Meet the Lumia 925, the latest smartphone flagship in Nokia’s increasingly populous Windows Phone portfolio. The 925 is clearly Nokia’s answer to criticisms of its high end devices being too heavy. At the device’s London launch earlier today, Vodafone’s Patrick Chomet – brought onstage to talk up the new Lumia which the carrier will be ranging in Europe — couldn’t avoid commenting negatively on the Lumia 920’s weight. For all the noise about the 925’s camera, its less hefty hardware is the key design difference here.
The 925 drops a full 46g compared to the earlier Lumia 920, weighing in at 139g vs the 920’s hefty 185g. The phone feels pleasingly light in the hand, helped by its slender profile: it’s just 8.5mm thick at its thickest point (vs 10.7mm for the 920). In order to achieve a sleeker, lighter device, yet keep the 4.5-inch display, Nokia has dropped built-in wireless charging – but it’s not ditching the tech entirely. It has included wireless charging as an add-on via clip-on shells – likely sold separately — which increase the thickness of the 925 by a few millimetres but don’t appear to add too much weight back on.
It’s a compromise but one that results in a sleeker, more attractive handset out of the box. If it’s a choice between wireless charging – which remains something of a gimmick — or a lightweight phone, most people would opt for the latter. And that’s a calculation Nokia has clearly made with the 925.
The handset design also takes a few steps in a new direction for the Lumia range, with aluminium edging running around its four sides – a band which doubles as the phone’s antenna – coupled with a polycarbonate back. The two-tone look and feel is a definite departure for Nokia’s high end phone design. Colour options are also more subtle, with the black version having anodized, almost charcoal looking aluminium edging, while the white 925 has silver edges. There’s also a grey colourway. The trademark bright Lumia colours are reserved for the wireless charging shells — including red, yellow and cyan.
The PureView-branded 8.7MP camera on the 925 is the other big focus here. The hardware introduces a sixth lens to the device, which Nokia says improves performance in bright sunlight. This is in addition to strong low-light capabilities, which it has touted on its other Lumia flagships – including most recently the Lumia 928.
During the 925 launch Nokia demoed both the low and bright-light photography capabilities of the phone, inviting the press to compare the shots with photos taken on their own smartphones. The Lumia 925 came off as better at snapping in the dark than iPhones, the BlackBerry Z10, the HTC One and even the Lumia 920, pulling a brighter, more colourful image from out of the gloom. It also appeared to capture more detail in strong light conditions in Nokia’s test conditions.
As well as the extra hardware lens, the 925 includes a new suite of camera-editing software called Nokia Smart Camera. This makes use of a burst mode that takes 10 photos at around 5MP each. It then offers a series of image-manipulation options to enhance the photo. Some of these features were a little hit and miss under the press launch lighting conditions. Others looked a little gimmicky, such as the ability to composite a series of movements into one shot. But others seemed like they could be genuinely useful, such as a feature that allows you to create the best shot by choosing from various facial expressions — much like the timeshift feature on the BlackBerry Z10/Q10. Or another that lets you remove a moving object from an image, such as a person or car passing in front of the scene you’re trying to shoot.
The Smart Camera software won’t be exclusive to the Lumia 925 for long – Nokia said it will be pushed out to other Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices as an update in Q3. But for the moment, the Lumia 925 has the lion’s share of Nokia’s camera creativity, including some new features in its Creative Studio image editing app, such as a tilt shift and radial focus. And the Oggl app.
One more new software addition in the 925′s screen settings allows users to tweak the colour saturation and temperature of the AMOLED screen to dial down how poppingly bright the colours are and opt for more muted, photo-realistic tones if you desire. Elsewhere, this is a business-as-usual Windows Phone 8 device loaded with the usual suite of Microsoft and Nokia apps, which include its HERE mapping and location apps and Nokia Music. It is also skinned with the new more flexible Windows Phone homescreen that allows for three different-sized live tiles.
The 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip powering the Lumia 925 doesn’t sound that beefy, considering the proliferation of quad-core phones in the Android ecosystem at least, but it’s as top-of-the range as Windows Phone gets right now. And Nokia argues that no more processing clout is required to do all of the image processing going on under the 925′s hood.
Already available on Android and iOS, it offers “instant video mashups” using footage shot by different users at the same location. A music concert is a common use-case, but a football match, wedding proposal or any form of public event would work just as well.
The kicker is that the app will only process videos shot simultaneously. So unlike Vine, which lets users take multiple shots from completely different places and moments in time, this is specifically about capturing a single moment from multiple perspectives.
Nokia has already uploaded the first video shot with a Windows Phone device over on its Nokia Conversations blog. The 90-second video shows singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran at a concert in New York City from various spots around the venue.
Edited videos can up to three minutes in length – unlike the six seconds offered by Vine – and users always have the option to keep it private or upload it to the Vyclone community. Videos can be shared through Facebook, Twitter and all the usual social media channels, but also ‘remixed’ using new edits and recorded footage.
“In other words, you take the work that has been produced, and give it your own spin selecting the portions of the clip that you like the best,” the blog post adds. “You can do all of this via the app or the Vyclone website – and anyone who is watching the video has the option to make their own remix, too.”
One of the biggest problems with the Windows Phone operating system is the lack of support from app developers. Vine and Instagram would be a huge boost to the platform’s reputation, but Vyclone should keep users happy in the meantime.
