The Insiders programme came with a number of warnings, along the lines of 'by opting in, you agree that things may go horribly wrong and you may need to wipe your device at some point in the future'. Now, most of us ignored this glibly, upgrading away, switching Insiders rings without a care in the world, and usually without incident. But glitches do happen, not just in The Matrix, but also in the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders programme. And here's the full tale of how my 950 XL was restored to 100% functionality...
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No, Windows 10 Mobile isn't dead. But 2017 has been a tough year for a Nokia & Windows on phones enthusiast, I recap it below, though there are some glimmers of light in the darkness. And what of 2018? I place a few predictions, too.
The problem with the tech world is, from an operating system provider's point of view, that the goalposts keep moving. These perambulating pieces of wood killed Symbian, killed Blackberry, have almost killed Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, and, one day, may even kill iOS as we know it today. With hindsight, it's all too clear, but at the time OS coders were making sensible choices.
It's not often a smartphone flagship comes along that claims to match the Lumia 950's camera capabilities, but the brand new Android-powered Honor 9 has just such a unit, albeit needing two physical cameras to match the 950's one. The benefit is that they can be smaller and thinner, but can all the dual camera trickery match the 950's ZEISS optics, OIS, and so on?
It's easy to look back from a world in which Windows-based phone hardware sales have dropped to millions rather than billions, and to point the finger at what went wrong. In fact, that's just what I'm doing here. Five of the biggest mistakes from my own perspective, at least, from devices to employees to misplaced spending.
Just a few back-of-envelope calculations that I thought you might like to follow along with. With the withdrawal of Microsoft from selling first party smartphones (for the time being), I wondered whether it was time to take stock of some numbers. In particular, the figure I wanted to get to was how many people out there, across the world, are actively using Windows 10 Mobile, i.e. the new OS that Microsoft is updating, that devs are writing for, and that we're covering. Some guesswork is needed, but bear with me.
At the end of another transitional year for Windows Phone, in which Windows 10 Mobile became ubiquitous away from the bottom end phones. In which Microsoft announced one possible future for Windows 10 as a whole, running on the same ARM processors as phones, in which all PCs may be folded into the same architecture (eventually) yet the very term 'Mobile' may end up being deprecated. Confusing! And all the while Microsoft massively scaling back its first party phone hardware and support ambitions. It all adds up to a confusing year for the platform, yet - with Lumias no longer being made - also a good point in time to look back and pick my favourite phones running Windows in the modern era*.
In a blog post, Microsoft has announced that the old Windows Phone 8.1 'Kids Corner' feature is to be retired for the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update (a.k.a. Redstone), citing low usage. Hardly surprising, since Apps Corner, also built in, is more flexible and can do the same job for most people. Here's how to get going with it.
If my experiences with the Lumia 1020 are representative and if my previous editorial has convinced you, as the owner of a 2012/2013 Lumia, that Windows 10 Mobile is not the way to go for your particular device, then the next question becomes 'should Microsoft decide to push the upgrade, how can I stop it?' Don't worry, it's trivial to step in and keep your device speedy.
A month or so ago I published a feature highlighting the very best third party apps running on Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile. Running to many hundred recommendations, this feature is hopefully a useful and bookmarkable resource, especially when used directly on the phone. But... what about all the applications that AREN'T available on the platform?