A Tribute to my Lumia 920, I’m Moving On

5 May

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It was 16 months ago that I first got my Lumia 920. It was the first smartphone I’d ever had with an HD (plus) display, having come from the Nokia N9 with what seemed by comparison a quite pixelated screen.
It was also the first device I’d ever had which had a display larger than 4.3 inches, I’d used the 900 for a couple of weeks before selling it on, but finally, with the 920 I had a device which fitted my hands perfectly.

I was really impressed with the 920. It was smooth, fast and had a display where I couldn’t make out the pixels even when holding it really close to my eye. There was a lot of criticism about the 920 that it was heavy. Well maybe compared to some phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 or iPhone 4S (which were also fairly new to the market back then) but the 1.8 grams didn’t bother me in the least.

And the camera. It was a PureView 8.7 megapixel shooter with Optical Image Stabilization, the first time I had ever used that in a phone. On it’s early WP8 software some of the pictures it produced were a bit soft, but firmware updates like Amber seemed to improve it. And for what I used the camera for (for one reason or another I photograph TV screens quite a lot) it was great, better than the cameras I’d previously used. I actually did a comparison with the N8, which gained quite a lot of interest.

A comparison of the two shots.

A comparison of the two shots.

Since that day back in January 2013 when I first unboxed the Lumia 920 and started using it as my main phone, it has taken a bit of a battering. Dropped onto concrete more than once, splashed with boiling water and being put in my pocket with a stray fifty pence piece. The white polycarbonate housing has some dents and scrapes while the Gorilla Glass has also picked up a good number of scratches. My Lumia 920 tells a story, about a device which has been used in the real world. Not a phone which has been kept in pristine condition for a possible resale, no, this 920 was to be enjoyed, for keeps. And that is one reason I don’t mind the dents in some corners, it makes the phone unsellable.

And it has been enjoyed. I have loved using the Lumia 920. With the exception of a week or two here and there where I perhaps had a device on trial, this 920 has been with me everywhere I’ve gone. But 16 months has taken it’s tool. The display is no longer as bright as it once was, the battery no longer holds a charge for as long. Dust from my pocket has found it’s way into the device, and despite a pretty thorough cleaning mission the front facing camera still produces blurred pictures. So it is time for me to move on. It is time to let my dear old 920 enjoy it’s retirement. It isn’t going anywhere, I will keep the 920 as a back up, and just to get out and admire every so often. I have always been a big fan of the Lumia 920 design.

And that moves me onto it’s successor. The Lumia 1020. I was lucky enough to trial the 1020 when it first launched in the UK and was really impressed with it. That was back in September ’13, 8 months ago. I was in no position back then to get a 1020, also my 920 was still going great guns.

So, last week I hear that the Lumia 1020 is on a really great offer and I decide to bite. With the choice of black or yellow I was for some reason more drawn to the black even though I do generally prefer a bit of colour on my phone. I received it on Friday (3 days ago) but due to work I have only just got around to setting it up.

It is now time for the official “Swapping of the Sim Card Ceremony” which is a big deal for me. I don’t know if I will keep the 1020 for as long as I kept the 920, but if I enjoy it half as much then I know what the 1020 cost me will be money well spent.

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This is my tribute to an amazing smartphone. The 920 was not my first Lumia and won’t be my last, but without doubt it’s the Lumia which has given me the most so far. I have never owned and used a smartphone as my main device for as long as I used the 920. Will the 1020 beat the 16 month record? We shall see.

For the purposes of curiosity, here is my list of “Main Devices” in chronological order.

Feb 2010 – Jan ’11 Nokia 5800 (11 months)
April ’11 – December ’11 Nokia N8 (9 months)
December ’11 – April ’12 Nokia Lumia 800 (5 Months)
April ’12 – Jan ’13 Nokia N9 (10 months)
January ’13 – May ’14 Nokia Lumia 920 (16 months)
May ’14 – Present Nokia Lumia 1020

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Project Proxy, Fixing Lumia 920 Proximty Sensor Part 2

4 Jan dustyprox

dustyprox

You may have caught my recent post “Wright On Fixing Lumia 920 Proximity Sensor“. My Torx screwdriver set arrived, including a T2 and T4 screwdriver needed for what I am calling Project Proxy (I originally received the wrong set and had to send it back which slowed things down a bit), so with my earlier attempt at cleaning out the proximity sensor failing I set about taking apart the Lumia 920. As I said in my earlier post I followed the instructional video made by LE55ONS on YouTube and can highly recommend his videos if you ever want to see how to take a device apart.

I had planned to save myself a bit of work by leaving the battery and USB ribbons connected as it is in the picture below, but in the end found it easier than I thought it would be to disconnect these.

