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Having featured a number of tips, tutorials and accessories over the last year, I wanted to round up perhaps the biggest ten, in terms of getting more from a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone. Newcomers, start here (including anyone coming over from Windows Phone 8.1 via the official upgrade program), and maybe even old hands will find some of the links and comments of interest, at least.
At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China a few hours ago, Microsoft and its partners unveiled their plans for PCs and mobile devices running Windows 10. Most relevant to AAWP is that x86 emulation is indeed coming to Windows 10 on ARM chipsets (as was rumoured) - think running legacy x86 applications directly on a Windows 10 mobile device. Notice the lowercase 'm' since we're not exactly talking traditional phone form factors here.
In AAWP Insight #200, hosted by Steve and Rafe, we celebrate our 200th podcast by tackling (the much teased) Steve Litchfield 'origins' story (following Rafe's own Origins tale on the 361 Degrees podcast). We cover the early years (adventures in aerospace), the rise of Psion and the 3-Lib shareware library, Steve's app development efforts (from golf to GIS), the dawn of connected PDAs, and the beginning of the Symbian era.
Loathe as we are to putting up news stories for every minor update to every application, it does prove useful every now and then to summarise what's new, especially in a core Windows 10 Mobile application, if only to wet your appetite to give it another try and explore some new functions and features. Such is the case with Films & TV, whose recent changes are listed below. The most recent changes below were added only yesterday, at least for anyone on the Windows Insider Fast ring. If you're on the 'Slow' ring or even on the Anniversary Update still, then this new version may take a few weeks to arrive and not all the stuff below will apply!
The budget end of the smartphone market is almost as interesting as the flagship end in many ways, helped by the fact that phones costing £150 or less are far easier to recommend to others than £700 monsters (cough, Elite X3....) It's true that one's brand new (the Swift 2) while the other is reaching the end of its sales life (the Lumia 650, after only 9 months, thanks to Microsoft's strategy changes), but you can still buy the latter readily brand new, so it's still a very valid comparison. Most tellingly, both feel like they should cost twice what they actually do...
'Why on earth would anyone want to run programs written for DOS on a phone in 2016?' I hear you ponder. And you'd be right, the whole idea is somewhat crazy, yet there might just be a classic game or a specific utility written for DOS (so we're talking about 1980-2000) that you'd still like to have on hand. In which case run, don't walk, to this supremely well implemented DOS-on-Intel x86 emulation, complete with support for audio, games controllers, plus mouse and keyboard. It's newly updated for Windows 10 Mobile and comes highly recommended.
There have been several people online pointing out that you can't buy a Lumia 950 or 950 XL flagship from Microsoft in the UK anymore - they're now firmly 'out of stock'. Noted, and I've done some research and discovered, in an update to an article I did two months ago, that the stock position of the two flagships has become sparse across many other Microsoft device stores online. See the table below.
When it comes to business phablets, we're talking premium construction, extra OS level security and higher-than-expected prices. And both the new HP Elite X3 and even newer Blackberry DTEK60 fall into this camp, on Windows 10 Mobile and Android respectively (that's right, Blackberry no longer uses its own OS). But how do they stack up across the board?
Well, it isn't often that I feature a Blackberry smartphone in a head to head on AAWP - their abilities and cameras have never been top notch. But, ironically, since Blackberry decided to quit making its own hardware and merely tweak someone else's, some aspects of its branded hardware have improved in quality. Such as the new DTEK60, with 21MP main camera. Aimed at businesses, the logical comparison here might be to the HP Elite X3, but that's stuck in HP's self-imposed 10MP land so I've plumped for the Lumia 950 XL instead. Just how good is the high-res shooter on the DTEK60?
I'm being a little disingenuous in the title, I have to admit. It's true that the titles below represent my 'Top 5' VR titles, but they're also just about the only VR titles on the platform (I counted to 9 and then realised I couldn't make a 'top 10'! Contrast this to ten times that number on Android, proving that VR on Windows 10 Mobile is still in its infancy. VR is still fun to play with though - all you need is a phone with enough screen resolution (1080p is enough here) and a VR viewer (readily available for under £10 anywhere).