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Interesting Devices

May 2014

By Tom Stibolt, MD, Mobile Musings Column Editor

On Oct. 29, 2012, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8, the third generation of their mobile operating system. This coincided with the release of Windows 8 for desktop, laptop and tablet PC’s. It represented an attempt to introduce a standard user interface across all of Microsoft’s operating systems. The new interface, originally called Metro, is now known as Modern UI. It is a tile based interface which is optimized for touch screen devices. Samsung, Nokia and Huawei all have created mobile phones designed to run Windows Phone 8. An update, called Windows Phone 8.1 was released in April following by some months the upgrade for desktop/laptop/tablet devices.

The Nokia Lumia series of phones are of some interest. The Nokia Lumia 1520, available from AT&T and the Nokia Lumia Icon, available from Verizon (both in the US) represent the best Nokia offerings.

The 1520 has a 6 inch display with 1080×1920 resolution and a pixel density of 368 pixels per inch. The Icon has a 5 inch display with the same resolution. Both are powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800 processor running at 2.2 GHz. Wireless specifications are the same as current top of the line phones.

Both devices have a remarkable 20 MPixel 6-lens camera using Zeiss lenses. Post-capture zoom allows magnification of the subject after the shot. OIS neutralizes blurred or jittery images often caused by movement for sharp, clear pictures on the fly. The phones have a 2 LED flash for better flash pictures. Reviewers note that this is one of the best low light cameras available on a mobile device.

At this point, Microsoft has a rather small 3.2% of the smartphone market although they are now ahead of Blackberry. One result of this is that the number of available applications is significantly smaller than with Apple or Android smartphones. Microsoft is working to improve this but their market share may be a stumbling block. More information can be found at www.nokia.com.

Meanwhile, Samsung has released the Galaxy 5 smartphone. This device has a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED, 1920 x 1080 pixel display with a pixel density of 432 pixels per inch. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad-core processor running at 2.5 GHz. Wireless specifications are again similar to current high end smartphones although Samsung includes 802.11ac WiFi. The camera is 16 MPixel with phase detection autofocus and LED flash. It includes simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, and image stabilization. Samsung also includes a feature called HDR or Rich tone which allows brighter and more vivid image captures when there is a strong counterlight or when the subject is shaded. The camera also has a faster Auto Focus to help capture important moments of movement more quickly than most cameras. It also allows the user to selectively focus on the subject, blurring the background and accentuating the main subject. The front camera is 2 MPixel, 1920 x 1080 resolution with a wide-angle lens. More information is available at www.samsung.com.

One final note. Apple is spending one billion dollars to create its own supply chain devoted to producing and finishing synthetic sapphire crystal. Although Apple will not state what their reason is, most observers speculate that they will be replacing Gorilla Glass in their devices with Sapphire, a material which is second only to diamond in hardness.

See you in San Diego soon.

Last Reviewed: September 2017