Tag Archives: Lumia 830

The Future is Continuum

I just had an unexpected “ah ha” moment. It was particularly unexpected as I was not looking for it. It started with a post on computers for seniors.
In this post I will describe how I came to believe that continuum is the future of smartphones.

What is Continuum?
Continuum can mean different things at different levels. At one level it means your Windows experience is the same no matter which size of device you are working on as the code is the same. On another level it means if you connect your phone to a large monitor, the display adapts accordingly (see Microsoft’s explanation here…)

I think this video of Jamie Ramsay illustrates it well:

My Experience
No, I have not actually used continuum. My old Lumia 830, even though it runs Windows 10, its hardware is not continuum-capable, however…
A while back in a post on computers for seniors I stated that if I could only afford one device it would be my Lumia smartphone! I was already using my Lumia extensively but then set about creating a series of online courses to formalize what I knew. The result is a spectrum of courses covering both everyday fun stuff as well as work-related stuff.

For the sake of completeness, I added a Bluetooth keyboard to make entering lots of text in Word easier. I was surprised how well it worked. Then for the Excel course I added a Bluetooth mouse and again I was pleasantly surprised.

At the end of the PowerPoint course, I felt I needed to show how one would actually do the presentation. For that I got a wireless display adapter for a large monitor.

It was then that it hit me—even though my Lumia 830 is a very basic smartphone by today’s standards, I was actually using it in “continuum” mode, and I liked it!

The Future
As manufacturers become more acquainted with continuum, I can imagine a range of accessories and services becoming available for continuum-ready phones. At the same time the corresponding continuum-ready programs will become more prevalent.

I have seen that I can be entirely productive with just my Lumia 830 on its own. Adding the Bluetooth accessories, when needed, enhanced what I could do.

New Smartphone Courses

After my comment in a recent post, that if I had to limit myself to just one device, I would choose my smartphone – I decided to create  courses for my smartphone.

notaphone
It does not look like a phone because it isn’t

The starting point was that a smartphone was not really a phone but indeed a portable personal computer, that can also take photos.

The difficulty

When I started planning for these courses, I soon discovered just how difficult it was to videotape a smartphone screen successfully!

If the focus is not spot on, then the text on the Lumia screen becomes blurry. Add to that reflections on the Lumia screen and that my head accidentally getting in the way of the camcorder.

The Solution

Fortunately, I found a better way. Microsoft has created a marvelous desktop program: Project My Screen. This program allows one to mirror what is on the Lumia screen on the desktop screen.

100_0726w

100_0717wAs the photo shows, the Lumia is plugged into the desktop USB port and its screen is mirrored on the desktop monitor.

Not only that, I can operate the Lumia normally using my finger and the desktop monitor follows. Also, I can use the desktop mouse on the monitor and the Lumia follows!

Now I can use my regular screen capture program (Camtasia) on the desktop to record the course videos—the result is clear text, no reflections and my head never getting into the video.

It is still a lot of work but it does open all kinds of possibilities as I believe smartphones will play an increasingly important role in every day business and play.

New Courses

So far I have developed two courses:

The first is an introductory course intended to give a sense of what is possible, while the second course covers a rather specific application for smartphones.

The thing that amazed me most was what could be achieved with the Lumia 830. A few years back it was an “affordable flagship” but by current standards it is more an entry-level phone.

 

The Smartphone Miracle

lumia 830 The phone that I use, is the Lumia 830. At its release Microsoft billed it as an “affordable flagship”. It was actually quite expensive but I closed my eyes and bought it—it was the only Windows flagship available in Canada at the time. Over time I learned what Microsoft has packed into to the phone, I was surprised that they could sell it for the price they did.

In this post we will look at what goes in to make a smartphone and why I think it is actually a technical miracle.

Under the Hood
Let’s look at the main components of the phone. As the diagram below shows, it is essentially the same as any computer.

underthehood

If we take a look at the specifications on the Microsoft site, we see that the main memory is 1GB, the microprocessor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, and the main storage is 16GB.

Your operating system, Windows 10 in this case, as well as all your programs (called apps in mobile world) are stored in the C drive which is a solid state drive so it is fast and has no moving parts.

What is really amazing is what is packed into this small device. A quick look at the specs tells us that we have a graphics processor, global positioning (GPS), magnetometer, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, antennae for cell phone, Wi-Fi, Blue Tooth, a main camera with Zeiss lens and optical stabilization, an FM radio, noise cancelling microphones, and more.  In our diagram these are collectively represented by the Hardware Connections box.

Many of these components are included on the microprocessor chip, which is why it is called a SoC or system on a chip.

The most obvious hardware component is the high definition Corning Gorilla Glass display, which has 24bit true colour and a pixel density of almost 300 pixels per inch.