➤ Vyclone | Windows Phone
Continue reading here: Vyclone launches its collaborative video-editing app on Windows Phone
Bowers & Wilkin’s Zeppelin speaker is one of its best products, but as times evolve, so does the company and its products. That’s why the British Speaker manufacturer is introducing the Zeppelin Air wireless speaker and the brand new Z2. Not too long ago, B&W released the A5 and A7 speakers, for consumers who are truly wireless. Neither speaker has a dock of any kind, but rather stream music wirelessly through Apple’s AirPlay. But with the A line, B&W realized that, regardless of wireless play or not, people enjoy having a dock on their speaker. “When you walk into your home, the speaker is always in the same place, and we’ve heard from customers that they like slapping their phone down on the dock and letting it charge,” said Brian Devlin. “That way they always know where it is.” Both the Zeppelin Air and Z2 have both wireless functionality as well as iPhone 5 docks.
To start, the Zeppelin Air hasn’t seen much of an update in the design department. And perhaps rightfully so, considering the speaker has one of the more iconic designs in its class among competitors. The Air has been updated with a Lightning dock, and the company even made that dock flexible. Because it bends, you’ll never have to worry about damaging the Lightning port on your iOs device or the dock of the speaker. The Zeppelin Air is available in May for $599.99.
The Z2 is instantly reminiscent of the Zeppelin Mini, B&W’s shot at a Zeppelin spin-off. Bowers & Wilkins insists the Z2 is not a next-generation Mini, but a brand new product line. Just like the Zeppelin Air, the Z2 offers Airplay streaming, a lightning dock, and B&W’s flexible dock technology. The Z2 comes in a considerably smaller package than the Air, and the dock almost seems invisible until you’re hovering over the speaker. The Z2 is available in April in both black and June in white for $399. Both products are made for the high-end listener, but if you can pick up an A5 or A7 along the way, Bowers & Wilkins will have truly completed its goal. The focus with all new products out of the company is that the music should follow you, and not the other way around.
Video sharing and discovery service Telly has updated its iOS app today with an improved recording experience, group video sharing functionality and a carousel view which debuted on its website last month.
Taking a leaf out of Vine’s playbook, Telly users can now edit together multiple shots simply by tapping the screen sequentially.
In practise, that means tapping the record button at the bottom of the screen – at which point a counter starts ticking in the top right hand corner – and then hitting the pause button whenever you want to move to a different shot. When you’re done, just hit the big record button again.
The user interface isn’t quite as simple or intuitive as Vine, but it does offer the same fun and accessible editing opportunities.
For those with a passion for analog film-style filters, Telly has also added a number of effects called, among others, Hollywood, 1960’s, Neon and Fisheye. Some of them feel a little over the top, but it’s nice to have them there and it certainly makes Telly feel like a more well-rounded video editing app.
Once the video has been recorded, it’s also possible to add filters retroactively and apply one of ten audio tracks as a bed. There’s a slider along the top to shift the balance between the microphone recording and the music, but a notable omission is the ability to import your own tracks. It’s possible this will be included in a later update, but it would’ve helped to stretch the range of content being uploaded.
Videos recorded through Telly can be shared through Facebook or Twitter – just like before – but there’s also a new private sharing option that allows users to send it to specific Telly users.
The envelope icon at the bottom of the homescreen can then be used to review shared videos and reply to conversation threads in real-time. As with many other Internet-based messengers, this includes text messages in the now standard alternating speech-bubble interface, as well as the ability to reply with videos created through Telly.
There are many other apps operating in this space and it seems like a bit of a departure from what Telly has been concerned with up until now – collating and repurposing the video shared by other people on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
However, given the focus on social sharing, it does make sense to take out the middle man – in this case YouTube – and promote videos created and uploaded through the app itself. This is further enhanced through the ability to tag friends with @mentions, similar to Instagram, in order to start a new conversation or notify them of a video.
Last month, Telly updated the homescreen on its website with My Telly, a much sleeker and film reel-like interface similar to Cover Flow on iTunes. That design has now been brought over to the mobile app and kicks in automatically whenever you hold your iPhone in landscape. Flicking back and forth works much as you would expect and does provide a more casual experience for sitting back and watching videos.
Unfortunately, these new features are only available for iOS users, although Telly says an update for Android is “coming soon”.
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Image Credit: PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images
If you’re into DSLR photography, remotely controlling the thing is a pretty common want for new users and seasoned veterans alike. Satechi’s BT Smart Trigger, which starts shipping today, is a remote that works with a range of Canon DSLRs, connecting to the camera’s hot shoe and giving them full control over their camera’s shutter. It also doubles as an intervalometer, making it possible to get those cool time lapse and extended exposure shots that never fail to draw the appreciation of photography fans.
The Smart Trigger connects to your camera via USB, and rests in the hot shoe mount normally reserved for flashes and other accessories. It communicates with the iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0, meaning it’s a low power consumption device which can get up to 10 years of battery life, and has a range of 50 feet. The trigger app works with iPhone and iPad, and features both a basic standard shooting mode, as well as Manual Shot, which allows for long exposures (like the ones where you see people writing things in the air with sparklers), or Time Shot, which captures a series of images that are then stitched together to generate time-lapse images (like the lightstream photos you see of nighttime cityscapes with busy thoroughfares).
The Satechi Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Trigger might not be able to relay a live feed of the camera’s digital viewfinder, as Canon’s official remote app can with the Canon 6D’s built-in Wi-Fi radio, but at $44.99 it’s an excellent option for amateurs and enthusiasts looking for an easier way to take time-lapse and long exposure specialty shots, using the iPhone they already know and love. Satechi also says that Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2 compatibility will be coming sometime in March, so owners of two of the most popular Android smartphones will be able to join in on the fun at that time, too.
Go here to read the rest: This Bluetooth Smart Trigger Turns Your iPhone Into A Canon DSLR Remote And Intervalometer