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All posts tagged Apps


GDPR like any legislation has unforeseen consequences and impacts. Not for nothing have we learned how little Congress and the EU Parliament comprehend of Facebook or the underlying technologies of the Web, based on their questions when confronting Mark Zuckerberg.

GDPR - Zuckerberg vs EU

These same people in the EU have legislated GDPR. Many will not know exactly what GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation) is. WordPress provided a guide and template for compliant Privacy Policy that you can see here.

Unless you are currently residing in a cave, your email inbox is probably swamped with mails from websites & apps you have signed up with in the past asking you to opt-in to their updated, GDPR compliant new ToS.

Last night I shared this video on Facebook Live with my take on GDPR and what might be some issues that did not get proper consideration.


GDPR & Software Development

Over the last 10 to 15 years, the development culture and lifecycle has been strongly influenced by Web 2.0 both for web / mobile apps and sites. Methodologies also evolved based on technology and platforms to ensure rapid product delivery. Agile & Lean replaced Waterfall methodologies and the culture included these interconnected practices: –

GDPR vs Development Practices

Ultimately MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and the ethos of let the customer test it were based on rapid delivery or a just ship it mentality. Some of this was based on fear of not being first to market, some on the fallacy that software testing was a bottleneck.

Beta testing also allowed release of an incomplete version of the software to a sample group of end users to evaluate customer satisfaction with the product and its features.

These fly in the face of GDPR compliance. De facto, data protection is something that should be baked in from the start and until this becomes habit, most will develop their apps and sites and tack-on data protection after the fact.

Where does MVP go from here?

The Warptest POV

GDPR and the just ship it mentality of MVP are in conflict. Apps and sites will comply because the alternatives are limited. There are companies already opting to block European users until they can be sure they are compliant. Just today, the Verge reported that Instapaper has done this temporarily. We can be certain that smaller developers and startups may opt to keep their apps out of the different European countries App Stores, Play Stores or Windows Stores as the scale of fines are greater than the accrued benefit of onboarding European users prior to compliance.

This leads to some serious questions. What are the geographical boundaries of this law?

  1. What if an EU citizen uses a VPN or some other method to bypass geo-blocking to download an app? Is the app still liable for any violation?
  2. What if an EU citizen is on vacation outside the EU and downloads an app or surfs to a site? Where does the EU see their jurisdiction ending regarding data protection of their citizens?
  3. Microsoft announced that they want to make GDPR the standard for their worldwide operations. Will we see GDPR compliance integrated into their, Apple, Google, Amazon and other app stores?

Big companies like Microsoft do offer GDPR guidance on how to make company IT compliant but the most important question is who in a company developing software, apps or websites should be the expert on GDPR compliance?

The simple answer is every employee involved in delivery must receive GDPR training but, logically the gatekeeper should be someone versed in compliance issues, how to verify and report on them. A smart company will ensure initial compliance by hiring an expert (possibly a consultant) but subsequently, the best person for the job is one of your testing / QA team.

A catastrophic mistake would be to have an employee brush up on GDPR by Googling it. Whoever the designated gatekeeper is should be sent on the appropriate certification course.

Getting back to MVP, it’s going to be up to founders, R&D heads, QA Managers to ensure that their processes evolve to ensure data protection is built-in from day 1. If this means an end to MVP and let the customer test it then this can only have a positive impact on customer satisfaction.

Personally, one of my bigger problems with GDPR is that the EU has repeatedly demonstrated a litigious attitude with anti-trust cases, often against companies like Apple, Google & Microsoft. Is GDPR just another EU kickstarter campaign?

Are you ready for GDPR or have you found a way to opt-out?

About.Me Intro App…

… takes your About.Me profile and allows you to share it from your smartphone.

For those who aren’t familiar with About.Me they are a startup that allows users to create an online page that aggregates your personal online identity in a safe manner.

De facto it is a virtual business card. In fact, About.Me have done several deals with Moo who make physical business cards to give users the choice to have actual cards based on their About.Me profile.

About.Me Intro App - AboutMe page

In addition the site has a social networking element allowing users to discover new contacts or those they already follow on other platforms, see and rate / comment on their profile pages and contact them should they need their services.

