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Having lost count of the number of people saying how much they were looking forward to putting Windows 10 Mobile on their Lumia 1020 - and then seen equally as many people say they were dreading it, I thought a FAQ was in order. What will you, and won't you gain from the the step change in the OS, in terms of experience and - crucially - in terms of imaging, this being the 1020s core speciality.
Playing with Windows 10 Mobile as my primary smartphone platform, I'm struck by how 'grown up' it feels. Partly this is because I'm using the Lumia 1520 with its 6" 1080p screen, but partly it's because this is, at heart, a desktop-class OS. Below, I list some of the more impressive aspects of Windows 10 Mobile, as at build 10149, reported on here. Is the OS ready for the mass market yet? Absolutely not. Is it ready for use by someone who knows how to work around the odd glitch? Definitely. Plus there's a real sense of community to how the Feedback and Insiders programmes are being handled, each of us really can have our say.
It's all very well having world-leading HERE Maps data covering every street in the known universe (well, almost), but what about when you abandon your car and start hiking, cycling or even geocaching, out in the country? For this, you need extra software and data help. Viewranger, on other platforms, is very well known, but it's not available on Windows Phone - begging the question, what to use instead?
Potentially confusingly arriving as Windows v10.0.12648.133, what's rolling out to Windows Insiders today is 'Build 10149', bringing its own swathe of improvements across the board. I declared that build 10136 was close to being useable day to day and build 10149 marks that point for real. As of today, I'm going to be living with Windows 10 Mobile 24 hours a day - I'll report back, of course. See below for the main improvements over build 10136.
In AAWP Insight #144, hosted by Steve and Rafe, we open with some commentary on the departure, from Microsoft, of Stephen Elop and Jo Harlow. We proceed through a number of news items including a third party Glastonbury app, a software update to fix "Periodic reboot" issues, new Windows 10 Mobile devices from Freetel, and the latest firmware update for Microsoft Band. Our two main discussion topics are on the state of Windows 10 Mobile readiness and Steve's gig video capture comparison feature.
Being, traditionally, more of a fan of four wheel racing then two, I'd only given SBK15 (as in 'SuperBike 2015') a passing glance in the past. Turns out it's a terrific simulation and a great game that if anything, will inspire more people to watch and support the real thing. In fact, it's only by racing, wheel to wheel, right on the edge of a major accident all the time, that you start to appreciate the skill possessed by and the risks taken by the riders in the sport. SBK15 is a meaty game and can take a while to load - but trust me, it's worth the wait. And it works on all Windows Phones, regardless of RAM. Hit!
Having explored the storage needed by typical users here, one of the takeaways was that having microSD support in your Windows Phone was 'a very good thing'TM. But what exactly should you put on it and what will happen if you do things wrong? In this feature, I look at how things are, and aren't, supposed to work, plus I cover how to upgrade one card to a higher capacity - seamlessly.
In a previous feature, a week or two ago, I took a bunch of smartphones to a local gig and did some direct comparisons - very high volume, low and changeable lighting, challenging environments, all make for an ultimate cameraphone video capture test. The main Windows Phone I was testing - the Lumia 1020 - fared sub-optimally because of the default audio filtering in Lumia Camera. So I headed out again, with this feature turned firmly off... then threw in the latest iPhone 6, the Lumia 930 running Windows 10 Mobile and even Android M(!) for good measure.
Build 10136 of Windows 10 Mobile, announced here, is significant because it marks the point in the latest evolution of Windows Phone where the next-gen builds are good enough for serious testing. I hesitate to say 'good enough for day to day use' because, like all early OS builds, battery life is questionable. But it's certainly good enough to load on all your applications and data (on a sacrificial device) and to, metaphorically, kick the tyres. Which is what I've been doing for the last 48 hours. Here's my report, caveats, warts and all. [Updated 23rd June with extra screens and amendments.]
In AAWP Insight #143, hosted by Steve and Rafe, we open proceedings by discussing the arrival, after a month long hiatus, of Build 10136 Insiders Preview of Windows 10 Mobile, covering the main new features, and wondering how stable it is this time round. Other topics covered by the podcast include an update around Facebook and personal data sync, some thoughts on Microsoft's new portable battery chargers, and a debate around whether 32GB storage is enough in a phone.