If you're watching intently then you may have noticed that March's 'Patch Tuesday' updates haven't (so far) included Mobile. Sod's law says that Microsoft will issue them right after this article goes live, but in the meantime I can't help but feel frustrated about the lack of TLC given to Windows 10 Mobile and the immense resources being ploughed by Microsoft into gimmicks elsewhere.
It's perhaps the imaging shootout that many have anticipated, at least here on AAWP - the classic Lumia 950/XL camera against the very latest pretender, the Galaxy S9, with a triple 'layer' sensor (see below), dual aperture and hyper-multiple exposure system driven by a Snapdragon 845 chipset or equivalent. Surely, surely the 2015 Lumia can't defeat a flagship that's two and half years newer? Let's find out.
It's a fair cop - I'm comparing a 2015 phone with one from 2018, so it's not a fair fight. Yet in the interests of showing Windows 10 Mobile users/fans one of the more likely Android phones that they might like to move to in the next 12 months, here's a blow by blow comparison of the ageing but classic Lumia 950 XL against the brand new Galaxy S9. And yes, an imaging comparison is next...!
The Lumia 930 (and 1520, 830 and 735 too, though the latter two do less well, with their limited RAM) works really well with Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update (CU)* and even Fall Creators Update (FCU), yet they're sufficiently old that Microsoft decided to end updates for them on Anniversary Update (AU). Up until 8th February 2018, there was the easy option of putting these phones on the Insiders programme and getting onto more recent OS branches, but that avenue has now closed. However, AAWP to the rescue with a somewhat geeky but hopefully clear tutorial on giving your older Windows Phone an extra year of life, features and updates.
Over the last 18 months I've been adding to my curated directory of applications for Windows phones, including both 8.1 and Windows 10 versions. But, as we head into 2018 and with the latter really all that most currently active Windows phone users care about, I've whittled it all down to UWP applications, those with native Windows 10 UI and which support different orientations, Continuum and even use on laptop or tablet. Without ever having to worry about the UI dropping back to 2013's 8.1 UI elements and controls.
If the table below looks familiar then that's because it's adapted from a feature I wrote just after the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro's release, in August 2017, i.e. seven months ago. With some new information, some new context and some new links, here's a fresh 2018 look at where these two consumer Windows 10 Mobile handsets sit with respect to each other. Tough choices this way lie....
You would have thought that Microsoft could have spared some manpower to add the IDOL 4 Pro (out for over six months now) to its provisioning lists for Creators Update (CU) and Fall Creators Update (FCU), as they did for the IDOL 4S in the States. But no, the IDOL 4 Pro is shipped with, and stuck on, 2016's Anniversary Update. Which is terribly disappointing*. Of course, this is AAWP, and I couldn't resist putting together a tutorial for 2018, for new IDOL 4 Pro users, to get them up and running with CU and then FCU. It's geeky, but not impossibly hard, and the benefits are huge, topping out at an extra year's worth of patches and security fixes.
Windows 10 Mobile's imperfections are well known, at least around these parts, since we're intensive users. (Ask the wider world and they probably think the OS is dead.) And, while waiting for Microsoft and an all-singing folding phablet, there's a very real temptation to switch over to Android as your phone OS of choice. But is the grass any greener on that side of the fence? In this feature, I present, hopefully honestly, the various pros and cons.
Microsoft's continued changes to the Edge browser (hopefully continuing to make it more secure and more powerful) under Windows 10 Mobile have had a side effect - it now makes a mess of reading PDF (Acrobat) files, with blank pages or error messages. Microsoft has promised a fix in the next update, but in the meantime, here's how to carry on reading your downloaded PDF documents.
A week or two ago I did a feature on running modern (2018) PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) under Edge on Windows 10 Mobile. And, while it's clear that Edge/W10M will never get to the same functionality level as desktop browsers, most PWAs run just fine right now. In this case, I wanted to highlight Google Maps Go, a PWA designed for running on low end Android phones. Turns out it runs perfectly under Windows 10 Mobile too!