About.Me Intro App - About.Me Menu

As you can see from the dropdown menu (this is taken from the after login, landing page) a user has a variety of options ranging from the social features available for each profile displayed, managing their own profile, analytics and of course upgrading to a paid version with added features.

All Well And Good But…

… How does this help me outside of the app and or searchable discovery of my profile? If you notice the blue handshake icon in the bottom right of the screen capture the text is “Turn your About.Me page into a digital business card.

Enter smartphone app Intro: About.Me Intro App allows you to login to the app on your Windows Phone, iPhone or Android with the same About.Me credentials and presto you have your About.Me profile ready to share.

There you are at a Tweetup or other networking event, you left your business cards at home or perhaps the details are out of date. No problem, Intro allows you ask the people opposite you for their emails, phone number or About.Me page and once you’ve entered it into the app, you’ve shared your details. Simple as pie.

About.Me Intro AppAbout.Me Intro App - sharing

Whilst a truly killer feature might be NFC sharing or something akin to the shuttered app, Bump the fact is that Intro does something very important. It takes away your reliance on tech and demands you at least introduce yourself and ask for the other person’s contact details.

The Warptest POV

Extroverts are going to have no problem using Intro and Introverts are not going to find this too stressful,

“Hello I’m …. Nice to meet you. Would you like my Digital business card?”

At the end of the day, this is an elegantly simple solution which allows you to attend conferences and other networking events without the need for swapping and dealing with business cards.

Another major selling point that I’ve been focusing on lately is that this app is fully cross-platform. Yes, it has a version for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. No one is excluded from networking on the About.Me platform. My hat is off to the company for investing wisely in this. Simply put, why concede part of your user base to your competition. That’s inbuilt admission of limited resources, lack of will or no drive on your part but About.Me seems to have the resources, will and drive to spare.

About.Me Intro App - App Stores Link

Click this link to get to the Intro App links to the respective App Stores and an introductory video

My recommendation, if you aren’t on About.Me then resolve that and sign up. If you attend even one potential networking event a year then install the About.Me Intro App on your smartphone and make your social and professional networking about as painless as it can get. Intro gets a strong Warptest recommendation.



iOS vs Android Isn’t Just About Devices…

The fight for market share plus the hearts and minds of users is often decided by a singular, killer feature.

According to the outstanding Hillel Fuld in a post on this subject, one such deciding factor is the absence of any decent Notification Center on Android.

Allegedly this is resolved with Android Lollipop that takes leaps and bounds to solve this, especially through the Lock Screen.

Android Competitive Edge - Lollipop 5.0

The Story So Far…

To get to your messages, calendar and so on took more effort on Android than the Lock Screen access that iOS provides.

After spending time testing on both iOS and Android devices I can agree that in a one-click vs multi-click slap down, the one-click will win every time. This basically meant a loss of the Android competitive advantage to iOS from the first look you get at your screen.

Thus far, none of the Android devices I have access to update to Android Lollipop so I can’t attest to whether Google’s solution delivers.

Since writing this I have had a chance to go hands-on with Android Lollipop and to attempt to help a couple of users with issues they encountered after the upgrade. I was hard pressed to find the settings for said lock screen and several other features and they seemed to lack any granularity. In a nutshell the user was unable to configure certain features to suit their needs.

The Warptest POV

If you don’t want to wait for Lollipop, fear your device may not get it any time soon or simply don’t want to upgrade there is hope.

The answer to Apple’s competitive edge over Android ironically comes from Microsoft.

Yes you don’t need to check your eyes, Microsoft is indeed a big producer of Apps in the Google Play Store:

Android Competitive Edge - Microsoft Apps

In this case Microsoft (specifically the Microsoft Garage) created Next Lock Screen which offers you a highly configurable Lock Screen including access front and center to messages, calendar, email and calls; all this and more.

After taking it for a test ride the only question I have is, “What the heck were you thinking Microsoft, NOT releasing this for Windows Phone too?

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Yes it’s that good. So Google, start thinking nice things about those clever folks at Redmond for giving you back the Android competitive advantage, especially for non-Lollipop users.

I’m giving Next Lock Screen a strong recommendation but don’t take my word for it, check it for yourself and decide.

