Apr 282012
 

Well, the other night I accidentally destroyed my Samsung Focus to the point of no return. I live by my phone, and I’d die without it so I had to replace it A.S.A.P.

As most of you regular readers already know, I’m a die hard Microsoft mobile enthusiast. I’ve been using their devices since before the iPhone even existed… And I’ve been more then happy with all their smartphone operating systems, especially the new Windows Phone 7.

Even though Windows Phone 7 isn’t that popular in Canada (I’m assuming this is because most of the providers don’t really try to sell them) I decided to call up the local Best Buy store to see if they had any new Nokia Lumia 900s in stock. To my surprise they did! They had two!

With less then 20 minutes till close I rushed to the store and picked one up. Got home, plugged it in and it was play time. Unfortunately Rogers Corporate customer care is closed at night so I couldn’t activate the new MicroSIM till the next morning. But that didn’t really matter considering I wanted to play with the phone, not make calls.

Comparing this to some of the 1st Gen phones (in my case the Samsung Focus):
1) I finally have a front facing camera! And it works great! I loaded up Skype, and it works beautifully (both over WiFi and LTE). 40% of the time I’ve been using my new phone I’ve been Skyping people haha. Video calling on Skype has high video quality, no lag (even over LTE), and just works SLICK!
2) Faster processor – the interface on WP7 has always been slick, however certain small things like the keyboard not keeping up with my typing, or application slow load times, or the delay going back and resuming an application from the background has bugged me. These issues don’t exist on the Lumia 900.
3) New phones (the Lumia 900) are bigger, and easier to type for people with big hands and figures like me!

This is somewhat unrelated and a side not, but previously my old Samsung Focus camera button didn’t work and there was also a defect in the touchscreen so i avoided typing, emails, and texting at all costs (i didn’t want to send it in since the devices my provider sends back are always usually in worst shape the the busted one you originally sent them from my experience). With my new Lumia 900, I can’t stop texting, e-mailling, and typing!

Let’s get back to the Nokia Lumia 900. Overall, the phone rocks. Its fast, designed nicely, and has all the features you could need and use. Nokia even has their own WP7 apps, which I had a chance to try and can actually see myself using them.

Now before I leave, I do want to mention I have observed two issues with this phone.
1) When the backlight is on low (either automatic or you manually set it) the screen gets a purple or brown tint to it. Its ugly, makes pictures look horrible, and the keyboard turns full purple. I don’t know what’s causing this but other people are reporting it so I hope its software and not hardware. If it’s software, they should easily be able to issues a software or firmware update.
2) The vibrate function on the phone rattles. Some people report it being certain things such as buttons, I’ve identified mine to being the camera button, and another thing internally which I can’t see. Its annoying, but it’s not a deal breaker.

I leave you with this: If the purple screen issue turns out to be software, I would recommend this phone to everyone and anyone! Its awesome! If it turns out the purple issue is hardware, I’d say hold off.

PS. This phone is so slick, I actually wrote this entire blog post from the WordPress app on my Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone.

 

UPDATE (April 29th, 2012): I reached out to a bunch of different twitter addresses for WindowsPhone, Nokia, etc… and I received a response back from NokiaHelps (@NokiaHelps on Twitter). They told me to take my phone back to the retailer. I went back today, and took the phone in. The people at Best Buy confirmed there was an issue and replaced the phone. Unfortunately on the new unit, once I got home and plugged it in, I got the purple screen right off the bat. So now I sit here, wondering if all Lumia 900s have this issue and if I should return it for a full refund and move away from Windows Phone (considering my provider has no other latest gen Windows Phones).

UPDATE (April 30th, 2012): I told NokiaHelps on twitter that I took the device back to the retailer as they suggested and got a new device which also had the same issue. They responded back and mentioned this issue is under investigation. Hopefully we can get this fixed. I would LOVE to keep this phone, it’s awesome!

UPDATE #2 (April 30th, 2012): I returned the second Lumia 900 to the Best Buy store where I purchased it and received a refund. I decided to go around the city and check every Best Buy and Futureshop to see if the phones they had may have had a later production date (The two phones I had were ” 13 / 2012 “, and I’m just assuming this is the production batch date).

Turns out that every Futureshop and every Best Buy received 2 units when the Lumia 900 launched. I checked every Futureshop and Best Buy in Calgary, Alberta (except 1 of each in the North end of the city) and all told me they haven’t sold any since launch, and I confirmed all boxes had the ” 13/ 2012″ on the sticker at the bottom of the box. Additionally Futureshop REFUSED to sell me the Lumia 900 stating “All new phones that Best Buy and Futureshop carry are only available by going on a contract term with the provider”. I mentioned that I purchased a phone on Friday and I purchased it outright from Best Buy, they told me “that doesn’t sound right” and after pushing they changed their story to: “When it comes to Best Buy, its the stores discretion, but Futureshop isn’t allowed to sell the phones outright”. I find this very hard to believe, and I’m surprised that they make it this hard to buy a phone…

Finally after 5 hours of going to all the Best Buy’s and Futureshop’s, I finally purchased another device. The new device DOES have the purple display issue. At this point I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

On one note though: I’m just absolutely shocked that in a city of more than 1,000,000 (1 million) people, that I’m the only person that has gone to a Best Buy or a Futureshop to buy a Nokia Lumia 900 (according to the information the sales people at the stores have provided me with).

