Now here's a feature that requires a delicate preface if ever there was one. The whole point of AAWP was to write about Windows on phones, and I'm still fully believing in the idea of one OS on all form factors. Yet what if we change 'Windows' to 'Microsoft'? Given the company's lack of comittment in building their own phone hardware, Windows 10 Mobile is withering on the vine and so alternatives for people invested in the Microsoft ecosystem would seem a good bet for research. Now, guess what I've been doing for the last week?(!)
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'Microsoft abandons the Lumia 640 range!' was one headline from the last couple of days. 'Windows 10 Mobile finally dead!' was another. They make good headlines for attracting clicks and traffic, but both headlines are highly misleading. I know we've been over this ground a few times in the last month, but just for the record, as a bit of a Friday rant, do grant me some license to repeat myself here...
As I proved last week, rumours of Windows 10 Mobile's death have been mightily exaggerated. As an OS and with updates provided, for many people we're looking at patches, updates and fixes to both OS and UWP applications for another two years (or 18 months for 'classic' phones) now. Having said all that, it's fair to say that 'retirement' is a good analogy and there are some serious caveats that we should all be aware of going forwards.
I've had so many emails in asking me to comment on Joe Belfiore's stream of tweets over the weekend (and the reaction to it on tech sites) that I felt I had to, at least, update my ever-extending and hopefully still clear Windows 10 chart, showing what's happening to the OS. In summary, there's nothing in Joe's tweets that's new. Nothing to see, back to your homes, etc.(!)
I do, from time to time on AAWP, update older articles. This is what's happening here, because the smartphone world changes fast and context is everything - what I was proclaiming back in February 2017 to be 10 USPs (Unique Selling Points) are still as valid as ever, but the 'Selling' part of the acronym is proving more and more galling.
Possibly the premium camera-toting smartphone in the world right now, the Android-powered Galaxy Note 8 has twin OIS-equipped lenses, one of which is a genuine 2x telephoto. Sounds amazing, but can it finally be the phone to topple the two year old Windows 10 Mobile-powered Lumia 950 XL as king of phone imaging? Let's find out!
We hear a lot about Windows Phone and then Windows 10 Mobile having 'an app gap', but this glib phrase, often tied into the apparent failure of the OS commercially, doesn't really tell the whole story. With examples below, I explore when it does and - interestingly - when it doesn't apply...
Guest writer Matthew Weflen is back, this time with a phone camera shootout between the mighty Lumia 950 and the brand new Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the top of the line in Sony's Android line-up - has Sony finally managed to fix its imaging woes? (Certainly Matthew hopes so, since he's considering jumping ship to Android with it.) Anyway, let's find out.
Although much talked about (mainly) on other sites, the 'app gap' isn't the biggest issue that Windows on phones faces*. Neither is 'lack of a future'**. Rather the biggest issue - somewhat obviously, but it needs restating - is that by pulling out of first party hardware altogether when it did, Microsoft opened up (i.e. self-inflicted) a gaping (and possibly) fatal wound in its mobile ambitions.
Despite losing to the Lumia 950 XL in the stills shootout, the new A11-powered iPhone 8 Plus gets its revenge when capturing video, where the sheer processing power it brings to bear pays more dividends. See the split-screen proof below. Who says the Lumia always wins on AAWP?(!)