Frankly, if you are an Android phone owner, I would be looking at all the apps Microsoft has to offer you. Yes, they’re that good.



Of The Several Windows Phone Conversations I Had Recently…

… The conversations ran the gamut of “Windows Phone has no apps…” to even “Microsoft doesn’t make a smartphone, come on”.

The phrase that best applies after demonstrating the phone and apps was suspension of disbelief.

Windows Phone - Morpheus

With this in mind I decided to list these apps here, you might recognize a few of them from iOS and Android too…

Yes, these apps are on Windows Phone too…

My constraints on this task were: –

  • Look primarily at branded apps i.e. apps created by the same company or brand.
  • List MIA apps or those still not on Windows Phone
  • Give special attention to noteworthy App developers who create 3rd Party versions of popular Apps.

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Developer Rudy Huyn is responsible for bringing fantastic 3rd party implementations of many popular apps to Windows Phone ahead of the app itself arriving:

 Windows Phone - Rudy Huyn Apps


Zula App: the incredible collaboration / productivity app is rumored to be coming to Windows Phone.



Buffer: given the quality of 3rd part apps available to Windows Phone users, Buffer seems in no hurry to deliver their own app.

Instagram Hyperlapse

Google+ and other Google web services but special mention goes to the YouTube App for being a case study in how not to do things.

Get Taxi: they really need to play catchup with Uber who DO have a Windows Phone app.

Snapchat & Secret… well maybe we’re just fine without.

The Warptest POV

In a nutshell, there is much more to Windows Phone than meets the eye and not just the UI.

Windows Phone gets a strong Warptest recommendation as more OEMs are launching Windows Phones for all budgets, use cases but also for app parity.

So get out there and try Windows Phone for yourself and let me know what you discover….

BBM For Windows Phone Has Launched…

… and yet I can’t help but feel that whoever built this campaign at Blackberry never heard the phrase,

Just ship it!

I Have To Confess

I was never into Blackberry or dare I say it a Crackberry devotee but I got the allure, the fascination, the seductive pull of it all.

I watched albeit a little enviously as those with their Chiclet keyboards and push mail just couldn’t tear themselves away from their devices.

To the rest of us with our candy-bar and flipper phones they were the pioneers, those brave few who dared to embrace the future in the now.

So BBM Launched For Windows Phone

But not with a bang, just a whimper. I was fascinated to try BBM after seeing the post by The Next Web announcing the open beta.

I guess I misread or in my enthusiasm misunderstood; after following the link I was taken to Blackberry’s site to sign up for an account only to see this:

BBM for Windows Phone - denied

BBM for Windows Phone … Denied.

Clearly there were a lot of excited early adopters who signed on but I can’t but think that Blackberry have once again misread the mobile market. This ain’t the 1990’s guys.

So many memes, so little time:

One Simply Does Not …

Do or Do Not. There Is No Try.

Your lack of faith disturbs me.

The Warptest POV

Its 2014 so let’s be realistic: –

  1. Who does limited beta runs? Even the leanest start-ups know to ship the product and show the most basic metric: number of app downloads.
  2. You don’t tease your prospective users with a sign-up form then tell them, “…Tough luck Dude, you get to wait for us.”
  3. If like the screen capture says “BBM for Windows Phone will be available shortly.” Then why not wait to launch it, were you worried about Palm launching something before you? Oh, er, right…
  4. Link goes to Windows Phone store -> User downloads App -> User signs in or signs up in the app.
  5. How does this convince me to adopt BBM over the other messaging apps out there?

To their credit the screenshots of the app look great and I’m trying to counter my irritation at whoever applied “cryogenically frozen” marketing strategy over my interest in testing out the app.

BBM for Windows Phone - Nice UI

My hope is that BBM for Windows Phone will be a successful app despite this malarkey.

So Blackberry I beseech you, take a leaf out of many Startups, indie App developers and other established companies books.


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If you are going to ship then get behind it heart and soul and play to win.

Today Microsoft’s Kinectimals Arrived on Windows Phone For Free…

As a Windows Phone owner who is also a Dad I’m always happy to try out games that might entertain the kids when desperately needed.

Kinectimals - Windows Phone

Kinectimals Unleashed is a great game that encourages the player to pay attention to their dog (or other animal) and in doing so earn coins that can be used to shop for things the animal may need.

