPhone users over to HTC’s way of thinking!

The 8X runs a Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHz Dual-core processor, so isn’t running a Quad-Core monster like the One X or One X + but is pretty quick regardless.

Now, taking the 8S. This device looks a bit like some of the Sony Ericsson Xperia devices in my opinion, but again not a bad thing as the device does look pretty good.

 

Like the 8X, the 8S comes in a number of different colour options all of which are shown above. I like the black and white one of these the best but almost every one of these devices look good sporting a 4inch screen that is slightly smaller than the 8X.

 

The 8S is the more lower end device, just like the HTC One range. This still has pretty good specs though but may not be enough for the dedicated smart-phone geek. The 8S has a 1Ghz Dual-core processor but has an optimised battery for this processor and therefore takes less time to charge and has a significantly longer battery life due to the smaller processor.

The 5mp camera is also highly regarded but again is obviously a significant step down from the 8X. With the 8S, 7GB of free Sky Drive is offered, this is mentioned quite a lot on their website but to most users of Dropbox or Google Drive, this will be pretty insignificant.

I like the look of both variants massively, they look new and modern and different from the ship load of smartphones we are seeing recently. I could be tempted with an 8X, but it would depend on how it matched up to the Lumia 920 and how the roll out of Windows 8 went. The HTC 8X is said to be going for £400 unlocked and HTC 8S for £225 unlocked when they launch in November, so for me, these are massively more appealing than the £500+ iPhone 5 but like most things, only time will tell if they are as successful as they should be !

 

 








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