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Once I had parted the innards of the Lumia 920 from the casing, it was time to separate the digitizer (screen) from the circuitry. There are a few screws to undo, two of which are tiny Torx T2 screws which I needed the screwdrivers for, and a couple of clips to detach. Once this was done everything came apart. Two small items fell out, one was the ear piece speaker and the other the Sim Card tray, the latter I hadn’t noticed until I had started putting it back together, so had to take it apart again. These two parts both went back in fairly easy.

I was shocked by the state of the Proximity Sensor, or more precisely the part of the screen which covers the proximity sensor, it was caked in dust. Take a look at the picture below.

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In the red circle you can see a square, the white inside of that is dust. Just to the right of it is the front facing camera, also dusty as heck (click the image to see it in full size). I used a couple of cotton buds to clean these two areas out and also gave the rest of the parts a wipe over.

So with this done I set about putting it all back together, and actually found this easier than it was to take apart. I took a few pictures along the way, which you can see in the gallery below. Click the image to see it in full.

With the proximity sensor now cleaned out, my Lumia 920 is working perfectly again. Before carrying out this I was finding the screen would lock whilst making a phone call, even when away from my face. Very annoying, and awkward for one reason you can’t hang up a call. Also, Nokia Glance Screen which came to the Lumia 920 with the Portico update (GDR2) would not work properly, as far as my phone was concerned the screen was always being covered, so the clock would rarely show up, Peek Mode, where you wave your hand in front of the screen to get the time up also didn’t work, neither did Double Tap to Wake. Well I am pleased to say this is all working again, as is screen brightness, where it reacts to ambient lighting. Success!

I was tweeting my progress on Twitter, and had a few people ask me why I didn’t take it to a Nokia Care Point. Well, one reason is my Lumia 920 came from outside the UK, so would not be covered by a warranty to be fixed for free. Another reason is that I actually enjoy doing this type of thing. I could have paid a Nokia Care Point to do it, but I like taking apart smartphones (and other gadgets) and having a go at fixing things myself, like with my N9 when the screen needed replacing.

I would be interested to hear your questions and comments on this, so please feel free to leave a comment below.

Wright On Fixing Lumia 920 Proximity Sensor

28 Dec WP_20131227_22_53_51_Pro20131227225735(1)

WP_20131227_22_53_51_Pro20131227225735(1)

I have had my Nokia Lumia 920 for nearly a year now, and since getting it back in January have used it pretty much daily (it has taken a back seat to the odd trial device and more recently the Lumia 625 but is back in my pocket daily now). Generally it has worked fine but one issue I have had recurring since the GDR 1 software update (the one before Portico) is an issue with the proximity sensor, along with the front facing camera (FFC from here on) becoming very dusty. I looked online for a solution to these issues, and it turns out the dust on the FFC has also got into/onto the proximity sensor, which you can see on the Lumia 920 just to the right of the FFC. One of the solutions I tried involved blowing compressed air into the ear piece, but this didn’t do much for me so have decided to open the phone up and try to fix the problem. Now there is always the option of taking the device to a Nokia Care Point, but like with the Nokia N9 when I replaced the digitizer, I want to have a go at this one myself, and at the same time clean the FFC.

By the way, the dusty FFC and sensor is caused by a design flaw on early versions of the Lumia 920 and has supposedly been sorted out by Nokia now.

Problems Caused by a Faulty Proximity Sensor

You may wonder what is the big deal about a faulty Proximity Sensor, well it turns out it can make the Lumia 920 nearly unusable. The biggest issue it causes is when you make a call the screen locks, not allowing you to interact with the call menu normally present, for example End Call, Speaker, Keypad etc. Tapping the unlock buttons doesn’t seem to help either, it just acts like the phone is always against your face, thus shutting off the screen. You know those calls: “Press 1 to do this, 2 to do that etc” well they are impossible to make. Also hanging up a call it made nigh on impossible as well. This is also the same for Skype voice calls as well.

Another problem caused is that the Glance Screen, which came to some of the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices doesn’t work properly. As far as the sensor is concerned, the phone is in your pocket, so won’t let you double tap to wake, or do that cool “peek” motion, where you wave your hand in front of the screen to bring the lock screen clock up.

My Solution

I had been temporarily fixing the issue by unscrewing the two Torx T4 screws on the bottom of the phone by the speaker holes, and pulling out the screen and vacuuming out the innards, but this doesn’t fix things for long. A few days back I tried to take the whole of the front screen off, which would have exposed the outer glass which covers bother the FFC and Proximity Sensor, but I was lacking a Torx T2 screw driver which is crucial to separate things. Well, I have ordered a Torx T2 from ebay (this set HERE) and when it arrives I will have another crack at taking it apart and cleaning/fixing it. Like when I replaced the N9 digitizer, I will bring you all along for the ride, photographing and videoing my progress and sharing it here. Stand by for that post, coming soon.