In addition there is the game itself with a variety of challenges for player and animal together.

Offering a variety of scenarios and 85 different animals neither you nor your kids are going to be bored.

The game animation is excellent, detailed and almost life like. The animals behave as expected and the rendering is smooth.

So far I’ve played catch with Toffee the dog with balls and then progressed to Frisbee and it’s fun, engaging and entertaining.

The Warptest POV

Better still I can see how a parent being pressed by their kids for a dog might use Kinectimals as an interim step. Especially as the underlying message of the game is teaching kids all about being attentive to pets and providing the things the animal might need.

If you are a Windows Phone user I’m going to strongly recommend this game for you and your kids for fun and educational value.

Kinectimals ball play - Windows Phone

Kinectimals tiger - Windows Phone

In a nutshell, Microsoft has a great game here and it being free just sweetens the deal. Well played Windows Phone.

Let me know what you think of the game. Enjoy.

The Greatest Unappreciated Strength of Windows 8

…Are the Metro New Windows UI Apps. Like genius they seem to be unappreciated in their lifetime.

Most people seem to be content to boot Windows 8 to old-school desktop and may never intentionally look at the New Desktop and Apps.

Windows 8 - Metro Desktop

In my last Windows 8 post I suggested that the 1 Critical Thing Wrong With Windows 8 was the act of treating consumers as square pegs to be hammered into round UX holes.

Facebook’s New UI

As Facebook introduces their new UI the sentiment seems to be one of wholehearted dislike for the slew of UI bugs larded into the browser:

Windows 8 - Facebook Bugs

Facebook as we know it today: Sample of UI bugs and comments added.

It occurred to me after using the new Facebook UI that it bothered me and inhibited my use. I found myself using the mobile app more and my laptop browser less.

Then I was in the Windows 8 New Desktop and I was spending the day almost exclusively using these Apps. I opened the Facebook Metro App and was greeted with a feeling of relief and contentment by the unblemished beauty and simplicity that greeted me:

Windows 8 - New Windows UI App

  • Toggle to hide sidebar menu
  • Large photos
  • A wide, unencumbered feed
  • Friend requests, Messages and Notifications all drop down below the toggle button on the left.

For those of you married to the idea of a right hand, subsidiary feed and your friends’ online statuses you are going to be disappointed but the miscomprehension of most users is that these Apps are intended to mirror desktop or browser apps. They aren’t.

New Windows UI is to App Design and functionality what the Danish Modern movement was to furniture.

The Warptest POV

It’s time for users who are struggling with the new Facebook UI to realize that they have an alternative in these Apps.

Facebook may have just given Windows 8 its biggest push, at least until we see what Microsoft has in store for us in the next release of Windows 8.x (expect big announcements from Microsoft BUILD this week).

So if this matches how you are feeling towards Facebook right now then you might want to ask a friend with Windows 8 if you can try this for yourself.

Even without touch your inner calm will be restored.

So take it for a spin and let me know what you think.

Let’s Look At Alphega…

Alphega is a mobile app created by Nubis Technologies, a cool company based in Australia.

Whilst the app was initially available only on Windows Phone I’m giving the Alphega team a big hat-tip for launching on the Google Play Store for Android just before the holidays.

Windows Store Alphega App

What Is Alphega?

Before I get ahead of myself, Alphega is an excellent combination of Augmented Reality, Geo-location and Social Networking that allows you to see Social interactions around you in real time through your Smartphone camera or overlaid on a map.

The user can select which social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Foursquare to track and observe and can define the radius around themselves to capture these tweets, posts etc. within the app.

Alphega define themselves as,

Alphega is the periscope to social networking: a socioscope!”

Which is both an accurate and well thought out description.

The Warptest POV

I’m impressed by the app and enjoy using it. It has allowed me to discover people around me and see social interaction in a new way.

Alphega Augmented

Alphega Geo-location

Screen captures courtesy of the Windows Phone Store Alphega page

Tonight I’ll be at a networking event and I intend to see how the app performs in that context. If this allows me to identify and follow new people at the event then this will make a great app into a killer app IMHO.

