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Uploading photos from your Windows Phone to SkyDrive can be a pain, especially since full resolution photos are resized when sent to the cloud. This is presumably due to Microsoft taking measures to optimise transfer for those on tight data plans who may not be connected to a WiFi network. While perfectly understandable, it would make sense to have this option in the Windows Phone settings for the user to configure how they'd like their photos uploaded to their SkyDrive account.

For now there's a workaround of sorts. Unfortunately a Windows PC is required with Zune installed, sporting an active Internet connection, and of course the native SkyDrive client for Windows. Luckily, Microsoft has developed sturdy software enabling Windows users to access and synchronise their SkyDrive storage locally with a smart folder set on their machine. This is what we'll be using through Zune to automatically upload photos from the Windows Phone to the cloud.

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If you need a way to password protect the images and videos on your Windows Phone, take a gander at Photo Lock. Now is a great time to give the app a try because it's now a free app.  The price reduction (the app is normally $.99) is in celebration of Photo Lock reaching 65,000 downloads.  The free offer is good through August 10, 2012.

What is Photo Lock you ask?  It is an app that will let you securely store images and videos on your Windows Phone.  Photo Lock also includes basic editing tools and the ability to record video footage from the app.

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Smartest Eraser is a photo editing app for your Windows Phone that helps clean up unwanted objects that snuck into your photos. Such as tree limbs, ex-boyfriends, bratty little brothers, a foot and any other item that just doesn't belong. The concept of removing unwanted objects (or subjects) from your pictures can be appealing and a useful tool.

But how smart is the Smartest Eraser?  We took it out for a test drive and while the app has potential, there is still a bit of room for improvement.

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We're almost at the point where we're going to start leaving flowers at the grave of the poor Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) Jolie Windows Phone, which has had prototypes circulating throughout the web for a good number of months now. We last looked at the black version of "Jolie" when a hands-on video was published on YouTube.

Back to the white / silver version, and an owner of said Windows Phone has sent in some more photos to Windows Phone Italy. Not only does the slide-out keyboard look inviting, the overall look and design of the device itself is unique, compared to the Windows Phones we had when the platform launched almost two years ago.

It's a shame that such a stunning 2010-esque Windows Phone simply never came to be. But the tractor beams installed on the Android mothership appeared to be too advanced for Microsoft to best (and too expensive to acquire), which led to Sony ditching Windows Phone for the green droid. Check out some more shots after the break.

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A few weeks ago we reported on Aviary releasing their SDK for Windows Phone, allowing developers with little effort to plug in the company’s photo editing suite into any application out there. Rowi was one of the first to do this, allowing its users to quickly do sophisticated photo edits without ever leaving the popular Twitter app.

Today, Aviary has released Photo Genius, a standalone version of those tools for all Windows Phone users. The app is a “demonstration” one meaning it’s meant to show off what Aviary can do but for you all that means is you get an awesome, full featured photo editing program for your phone.

The app behaves like the “Auto Fix” feature built into Windows Phone. It analyzes a selected photo and then recommends a sweeping set of changes which you can enable with a quick “checkmark”. You can then compare the before and after images with a simple toggle, allowing you to see if you like the modifications.

If you don’t like the alterations or want to do more, you can hit the “Edit” button and load up Aviary’s full set of photo manipulation tools. Such tools include controls for brightness, contrast, sharpness, cropping, rotation, red-eye fix, filters, stickers and more—it really has it all.

Once you’re done you can just hit the “Save” icon and that’s it and you have your fully edited photo.

Overall, Aviary Photo Genius is a great little app. It’s “smart” and has a ton of features on board, allowing you to really control every aspect of how your photo looks. It is a big sluggish on loading photos initially (in the gallery) but once you’re up, it works just like any other app.

Pick up Aviary Photo Genius for all Windows Phones here in the Marketplace for free. And read more on the app release here on Aviary's blog.

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Nope. The Windows Phone app Photo Light isn't a flashlight app to use when taking pictures. It's a lite photo editor for your Windows Phone that isn't too shabby.

The main menu of Photo Light has five tiles that give you options to load an existing image from your Pictures Hub, launch your camera to capture a new image to edit, display the EXIF file information on images, access the app's settings and view the About screen.

Just a quick note about the EXIF information is that not only will Photo Light display the data contained in the image's EXIF file but it will also map it out if GPS data is present. For those not familiar, the EXIF file is short for Exchangeable Image File that is a metadata file that contains all the information your camera collects as it takes a picture. The amount of information varies from camera to camera but in general, the EXIF will contain camera settings, image size, date/time taken, and more.

Now back to Photo Light.

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Looks like Nokia was sitting on the release of Camera Extras & Play Now for its Lumia phones as you can now go ahead and download both apps from the Nokia Collection.

Camera Extras is what it sounds like, yet another camera app from the Finnish company that adds a lot of unique features to hopefully improve some of those pics. Features include:

  • Smart Group Shot - automatically selects faces, lets you create the perfect picture
  • Panorama - takes  numerous photos and stitches them together
  • Action Shot - rapidly takes photos
  • Self timer - 10 second countdown

The app downloads as a separate program but it does integrate into the camera module meaning you can just quickly load the whole thing by hitting your dedicated camera button. Overall, the features are pretty good and we think many of you will enjoy the new additions. Nokia may be late to the game but they often get it right in the end.