How It Works
When you turn your phone on, the essential core Windows modules are loaded into the main memory. The phone then displays the Start Screen. The icons on the Start Screen represents the programs (apps) you use most often. You can customize the Start Screen to suit your particular needs.

When you tap on an icon on the Start Screen, the corresponding app, is loaded into main memory and the microprocessor executes it. The program will talk to and activate the hardware components as needed.

For example, when you select the Phone app, the microphone and small speaker are activated, allowing you to speak and listen to the phone conversation.

Multitasking
You can load several apps into memory but because the main memory is only 1GB, only one app is active at a time. Open but inactive apps take up very little memory as only the essential information is stored. You can switch to the other open apps quite easily. The phone simply deactivates the current app, and loads the new app back into memory from the C drive.

So the main memory has the core Windows components, your selected app, and any data it uses. You can set the phone to store the data on the SD card (D drive). This is particularly helpful for big files like photos and videos. On my phone I have a 32GB card.

A Trade-off
When you put all these things into a smartphone, you still need to leave some space for a battery. The Lumia has a 2200 mAh battery which is adequate but does not last long when doing power intensive tasks like watching videos. The phone allows for wireless charging which is useful.

So the Miracle?
What I find a true miracle is that one gets a full PC in such a small 140mm package that can run full-featured programs, and then it can still do all the other things like shoot photos and videos, make phone calls, send text messages and emails, listen to music, and browse the web!

For more information, visit previous posts on the Lumia:

Why Choose the Lumia 830?

The Lumia 830There have been several blog posts and reviews on the Lumia 830 stating that it was too expensive! As if they really know what went into the design of the 830!

As a result I have also been asked why I covet this phone. I will try and explain…

Slow Processor

A big argument raised by the naysayers is that the processor in the 830 is the same as in the lower cost 730 and now even the 530.  Therefore it should be priced closer to those phones.

While that is true that the processor is the same, it is in fact quite adequate for what is needed in a phone. I have been using a Lumia 620 which has a much slower, older processor and it works just fine! By comparison the 830’s quad core processor is a quantum step up for me. So really it is not an argument. The processor does not determine the price.

However, the Lumia 830 comes 16GB of memory which is important for performance. It also has a MicroSD memory card slot for extra storage and of course there is OneDrive.

Size Factor

Stylus My first mobile flip phone from Telus had a small green screen and I had a hard time reading the phone numbers on it.

Then I replaced it with the Lumia 620 whose screen is amazingly clear and bright – what a relief! But at just over three and a half inches it is still on the small side. Reading is no problem and one can always zoom in if needed. However, typing with my fat fingers turned out to be a problem. This I solved using a stylus – that was a great discovery.

Much has been written about smartphone size. Once the size becomes too big it is called a phablet – a cross between a phone and a tablet, which is easy to read but awkward to lug around. It seems that 5 inches is the optimum or so called sweet spot in screen size. That is another reason for me with challenged eyesight to consider the 830.

The bigger size of the 830 allows for a larger battery to be used in the phone – a definite plus when one uses the phone all day.

Making a larger phone strong enough is a challenge that has been elegantly solved in the 830. It uses a tough metal frame for strength, but still maintains the modern European design style that Lumia phones are known for.

Productivity Centre

Microsoft Screen Sharing For Lumia Phones – HD-10The Lumia phones have all the business and entertainment apps that I need. The Lumia 620 now goes with me wherever I go. The apps are intuitive because they are Windows-based.

The 830 has the same suite of productivity apps, with the latest operating system, and includes wireless charging and large screen projection – productivity features that are important for when one is on the go a lot.

The Deal Maker – OIS

830-camera-componentsFor me it is the optical stabilization that makes the difference. You see, I am approaching my 70th birthday and I am no longer as steady as I used to be.

Nokia first introduced optical image stabilization (OIS) in the Lumia 920. With OIS the camera detects shaky movements common in handheld devices and corrects for that.

In low light situations in particular, when the lens is kept open longer to allow more light to come into the sensor, the image is then even more sensitive to camera movement. Then OIS really helps.

Basically gyroscopic-type sensors detect the movement of the camera. The electronics then reposition the lens by using rapid-acting actuators (also called motors). This is illustrated in the Lumia 920 video below.

What is truly amazing is that the Lumia team together with Zeiss have been able to build all that into a phone as slim as the 830 – and for that price. No wonder it is billed as an affordable flagship smartphone! Kudos to them!

Summary

Even without the Zeiss camera with OIS, the 830 is an excellent, classy handheld computer that can also phone and do texting and with the included software is worth the price.

Add to that the magnificent camera and you have an affordable flagship.