So far the app has performed well, has not presented any major bugs and delivers a great UX. Will Alphega be launched on iOS? No idea but if you are interested then tweet and ask them here @Alphega_

Alphega is definitely my best app of 2014 so far and I give it a strong recommend if you are on Windows Phone or Android. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Windows 8.1

Now that all the hullabaloo has died down over the update from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 I thought it time to weigh in on my overall impressions and a couple of specifics.

As you know Windows 8.1 is the first major update of the OS and ground breaking at that for those with Windows 8; you simply open the Windows Store and run the update from there.

Windows 8.1 - StoreWindows 8.1 Instore UpgradeWindows 8.1 Instore Installing

The install was seamless and I optimized the download speed by running it hardwired to the router and not over WiFi.

Windows 8.1 gave us The Return of A Start Button, integrated search from the Search charm and a slew of improvements to include several Apps.

Was it Worth It?

In a nutshell… yes. As good as Windows 8 was, the UX is improved and performance seems to be too. Windows 8.1 is even better.

For all of you who enjoy the recurring jokes and memes about Internet Explorer online I have this to say,

Internet Explorer 11 is not your Dad’s IE.

This is a geometric improvement that leaves its competitors in the dust. It provided a robust browsing experience (mostly) coupled with speed that makes browsing the pleasure it should be. IE11 doesn’t seem to have the thirst for CPU / RAM that some if it’s greedy competitors do, nor does there seem to be the necessity for update du jour (you know who I mean).

The only two web applications I have seen issue with are Tweetdeck for the Web which occasionally needs recovery when returning to the App from another tab and the great social music App Serendip where a scripting bug prevents music videos from playing but only in one’s own music library. Obviously, I reported the bug on discovery and got a nice response from the team at Serendip.

IE11 is also available for Windows 7 (different language and 32/64 bit versions can be found here) and I give it a strong recommend.

Bugs Or Features? Workarounds Too.

  • After installing Windows 8.1 I was pleased (yes pleased) to discover the onboard WiFi card was not supported. This forced me to choose between waiting for a driver update (who knew when) or upgrading to a faster WiFi USB dongle. Obviously I opted for the latter and received a smoother, faster wireless internet connection in the process. Since then the issue has been resolved but I’m too happy with the Edimax USB dongle to test the fix.
  • Those who have used the Metro / New Windows UI Apps in Windows 8 will be familiar with minimize > right-click > close to exit the App. In Windows 8.1 the App does not close until you go to the Task Manager and terminate the App from there. These Apps do not have a noticeable footprint or performance impact but nonetheless this is a bug that needs fixing.
  • The User Libraries (Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, Downloads etc.) have an interesting bug; any folder containing media generates a Thumbs.db system file and by default these Libraries seem to be set to Read Only. The user cannot delete these folders but can delete their content, leaving a mess of empty folders.

There are several workarounds for this bug: –

  1. Select the folders from the Library and cut them (CTRL-X) then paste them (CTRL-V) in a non-Library folder e.g. C:/Temp. You can select and delete the folders from there and will receive the same warning about the folder containing Thumbs.db. In a non-Library folder you can select the checkbox in this dialog “Do this for all current items” and it will delete as expected.

Windows 8.1 Thumbs.db Delete Bug

  1. Using a ZIP tool like WinRAR select the empty folders in the Library and select the option to delete all folders after compression. Once they are save to the ZIP file they are successfully deleted and you can easily delete the ZIP file; goodbye empty folders.
  2. Unlocker is a neat app that allows you to select files or folders that Windows locks, preventing deletion and with a right-click you can unlock and delete them. The only restriction I’ve found is that I could only unlock one folder at a time.

The Warptest POV

To keep things in context these are the only bugs I’ve seen since I upgraded. By and large the Windows 8.1 experience is good and I am simply able to get on with my work without excessive tweaks or clicks.

The OS performs well and everyone I have shown Windows 8.1 gets it and even finds it intuitive. Microsoft made a huge effort to absorb the users’ comments from Windows 8 and continue to deliver a great UX.

For those who do need the extra help the boffins at Redmond provided the Help and Tips app with Windows 8.1, sadly not Ms Dewey or Cortana but let’s see what the near future brings us. This App will certainly get you up and running.