Next up is Play To, Nokia's DLNA app which has finally made it to their Collection. Allowing you to "stream" your Music, Photos and Videos to any DLNA capable device e.g. your TV, the app is a great way to show off your photos to friends and family.

The system auto searches for any DLNA devices over WiFi such as BluRay Players, PCs and more. We don't have one in house so can't test it, we'll leave that to you for now.

Note: For both apps it says you may need the latest update for your phone in order to work--that would be Windows Phone "Tango" (8773) for some of you or Nokia's latest firmware for others. Things like DLNA require some "ground work" done by Nokia in their firmware to be installed so if you can't install these apps or you don't get all of their features, you may have to wait till you get a phone update first.

If not available in your Market (It appears to be US, China and Inida right now) stay tuned as Nokia is rolling these throughout  July.

Pick up Camera Extras here and Play To here in the Nokia Collection. Thanks, CaliforniaDrew, for the heads up

    

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Microsoft's booth at E3 was massive

Now that we're home from the fray of E3 2012 and seeing as we now have working internet (shakes fist), we figured we would show you some of our photos from Microsoft's presence at the giant gaming and entertainment conference.

Needless to say, Microsoft had one of the largest and most busy sections at of the whole conference. For instance had you wanted to try the Halo 4 demo you would have had to wait 2.5 hours in line just to get a shot. Yowza.

 

Life size replica of the Halo Warthog

And yes as you can see after the break in our photo gallery, Windows Phone was there too. No, it didn't dominate but it was certainly there and people were playing with the Xbox LIVE games and seemed to enjoy the experience. Mobile in general at E3 is still a very tiny percentage of the conference, regardless of platform. But every year it grows a bit more and so far, the majority of those games are on iOS.

Here's hoping to Windows Phone 8 and E3 2013!

Check out our complete photo gallery after the break. (Maybe later we'll post some non-Microsoft shots as there were some very cool displays)

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While details are scarce, we're getting a lot of reports that the official SkyDrive app for Windows Phone received an update tonight.

Indeed, the app has a version 2.1 stamp on it now, shortly after going to version 2.0 just two weeks ago. We can't see any new features (no batch uploads, etc.) but presumably there are some under the hood fixes on board.

We're not sure if it's new or not but uploading photos directly via this app does preserve photo integrity, which is good news for those with 8 or 16MP cameras. We tried both our Titan II and Lumia 900 and both photos were completely untouched, meaning we're using this as our default photo upload service (more on that tomorrow).

Anyway, if you find any other changes, hit us up in comments as it's late here and our perusing skills are waning by the moment.

Pick up version 2.1 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, everyone, for the tips

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Understanding your Windows Phone Camera

Want to make the most of your Windows Phone camera? Read our guide on how to get the best shots possible and look like a pro!

While the camera on your Windows Phone may not have been a key factor in the past, with the HTC Titan II sporting a 16mp camera and the Nokia Lumia 900 using a Carl Zeiss lens these little cameras are being seen in a new light. Where in the past many saw the camera as a nice accessory or even a novelty, as technology improves the Windows Phone camera's performance it's becoming a more influential feature.

Additionally, as our Windows Phone camera evolves so does the software that drives it. You have more control over the camera these days along with special settings to use effects, adjust exposure settings, and program settings. From your children at play to a stunning sunset to your new pet the camera on your Windows Phone is a great tool for capturing and sharing memories.

With all the advancements we've recently seen with our Windows Phone cameras (along with a few suggestions from our readers) it's time to offer our guide to understanding the basics of your Windows Phone camera and a few tips on taking pictures.  After the break, we'll cover the principles of photography, the terminology involved, what some of your Windows Phone settings will do, and a few tips to take better pictures with your Window Phone.

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We last wrote about Boxfiles for Dropbox back in December. The app comes into two flavors (a free version and a paid one) and has undergone numerous updates since then.

The latest just hit the Marketplace and it brings a really neat feature that many of you may enjoy: automatic camera uploads to your Dropbox account.

This is very useful and desirable because although Windows Phone can do this for Skydrive, it re-scales images automatically leaving you with a "just good enough for the web" sized memory. That's a problem though if, like us, you want to back up your photos to "the cloud" but at their full resolution. Even more so if you have a device like the Titan II with a 16MP camera and photos averaging around 2MB in size.

Version 3.6 of Boxfiles brings this feature but we should point out that it's not entirely 100% automatic meaning you snap a shot and off it goes. Instead you do need to open the app for a few seconds as it will scan your camera directory on the phone and upload and new pics to your Dropbox account.

But once the queuing takes place (usually just a few seconds) you can close the app as it will upload the photos in the background, so you don't need to babysit the app. It's basically a one-touch app to upload all your latest camera shots.

You can also choose a specific directory (or create a new one) to upload the photos too and pick if you want WiFi-only or both WiFi/Cellular data usage. Our favorite part though is how it allows you to browse your photos via thumbnails in addition to just the obscure files-names. Finally, Boxfiles also integrates with your Skydrive account giving you the choice to manage those files from within the app. A nice bonus.