UPDATE (May 1st, 2012): I noticed today with my phone manually set to medium, that the white background of the “Outlook” app is now starting to show a purple tint (it’s whitish/purplish). It’s somewhat hard to see, and you have to be looking at the phone directly. If you tilt the phone the purple-ness disappears.

Also, here’s something interesting… Turn your phone off, or put it to sleep: Go somewhere close to a light, and use your phone’s screen to reflect the light (as if you were looking through a mirror at a light. Notice how there is a purple haze around the light in the reflection on the phone. I’m almost positive this is hardware and it has something to do with a internal coating in the screen.

UPDATE (May 2nd, 2012): I e-mailed my corporate sales rep at Rogers on Monday and asked about this issue and if Rogers is aware of it. It is now Wednesday and I have not received a reply.

UPDATE (May 7th, 2012): No word back from my Corporate rep at Rogers (I’m not surprised…), it’s now been a week. I don’t think this is because they are aware of the issue and don’t know what to say, but rather this is just typical for Rogers (but I’ll get in to my problems with them in another blog post). On the bright side of things, Nokia mentioned today they are releasing a software update soon to resolve the purple hue/tint on the Lumia 900. Let’s hope they aren’t using a software fix to hide a hardware problem!

UPDATE (May 9th, 2012): A few days ago, Nokia finally mentioned they were going to release a software update to resolve the purple hue issues. Even before that was announced I had made the finaly decision to keep the phone just because of how awesome it is. I’ll keep this post up to date with info on how this turns out, but I’ll be posted a full review soon! Stay tuned!

Mar 112012
 

I was out for dinner the other night at a nice restaurant in downtown Calgary. While waiting for my tenderloin steak, I decided to pull out my phone and check my Twitter, Facebook, e-mail (you know, the usuals). I noticed that my Samsung Focus (SGH-i917) picked up some WiFi networks and I accidentally tapped the option, I saw that I was picking up a wireless network with the SSID of “ShawOpen”.

I remember reading about Shaw launching a city wide wireless network in select areas as a trial. This service compliments your existing internet services you have with Shaw. While the project is currently on trial, when and if it leaves trial, it will simply use the amount of bandwidth you are already paying for with your home Shaw internet package.

More information on the Shaw Exo WiFi Trial can be found here. I believe you can associate 10 devices with your account (someone correct me if I’m wrong) and your device will automatically connect as long as your WiFi is turned on whenever you are in range. It’s a simple, fast, wireless internet connection.

 

Anyways, moral of this story: It was easy to connect, easy to log in (it uses your @shaw.ca e-mail address), and it was fast! And don’t forget, this lets you avoid using your cell phone data plan! I’m definitely going to be using this more often! Good job Shaw!

And remember: Whenever doing anything with confidential data (banking, private stuff, etc…), always make sure the website’s you are accessing use SSL encryption (you’ll see https in the address bar). If data is sent over a wireless connection and not encrypted it can be intercepted.

Mar 092012
 

Well, for some time I haven’t been able to have my Samsung Focus (SGH- I917 Windows Phone 7) automatically sync over Wi-Fi when on AC power. It should connect after 10 minutes and sync if setup properly.

When it does try to connect, Zune opens on the computer and presents this error: “Connection Error – Can’t connect to your phone. Disconnect it, restart it, then try connecting again.”. Unfortunately I have done this over 400 times over a span of 4 months each time failing.

This is an extremely convenient feature to have, especially if you have a Zune Pass and download music on both your WP7 device, and your computer. Having it sync overnight when the phone is plugged in while sleeping just rocks.

I finally decided to set aside some time to resolve the issue. Tried numerous things like reconfiguring the Wireless Sync, deleted everything off the phone, etc… with absolutely no luck.

FINALLY TO RESOLVE I just went to the sync settings for the phone and selected “Forget this phone”, then after that re-configured the sync partnership. Unfortunately it duplicated all my pictures and videos on both the computer and the phone (some stuff had 3 copies and my WP7 pic folder on my computer almost tripled in size). After this (I made sure I had everything backed up), I deleted all Music, Pictures, Videos, Zune content off the phone, and set Zune up to sync nothing, I then reconfigured my Sync’ing preferences (re-setup music, pictures, etc…). MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BACKUP OF YOUR WP7 PICTURE FOLDER, when I told it not to sync, it actually deleted it off the computer.

 

Short Instruction:

1. Backup your WP7 Picture/Video Sync folder on your computer (The folder that contains Pictures and Videos you take).

2. In Zune, Select “Forget this phone” under the phone’s sync properties.

3. Reconnect phone, create new sync partnership. If no duplicates of Pictures/Videos exist, configure wireless sync and your done.

4. If you experience duplicates of “Camera Roll” and “Saved Pictures”. Delete them off the phone and computer, sync, and restore from backup, sync, and finally configure wireless syncing.

And you’re done!