I will be carrying out the procedure with the help of YouTube’s LE55ONS, following the video found HERE.

A Reminder

Just a reminder of my efforts at replacing the screen.

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See the videos I did and read the whole post HERE

Legal Disclaimer:

I would not recommend anyone attempt taking apart their own device, or in anyway trying to repair a fault. Doing so will void your warranty, and could lead to your handset being even more damaged than before. Please leave it to the professionals, and take any faulty devices you have back to the store where you originally brought it from.

You can read Part 2 of my attempts to fix my proximity sensor by clicking HERE

Wright On Google Depriving YouTube Creators

18 Oct YouTube-windows-phone

YouTube-windows-phone

Being a Windows Phone users I may be a little biased in regards to all the commotion involved with Microsoft’s official YouTube client for the platform, but even with that in mind, I feel the point I make in the below editorial is a fair assessment of events.

What ever reason Google gives for blocking Microsoft’s YouTube app on Windows Phone, the truth is Google, who own YouTube are trying to slow down Windows Phone adoption rate.

When MS originally released the much improved version of YouTube Google complained that it violated their terms and conditions firstly because it allowed downloading of the videos, and also because it didn’t allow adverts to be played before videos clips. Microsoft agreed to make changes, and we even heard that they would be working closely with Google to produce a version which adhered to Google’s so far fairly reasonable requests.

So that app was taken down, and the Windows Phone Store went back to offering the second rate link to the mobile website as an Official YouTube client. A few months later and MS bring back their better version of the app, complete with adverts and no downloads. And what happens? Anyone who tried using that app will be familiar with a pop up which appeared every time you attempted to play a video; “Something happened, we’re not sure what.”

What had happened was Google had remotely killed the apps access to YouTube videos, this time stating a few new reasons for their discontent. The app wasn’t coded in HTML5, and Google couldn’t stand “their” viewers having a degraded experience. The fact iOS and Android’s official YouTube apps aren’t coded in HTML5, and that this in no way degraded the viewing experience was ignored of course.

The difference between iOS and Android’s YouTube apps and the one appearing for a brief time on Windows Phone is the formers were made by Google themselves while the latter was done by Microsoft, due to the fact Google so far don’t think Windows Phone has a big enough user base to bother creating apps for. Google also argue that Windows Phone users still have access to YouTube, in the way of the mobile browser.

So, how does any of this imply that Google are depriving YouTube content creators? After all, they insisted that any app had to have access to advertisement.

Well, whatever Google think of Windows Phone’s installed user base, which an estimate made back in June 2013 calculated to be at around the 32 million mark – a further 3 months on could put it well over the 40 million user mark, a great many of which will be after a good YouTube experience. 40 million users who could well be wanting a better quality YouTube stream than the mobile website offers.

Microsoft’s app offered High Definition streams, along with adverts. Instead, Windows Phone users like myself are now forced to seek out one of the very good third party clients available which have no advertising what so ever.

40 million potential viewers who, while still getting to enjoy the content are in no danger of clicking any ad during that time. Let me remind you of what Google wrote in their Cease and Desist letter back in May, following the app’s first appearance in the store:

“Content creators make money on YouTube by monetizing their content through advertising. Unfortunately, by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable on going revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosystem on YouTube.”

Am I the only one who thinks Google are being hypocrites here? Now they are the ones depriving their content creators of “valuable on going revenue” by blocking something in the possible region of 40 million viewers accessing both a premium YouTube experience and the adverts which are so important for video makers.

Until Google are prepared to allow Microsoft to release their version of the app, and stop making ridicules, inconsistent excuses, the conclusion which I have to come up with is that they couldn’t care less about Content Producers, and only used them as a pawn in their power trip.

I originally published this blog post on NokiaInnovation.com under the title Editorial: YouTube Video Creators, Google Don’t Care About You Which you can read by Clicking HERE

Wright On Nokia Lumia 625

15 Sep

wonw

I do most of my writing on Nokia Innovation and this is where the video below comes from.
I have had the Lumia 625 for just over a week now and really enjoy using it. I will be doing a full write up on the device soon, so look out for that, in the mean time enjoy this hands on video. And as always, any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

You can also see the post I did which goes along with this video by clicking HERE

Wright On IOS7

21 Jun

ios7-apple

It has been just over a week since iOS 7 was unveiled and shown to the world at Apple’s WWDC conference, and the response from people has been very mixed.