Windows 8.1 Help and Tips App

Windows 8.1 is here to stay and it’s impressive and easy to work with as long as you hit the power on button with an open mind. If you have only read negative reviews and are surprised by what you read here then get in touch for more details why the trolls are wrong about Windows 8.1

In the meanwhile I’ll report these bugs and see if they are known issues and or if there is an ETA for anticipated fixes.

Windows Phone…

Most of us know all we need to know about it. Microsoft, nuff said.

That said, last week I got a reminder from the universe how some products are undersold and all you really need to do is put them out there on display and they can sell themselves.

I Was Sitting Drinking A Double Espresso…

How many of my posts could begin with that? Probably all of them. Anyhow we had a visitor, we’ll call them Tom; at Warptest HQ who inevitably they began to tell me their tech problems to see if I had any suggestions.

Espresso - Windows Phone

In a nutshell, they were between cellphones and the smartphone they had wasn’t working for them. They told me it was an Android smartphone and they weren’t entirely sold on it but it was the best device for their work requirements that they had been shown in the store.

As Tom is a reasonably good friend I told them I could loan them a Windows Phone 7 HTC Titan.

I fished the phone and charger out of a drawer and proceeded to show them how Windows Phone works and at one point they asked to try it and amazed told me they had no idea Microsoft made a smartphone, let alone such an intuitive one. Score One for Metro New Windows UI.

We moved onto the issue of apps and supporting Office, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. I was quick to point out that certain apps are not supported in Windows Phone 7 but are coming to Windows Phone 8 levelling the playing field between iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Cue: the Windows App Store, stage left…

After importing their SIM contacts, setting up mail, connection to their Office 365 and the major social apps they were blown away. After looking at my Windows Phone 8 they simply couldn’t understand why the vendor hadn’t offered this phone to them. We spent an extra five minutes going through the various Windows Phones (Nokia Lumia, HTC and Samsung) along with their prices.

Needless to say had this been a sales pitch I would have closed the deal right there. This was a case of a product selling itself on demo. No more, no less.

The Warptest POV

Any frequent visitors to this blog or friends are aware of my unresolved belief in the Windows Phone platform (I’ve been using Windows Phone since it was Windows Mobile and am working on developing apps these days).

I was surprised and pleased to see an article in Israeli Newspaper, Yediot Acharonot this weekend on How to Change Smartphones to Winter Time; that included Windows Phone 8.

Article courtesy of Israeli newspaper: Yediot Acharonot.

It’s good to see the local press are aware of and including Windows Phone in their tech articles. The real challenge is to encourage vendors and the public to greater awareness of a strong, viable alternative to iOS or Android and to encourage App developers to continue to embrace the Windows Phone platform.

So before you dismiss Windows Phone for you or your family, take a chance and go hands on. Who knows you may decide you like it.

Bing Announced A New Logo Today…

… Amongst other things. The logo is part of an overall evolution of the brand. You can read what Microsoft had to say about the logo redesign here.

Ubiquitous… Almost

… Bing like many other Microsoft products catches a lot of flak and I’m going to say it. It’s unjust and mostly the usual Microsoft trolls. Bing right now is the go-to search / discovery enabler for Yahoo and Siri. Yes that’s right, pick your jaw up from the ground, Siri has made Bing its default search engine.

Understandably with Microsoft’s investment in Facebook there was a strong connection between Bing and Facebook also.

You Are Missing The Point

Bing has never been about being just a search engine. It is an enabling technology for discovery. Search provides results but discovery
delivers relevant and useful content.

Bing is an organic part of Windows Phone including voice and visual translation; has Apps for iOS and Android , Bing is used in Windows 8 / Windows Phone Apps and in a variety of Apps for Bing Maps: –

In addition the Bing API allows developers to build their own solutions integrating the service. The service is transitioning to the Windows Azure Marketplace.

Those who believe the announcement today is simply a new look and logo are very much mistaken.

The Warptest POV

It’s plain if you take the time to look that Bing is going to deliver contextually relevant, useful and usable content off the web. A lot of thought has gone into how to deliver this content in an incredible UX.