So far only the paid version has been bumped with this feature though we imagine the free one will get it at some point too. What can we say? Of all the Dropbox apps on the Marketplace, we happen to like this one the most and this new auto-upload features makes backing up and sharing our pics easier.

Pick up Boxfiles for Dropbox here in the Marketplace for $1.29 with a free trial.

Update: For those of you in Europe, the app is currently in certification so you'll have the update within a few days. Sit tight.

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Earlier today, we compared and contrasted the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II on AT&T and each featuring 4G LTE.  Both phones have their strengths and weaknesses but if there is one thing we can absolutely agree on is the impressive rear camera on the Titan II (review).

Featuring a back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor for excellent low-light performance, 16MP for high resolution, f/2.6 lens with dual LED flash, the Titan II has arguably one of the best cameras on a phone today (well, definitely on a Windows Phone). In fact, HTC in general has been investing heavily in cameras as of late, including their new flag ship Android phone, the One X (review), which has an 8MP BSI sensor with a jaw-dropping f/2.0 22mm lens.

There's no debate about it: the Titan II's rear camera crushes the Lumia 900's (review) That doesn't make the Lumia 900 a bad phone at all, in fact we find that the camera performs quite well in well-lit conditions and we're throwing down $450 on April 22nd for a glossy-white one to back up our opinion. But if photos matter to you, then the Titan II deserves a serious look. And if you have 4G LTE in your area to send those massive pics, it will certainly helps for those uploads.

Besides the exceptional camera hardware, HTC have done some really great work with the Titan II's camera software too. For instance, it's the first Windows Phone that we know of that has smile detection in addition to face detection. There's also an impressive red-eye reduction built in, burst mode for rapid shots and the familiar anti-shake option (ramps up ISO for non-blurred shots).

Those are very impressive and useful features but there's more. There's also 18 "scenes" including more obscure things like "Backlight portrait", "Night portrait", "Text", "Beach", "Foliage' and even a special setting for "Food". Yup, there's a pre-set mode for taking pictures of your latest meal. If you don't want to bother choosing your scene, just use the "Intelligent Auto" mode to automatically choose one for you (and yes, it's smart too). You even have some built in effects like "Vintage warm", "Vignette" and "Blue Tint" which can also be used for video. That's on top of what's built into the optional Photo Enhancer app by HTC.

But enough talk, lets see some photos. We walked around the streets of Manhattan snapping a couple of pics as well as some macro and regular shots for you to peruse and yes, we're linking to the full resolution pics for your pixel peepers out there. These photos have not been altered in any way except to remove some EXIF info like GPS from our home pictures. The dual LED flash was not used for any pictures.

Jump past the break to take a look...

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Have some interesting and / or humorous Windows Phone fan art? Or do you simply have an awesome photo containing a handset that you wish to show off? If you share it on Facebook with the Windows Phone team, they may well include your submission in their album.

Checking out what has been added so far shows there are a lot of cakes around that have been Metro'd. From the previous competitions we've held here at WPCentral, we know our reader base is bursting at the seems with talent (we have to suck up to you guys at some point, right?), so it'll be interesting to see what you call come up with.

Source: Facebook

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When we first drew up the idea of the Nokia Lumia 710 Photo Contest, two things slipped our minds. First, a little event called the 2012 Mobile World Congress. Second, the vast number of quality entries we would receive!

Between Mobile World Congress and life in general, it took a lot longer than expected to judge all the outstanding entries we received. The good news is that we've identified our winner. The bad news is that you'll need to hit the break to see who won and who is our runner-up.

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Sketch Camera is a neat, simple photography app for your Windows Phone camera. Neat for the effects you can apply to your photos, simple for the layout.  The photography app allows you to apply six artistic filters to images as you capture them as well as apply the filters to existing photos.  

If you're a fan of sketch or drawing filters for your photos, Sketch Camera is worth a look at.

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Although Microsoft didn't have any big press conferences or news releases regarding the future of Windows Phone at Mobile World Congress that hasn't stopped them from throwing a little thank you party to all of their supporters (and if you remember we gave away some ticket to the exclusive event).

Held at the famous El Molino, the event was suppose to have 400 attendees but Microsoft was expecting many more and indeed as the night went on it was certainly packed (especially on the roof). With free drinks, thumping dance music, delicious h'orderves and contests, the night was quite a blast.

Speaking of contests, Microsoft had a few last night including a Twitter/Speed contest where you had to type and post a catch phrase with hashtag as fast as you can. The fastest 10 all won a Windows Phone and even had a choice between an HTC Titan, Radar or Nokia Lumia 800. There was also the favorite "Fruit Ninja" contest where users can play the game on numerous Windows Phones with the top scorer winning a new device.

All in all it was a great time and below we have a few photos of the event just in case you couldn't make it. (Oh and we even briefly ran into one of our readers there, which was very cool).

Remember, keep track of all of our Mobile World Congress'12 news here: wpcentral.com/tags/mwc12

Head past the break for some pics...

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