After a few questions on social media, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about Microsoft's Continuum feature for phones, announced at BUILD a few months ago. The idea was that 'new premium phones' plug into HDMI-capable screens, hook up to Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, to run their applications at full desktop resolution. And, most importantly, none of the existing Windows Phone hardware will be compatible with Continuum, but there are good technical reasons for this.
One of the cornerstones of Windows Phone for years was the Nokia/HERE Maps and Drive applications inherited from Nokia's Symbian days. And with Windows 10, all of this is changing, though perhaps not to quite the same degree as you might think. You won't see the HERE brand in Windows 10, but see below for some common questions and answers about Windows Maps.
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? In this updated feature, I run through over half a dozen very viable alternatives.
Look in the Windows Phone Store for BBC iPlayer (at least, if you're in the UK, anyone else need not apply!) and you'll see a client for this incredibly popular streaming and catch-up TV service from the UK's national broadcasting operation. Look a little closer and you'll see huge numbers of negative reviews, talking about laggy performance, constant buffering and break-up. How can an application be this bad? Well, in fact it's not. But it's also demonstrably in need of attention by the BBC, should anyone from the media division be listening to AAWP. You see, it only works fine on a specific portion of the Windows Phone hardware range.
There's something of a blanket assumption that everyone currently using Windows Phone 8.1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile - after all, Microsoft has been promising that 'majority' of users will join the Window 10 ecosystem. But, after a few recent experiences of mine with budget devices, I thought it worth sounding a note of caution and reality - I'd put money on the actual conversion numbers to Windows 10 Mobile being significantly less than 50% and maybe as low as 15%...
Having decided a year or two ago that we can talk about unreleased products on AAWP, provided that there's enough evidence to support them, and with a wave of confirmations about an imminent Lumia 950 and 950 XL (note the next-gen renaming, signifying a generational jump from the current x40 devices), along with most of the specifications, it's time to look 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.
One subject that we've never covered here on AAWP is the 'quiet hours' feature that debuted with Windows Phone 8.1 - something I realised when sitting in a car park after midnight waiting for my daughter's train to arrive and not realising that she'd been trying to call me for 15 minutes but my Lumia had muted her because it was past 00:00 and so 'quiet hours' was in place (to help me sleep!) Determined to fix things, I did so - and noted in the process that, on the new Windows 10 Mobile, the 'quiet hours' settings are slightly hidden. Making a beginners tutorial all the more appropriate.
The titular question was from an extended family member on Saturday and followed an afternoon of similar enquiries and expressions. You see, it was the school summer fayre, the sun was beating down, photo opportunities were everywhere and yet tricky at the same time, and somehow I managed, thanks to the unique hardware in the Nokia Lumia 1020. We. Need. A. New. Imaging. Flagship. A real one. With Xenon. And all the trimmings.
It's an aspect of Windows Phone that has never been fully clear, and not helped by the fact that behaviour seems to change slightly with each new OS release, hopefully in a positive direction, with the goal being that you can drop and smash your smartphone (by accident!) and simply buy a replacement, sign in to your Microsoft account and have everything restored automatically without you having to lift a finger in terms of seeking out applications, settings and passwords. Although not approaching iPhone-levels of perfection, Windows Phone has been getting much better, but the question remains: how much actually is being backed up on your phone - wouldn't it be nice to have a statistic that you could look at? Turns out that there is!
Yesterday, I looked at the performance of Windows 10 Mobile (at least, at the current build) in terms of RAM, and concluded that, web browsing aside, the user experience on devices with 'only' 512MB (of RAM) was going to be absolutely fine. Perhaps more serious is the situation with respect to the chipsets used under the hood, with so much of Windows Phone 8.1 and beyond optimised for the Snapdragon x00 series - just how slow are the 'S4 Plus' series (Lumia 520 right up to the 1020) going to get with Windows 10 Mobile and how much of a problem will it be?