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The debates have raged over the years, of course. Phone cameras acquired flash units, first LED and then, on some Nokias, Xenon, though the bulk, expense and power requirements of this technology meant that, despite the possible advantages, it never really took off in the phone world. However, 2015 marks the point in the sand where technology is eliminating the need for a flash in a camera phone at all. Soon, the only thing you'll use it for is as a torch to find your way to the car from the pub!
In my editorial introducing Continuum three months ago, I took a few guesses as to what this technology might bring to Windows 10 Mobile and how it would work, but I still wanted to 'notch down the hype' a bit, describing Continuum as a 'niche' product. Below, I open up a bit more and express a few doubts - will Continuum provide enough reason on its own to 'save' Windows 10 Mobile?
File this under data points from the wider smartphone world. We already saw how the likes of the LG G4 managed to best the Lumia 930 (unsurprisingly, given the age of the latter), but with the chance to test the brand spanking new Motorola Moto X Style, with almost identical imaging specs to the Lumia 930, I seized on the chance for another in our series of interactive photo comparisons. How will the Moto X Style, with 2015 sensor but no OIS, match up to the results from the much older Nokia? And where will the bar lie for the upcoming Lumia 950 and 950 XL, also with the same 'nominal' specification?
In AAWP Insight #154, hosted by Steve and Rafe, we start by talking about Steve's recent comparison of voice assistants for mobile platforms and the role voice may play in the future. There's the usual commentary and thoughts on the latest Windows 10 Mobile build (10536), plus related app updates (Maps, Office, Photos, and more). There's also time for a rant (on finding battery spares) and a quick look ahead to next week's announcement of new Lumia phones from Microsoft.
I have to confess that I've had a particular article 'in progress' for a year or so now and have got nowhere with it. And the topic is one which was raised in my look at the imminent Lumia 950 and 950 XL yesterday - they're down as having replaceable batteries, but does this make ANY difference in the current imperfect world? You can guess where this is going - my abortive article was on sourcing spare batteries for the likes of the Lumia 830, 640 and 640 XL...
Back in July, I attempted this comparison, armed only with a few scraps of information about the upcoming new Lumias. Since then, almost every detail has leaked out, either on purpose or accidentally, depending on who you talk to. Meaning that it's well worth me having another crack at this topic, looking at what the new devices will bring to the table, over and above the existing Lumia 930 (the '2014 flagship', if you will) - which itself will get Windows 10 Mobile within a couple of months (if not before, for those on the Insiders Programme!)
You may remember that I produced a FAQ for Windows 10 Maps back in July, based on an early version of the software? Most of that still holds, but there was a big question mark hanging over the real time traffic elements of the application/service. So I decided to head out into the South of England on a busy Saturday afternoon and see how Windows 10 Maps coped, here on a Lumia 930 running the latest build of everything.
I have one beef with quality smartphone headsets like the Rock Jaw ALFA - they've ruined a lot of my music collection. I'll go into more detail below, but once you've heard all the defects in your compressed files, the defects that are masked by deficiencies in cheaper headsets, including those shipped with many Windows Phones, it's hard to 'un-hear' them. Which means more work, re-encoding the culprits! This is the new, redesigned ALFA from the UK company and it's top notch in every regard.
Fancy weaving from side to side and running over zombies? This is the zombie/driving hybrid game that everyone's been talking about. And it's on Windows Phone too. But is Route Z any good, how does the freemium pitch work, and what about the implementation on Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile? Here's my full review and verdict.
Amidst a barrage of articles looking at the imminent Windows 10 Mobile and its stability (or otherwise), I've also been careful to emphasise numerous times how much more grown up the OS is, in terms of multitasking, email, maps, and so on. It's a clear step up from Windows Phone 8.1 in most cases. And it's time to highlight another way in which the new OS brings in newer, arguably more mature functionality - the humble Weather utility that gets accessed from, for example, Cortana.