Most people seem to think the changes to the UI, most notably the overhaul to the very famous design, has been a good thing. But I have heard a lot of criticism about the new icons, however things are still at an early beta stage, with plenty of time to change.
What do I think of IOS7? Firstly I’ll point out that I am not a iOS user, so won’t be directly affected with however the final version looks.
With that said, I have always found iPhone and iPads to be very elegant both in hardware and software. Personally I am not such a big fan of the new icons, but usually find when things get a redesign, a new look always seems a bit out of place to begin with, until you get used to things.
Windows Phone has got a lot of credit for inspiring the new look of iOS, and while that is true to an extent, you can can see the iPhone’s influence in the majority of todays average modern smartphone, so are perhaps owed a few “borrows”.
Imitation is of course the sincerest form of flattery, and the team which designed Windows Phone can be very proud of their work. In a world where icon grids and home screen widgets rule, they achieved quite a feat, bringing a UI which offers neither, yet still has the functionality of both, but this is meant to be about iOS7…
Yeah sure, they stole a few things from other platforms, but then which UI really does have a completely unique layout?
Will iOS7 make me switch to an iPhone? Unlikely. Will it stop current iPhone users deserting the platform? Maybe it will, though I’m not sure that was the intended purpose.
The refresh of the platform was something which needed doing, for what ever reason. But ultimately I think all platforms will eventually hit an expiry date, as we saw with Symbian. The Anna and Belle updates helped prolong its life for a while, but as with all things in life, Father Time will catch it in the end.
But I will be interested to see what the final version of iOS7 is like and how it is received by those who use it.
Would be very interested to hear what you think.

The week of the 925, 928 and YouTube Apps

17 May

My Appearence on The Phones Show

When I first got interested in Smartphones, one of the best resources I had for information was The Phones Show hosted by Steve Litchfield (Find his website here) which reviews mobile phones, does a quarterly Top 5 Best Phones list as well as other phone related pieces.

Well, Steve reached his 200th episode of the Phones Show, and as a celebration had asked his viewers to submit a 30 second video clip consisting of a congratulatory message. Well, I submitted one, and it made the cut. The video is below, it starts with an 11 minute review of The Samsung Galaxy S4, which is followed by the viewers submissions. I appear at more or less bang on the 13 minute mark.

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Google, Microsoft, YouTube,

If like me you are a Windows Phone user, you may be aware that Microsoft updated the platforms official YouTube client a week or so ago. The update brings a lot of improvements to what was just a wrapper for the mobile website, and now features swiping left and right for additional options, and even the ability to download videos for offline viewing. Then, barely a week after the update is pushed out to users Google issue MicroSoft with a Cease and Desist, demanding that the app is removed from the Windows Phone Store within 7 days (Read about it here). The problem (beside Google hating MicroSoft)? Well apparently the new app blocks ads, which deprives YouTube and the content creators revenue. Now, I could understand this, if Google where issuing the same Cease and Desist letters to all the other developers of the countless 3rd party YouTube apps across different platforms which do exactly the same thing. Also, ads don’t come through on the mobile website either, which is what most will use as an alternative.
If you ask me Google are just being spiteful. Now I’m not saying that they don’t have good reason to be for things which went on in the past, but as with then, the only people who really lose out are the consumers. Personally I prefer MetroTube and MyTube on Windows Phone, as these allow you to watch the streams in HD. UPDATE: There is a setting on the official YouTube app to stream videos in HD.

Announcements and Stuff

In the last week or so we have seen a few press events, one coming from Nokia in London on the 14th May where they announced the Nokia Lumia 925, a slimmed down version of the 920 with very similar specs. The screen is still 4.5 inches with a resolution of 768×1280, but now has an AMOLED ( Active Matrix Organic light emitting diode) screen. Now I am a big fan of the screen found on the 920, but one thing I miss from my time with the N8, N9, Lumia 800 and 900 is the beautiful colours and deep deep blacks produced by an AMOLOED screen. Just before that, on the Sunday before in fact, Nokia quietly launched the Nokia Lumia 928, exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the USA. If you want to know more about these devices, have a look at these links; Here for the Nokia Lumia 925 and Here for the Nokia Lumia 928
And of course, how could we forget the Google I/O conference? Well, I didn’t forget, just don’t care. Sorry, Android isn’t for me. Or at least has never appealed to me so far, and until it does, I don’t have much to say on the matter. Oh, I don’t know. Something about a new Nexus Tablet. How’s that?

Well I’m hoping to get a post like this out about once a week, more if possible, so find the Follow(+) button somewhere on this page to keep up with the latest posts from me. Will be back soon.

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