One of the examples given in the official Bing blog post is results about people. Bing already incorporated Social content (access to the person’s Facebook or Twitter feed and Klout score) but now the content delivered is a holistic/aggregated profile and not just a series of links with images/videos slapped in a sidebar.

The New Bing People Search via Bing blog.

Bing promises more evolution with news of development of a cross-device AI/Avatar named for HALO AI, Cortana according to Mary Jo Foley on ZDNet this week.

If this is true then firstly I am glad someone at Microsoft reads my blog.

I discussed this concept in October 2011 “An Ode to Ms Dewey…” where I suggest Ms Dewey (a marketing simulation for Live Search) become a Search enabled Personal Assistant App.

Whether we get to see Cortana soon or not, the new evolution of Bing delivers on an incredible search/discovery experience.

Will you be taking it for a spin?

My Windows Phone 8…

It arrived a bit over a week ago. I’d upgraded from my HTC Titan Windows Phone 7 to the HTC 8x Windows Phone 8. Why?

  • The price was right. I had promised myself when the price dropped below £200 it would be mine.
  • It was time to take a long hard look at the differences between 7 and 8.
  • I had opened a Windows Phone Developers Account and I wanted to see how easy/hard it was to build Apps for both.
  • Relevance.

That said, I knew that the moment the phone arrived HTC would announce a new phone and lo and behold the rumors broke that they are.

One Week In…

The upgrade and migration has to be one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. probably easier than upgrading a PC. Thanks to @MicrosoftHelps on Twitter for all advice and assistance.

I can honestly say that HTC got a lot right with the 8x. The lines of the phone, the Gorilla Glass screen with the raised edges and the curvature of the back make for a phone that sits well in your hand.

The battery life is somewhat better than the Titan, even with GPS / Glonass activating for a variety of location enabled apps I installed.

The screen is a crisp, colorful joy to use and the phone itself is incredibly responsive.

Windows Phone 8 OS works well and the added bells and whistles make for a richer experience, including the functional lockscreen and incredible sound.

What didn’t I like?

I have hands that are possibly not those that smartphone touchscreen designers had in mind. My fingers are broad and I definitely do not have fingertips one could describe as slender.

I’ve tried touch on iPhones, Symbians, Androids and Windows Phones and one of the reasons the Titan worked for me was that its screen was marginally bigger so my fingers had more space.

With the HTC 8X the screen is 4.3″ and I am relearning how to use a touchscreen to type.

The raised screen with curved edges is beautiful but there is a niggling concern that you need to be a bit more careful with how you treat the phone.

Accessories: I made the mistake of assuming that if I could buy a phone from Cellular companies here I could purchase a good case and or screen protector. The Cellular companies have made zero effort to have any accessories for the phone and are totally unapologetic. I went on Amazon and ordered the best case I could find.


At the end of the day Smartphones live or die based on which Apps are available for them. Windows Phone 8 has come of age and so far I have installed: –

And of course preinstalled

This is me getting started.

Right now I have a great mix of Social, Location, Productivity, Fun, Photo / Video and more. Most of the big Apps on other platforms are represented here but my favorite right now are probably: –

Track My Life – this App has a seductive UI and the App analyzes and displays your daily habits in a geographical manner that will give you pause for thought.

Bing Finance, News and Weather – simply because they are direct parallels to their doppelgangers on Windows 8. These show the Windows 8 ecosystem in all its glory.

Blink – Microsoft FUSE Research Labs and their gave us an App that captures everything with burst photography and then can create Blink animated shorts.

The Warptest POV

I do miss my HTC Titan (and its bigger screen) but the added value I get from the sleeker, faster Windows Phone 8 on the HTC 8x and the added apps make this a great phone.

I still have features to test and more apps to find but this is a great phone that shows why Windows Phone is a respectable choice and that HTC when they get their game on can do great things.

My advice to HTC is this, “You don’t need to burn revenue on big, splashy ads with Robert Downey jr. however wacky and memorable they are” play to your strengths and make quality phones like this or the incredible HTC One.

Even put a new Windows Phone 8 in the One chassis but start competing guys. Where is an HTC Windows Phablet? Where is a competitor for the Lumia 1020? This is a game of speed and daring so get in the game HTC.

Are you considering a Windows Phone? The HTC 8x is a great option that I give a strong recommend to.