Gadgets: Nokia Icon could use some more apps

  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 2:00 PM

phone is excellent, until you want apps

Nokia Icon, $199 with two-year contract, www.nokia.com

If the tech business were fair, you would be considering the Nokia Icon for your next smartphone.

The phone has a lot to like: a graceful design, a brilliant display, a remarkable camera and an innovative set of microphones to make better-sounding videos. The Icon runs Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, which has a cleaner and more coherent user interface than Google’s Android, and a more flexible and more informative home screen than Apple’s iOS.

But the tech business isn’t fair.

While the Icon is nice, you should not make it your next phone if you expect to be able to do everything with your phone that you can do on Android or iOS. Like any Windows Phone, the Icon is a fundamentally hobbled device, all but locked out of the teeming ecosystem of new apps and smartphone-powered gadgets that are expanding tech’s frontiers.

If you want to use your phone to play the latest games, to experiment with new social-networking apps, to try the newest ways to pay for merchandise or to control the newest smartphone-connected devices, Windows Phone isn’t for you, at least not now. If you do choose a Windows Phone, you are most likely volunteering for a second-class digital existence.

a case allows you to be the designer

Caseable cases, www.caseable.com

With a sea of device accessories designed by other people, one company, Caseable, is turning the tables and letting you be the designer.

The company has its eye on urban consumers who like to customize their devices. To meet their desire, Caseable offers easy tools on its website to let customers create their own cases for Apple, Samsung and Kindle devices, among others. The cases incorporate durable recycled products wherever possible.

Users can upload their graphics or photos, edit them and add text. To offer ideas, Caseable has a gallery dedicated to user submissions, which include a lot of selfies and vacation photos, but also a few smart designs.

The website also includes a gallery of designs from featured artists. The series, a collaborative effort between Caseable and graphic artists around the world, includes some striking urban artwork. Artists receive about 10 percent of net sales, according to Caseable.

NEW YORK TIMES

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