Category Archives: 18067

‘Windows Phone 8.1 Update’ update

I have been running Windows Phone 8.1 Update for a couple of weeks now and have to say I like. I have not suffered the poor battery life others seem to have suffered. Maybe this is an feature of the Nokia 820 no needing as many firmware updates from Nokia (which aren’t available yet) note having such power hungry features as the larger phones.

The only issue I have had is that I lost an audio channel when using a headset. Initially I was unsure if it was a mechanical fault on the headphone socket, but I checked the headset was good, it sounded as if the balance was faded to just one side as you could just hear something faint on the failing side. Anyway as often is the case in IT, a reboot of the phone fixed the issue.

All upgraded to the Windows Phone 8.1 Update

My Nokia 820 phone is now updated to 8.1 with the developer preview.

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The actual upgrade was straight forward, the only issue was that the Store was down last night so updating apps could not be done until this morning. This was made more of an issue by the fact I had had to remove all my Nokia Maps and the iPodcast application (and downloaded podcasts) to free up space on the phone to allow the upgrade. Both these apps could only store data on the phone (not the SDcard) thus blocked the upgrade. This lack of space on the actual phone has been a constant issue for me on the Nokia 820.

So what is new and immediately useful to me?

  • You can now store virtually anything on an SDCard, not just music and images
  • The notification bar is great, no need for the connectivity shortcuts, but it does so much more
  • And at last podcasting is built back in, only issue is I am not sure I want the hassle of re-entering all my subscriptions, iPodcast does such a great job storing them in the cloud making re-installation or device swaps so easy – time will tell on that one if I move or not.

At this point I decided to leave my phone on UK settings, so did not get Cortana enable, just letting others in the office map out any issues that may occur with playing with region settings and the Store.

So now to see what WP8.1 is like to live with…

GDR3 update for my Nokia 820

The GDR3 update for my Nokia 820 has at last arrived. As my phone is a developer unit it is at the end of the automated update list. I suppose I could have pulled it down by hand, but I was not in a major rush as I am not doing WP8 development at present.

The update seems to have gone on OK. Only strange thing was I was getting low space warnings prior to the upgrade. I suspect this was the fact the new patch had been download onto the phones main storage, but this was a bit full of content from iPodcast (the otherwise excellent app I use for podcasts can’t store to my SD card). Just to be on the safe side I uninstalled iPodcast, did the GDR3 update and then reinstalled iPodcast. As I have the premium version I could easily restore my podcast lists, including what I had and had not listened to, from the cloud.

A week with a Nokia 820

I have been using a Nokia 800 (Windows Phone 7.8) for a year or so and been happy with it. It does what I needed i.e. phone, email, media player mainly for podcasts. So given all the  reported issues with WP8 and podcasts (no Zune client to manage the subscription/sync and you can only subscribe through the store if you are in the USA) I was not too keen to ‘upgrade’

Anyway last week I was persuaded to give a Nokia 820 a try, I did not want to try the 920/925 as I don’t like too larger phone. The fact the 820 is bigger than my 800 I thought that might be an issue.

So how did it go?

The first couple of days were horrible. However, turns out many of the problems I had were due to poor quality USB cables. Once I used the short one that came with the phone as opposed to one I had used for months connected to my laptop base station, all the sync issues I had went away.

The 820 only had 7Gb of usable memory as opposed to 13Gb on the 800, so I had to put in a MicroSD

The 820 did not come with a rubber bumper case in the box, unlike the 800. I think these are essential to deal with the inevitable drops the phone will suffer, and the couple of millimetre bezel lifts the screen to avoid scratches, so I bought one.

I had to install the language pack before all the speech based functions worked. Now I really can’t remember if I had to do this on the 800, but I don’t recall it, I thought they were preinstalled.

But all these are niggles, the real issue was the podcasting, it was awful. Now I know podcasts are either a feature you use or not, there is little middle ground, what we in the UK call a Marmite feature. if you listen to podcasts it is probably the primary use of your phone. What was in Microsoft’s head when they cut the Zune functionality and suggested using ITunes for the sync I do not know. The current release of the Windows Phone Desktop is meant to address this issue allowing podcasts to be sync’d from iTunes for folders (which in turn can be sync’d via Zune). The problem is it just does not do the job, it does not honour the played flag, just syncing what it finds in the folder whether it is played or not. This becomes a real problem when you have about half the free space I had on my 800 (until I put in a MicroSD).

I did try with the Windows Phone Desktop for a day or two and gave up. So I moved to an App. The best I found was i Podcast, it just works. It is a shame it cannot drop the files into the phone media hub or make use of the MicroSD card, but these are minor issues. I did have a problem that it crashed and wiped out my subscriptions but I am told by the developers that this exception related bug was fixed in 2.1 which was released this week. Their email response to my query was excellent. Other than that it has been great. I would recommend purchasing the premium features so that it can store you subscription/playlist and sync them between device – very nice

I await with interest to see if the GDR2 update addresses the horror story that is WP8 out the box podcasting.

So one week down, will i go back to my 800? I think not, actually the 800 screen felt a little small now. However I will still say I am not using any of the new WP8 feature, so I would not pay a premium to upgrade? I would hold off, at least until the free upgrade point on my phone contract.