Recent Features - Windows Phone 8

Status report for August 2020: services and apps on Windows 10 Mobile

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Here's the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Details and links have all been updated throughout. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so the last four months of comments are all still here.

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Life after Lumias: a sweep across the smartphone world

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Almost six months ago I came up with four suggested replacements for a Windows phone, at various price points and with suitable caveats and observations. All of which are still decent shouts in late July 2020, but I wanted to go further and deliver an overview of the entire smartphone world this time round, at least as seen from a Western (UK) perspective. What do I think of the ever increasing brands and models?There has never been so much choice, one might argue, but I'd also point out that there's a huge amount of commonality as well, and that anyone buying in mid-2020 needs a decent degree of discernment.

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Live tiles, widgets. Could iOS 14 finally master the idea?

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The arrival of genuine homescreen 'widgets' in iOS (see the screenshots below) has prompted more thought about the concept and about which mobile OS has mastered them, if any. Symbian and Android both had home screen widgets in 2009, while Windows Phone reimagined the idea completely for its 'live tiles' in 2010. And, a decade later, the iPhone joins the widgets party. But have any of these mobile OS really delivered? I say no. Or at least, not yet, with iOS 14's new implementation looking promising for the future.

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Top 10 tips for taking better photos on your phone

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I get asked every so often to condense my years of (ahem) photographic wisdom into digestable form - and set against the background of phone camera hardware and software which is constantly improving. It has been six years since I did something along these lines on AAS or AAWP, so let's put that right now. Your typical 2020 smartphone camera system will take pretty good photos in full 'auto' on its own, but what can you do to take the next step?

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A six way imaging head to head: Realme X3 SuperZoom vs Nokia 808/1020, etc.

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The arrival of the Realme X3 SuperZoom, another smartphone with much hyped zoom camera system had me scurrying for some zoom favourites of yesteryear for AAS and AAWP readers, plus I also threw in the current champions, the iPhone 11 Pro and Huawei P40 Pro, for good measure. Six contenders then and I'll throw various zoom and low light use cases at them. Note that it's not all about extreme zoom, as I contended in an editorial last week, sometimes it's about zoom versatility.

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How to: see Windows 10 Mobile's hidden Task Manager and Resource Monitor

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OK, this is extremely geeky, but if you're a Windows 10 enthusiast then the chances are that you know how to bring up Task Manager on a Desktop PC. But what about on Mobile? As it turns out, there's a hidden, browser-accessible task management interface in Windows 10 Mobile. You just have to know how to get to it! So if you're on the hunt for a rogue, battery-draining process on your phone then try this little known troubleshooting technique...

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(Lumia 1020-esque) 'Image reframing' in 2020... on the iPhone

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One of the jewels in the Lumia 1020's imaging workflow was something called 'reframing'. By keeping a high resolution (34/38MP) photo behind the scenes, the selected 5MP output could be 'reframed' after the fact - cropping differently, rotating, and so on. And although this system isn't quite matched these days, I wanted to give a glimpse into what Apple's done with the iPhone 11 Pro, offering reframing of sorts with its 'crop/discard' (after the fact) function and with its unique expandable frame system. Pictures being worth a thousand words here, see the examples and explanations below.

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Juha Alakarhu on the Nokia 808, Lumia 1020, and more...

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A blast from the past, but I had the pleasure of interviewing Juha Alakarhu on my most recent Phones Show Chat podcast, published yesterday and embedded below. Juha is, of course, the man who co-crafted the cameras in the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020 (and various Nseries and the Lumia 950 before and after) - and is respected as something of an imaging guru in the industry. Do have a listen, he reveals some of the background to the two champion 41MP camera phones, including just how hard the 1020 was, in particular, having to combine the 808's power with the expected OIS after the Lumia 920's release.

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Camera head to head: Lumia 1020 vs OPPO Find X2 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro

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After my head to head imaging comparison between the Lumia 950 XL and Find X2 Pro, in which we learned that OPPO's image processing from its main 48MP pixel-binned camera leaves a lot to be desired, it seemed appropriate to show how well oversampling from a 40+MP sensor should be done, by pitching the Find X2 Pro against the classic Lumia 1020. But another current benchmark device needs to be in the mix too, to push both of these somewhat unbalanced contenders, so I'm putting in my iPhone 11 Pro. In other words a tough three-way fight and as I write this intro I have absolutely no idea which of the three might emerge the winner.

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May 2020 status: Services and apps on Windows 10 Mobile, plus AAWP itself

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One month on from the previous update, here's the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile for May 2020 - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Details and links have all been updated throughout. Note that this is a new URL and so a chance for new comments, this time round.

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