Recent Features - How To

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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Showcasing the camera champion Huawei P40 Pro set up with the latest Microsoft Launcher

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Never mind Huawei's infrastructure woes, the company's handsets will carry on being made and supported, though not with Google Mobile Services. Which is a huge disadvantage for most people in the Android world, but I still maintain that the app and services situation is 99% fine for someone coming from a Lumia and dependent on Microsoft services and apps. I've previously showcased the P40 Pro with everything installed and accessible from the default Huawei launcher, but I've now discovered that it's trivial to get the official Microsoft Launcher for Android installed and working. Giving even more of a Microsoft flavour to this imaging-centric Chinese phone for Western markets.

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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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Installing Strix Music on your Windows 10 Mobile phone

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Spotify is the most successful music streaming service in the world - but that doesn't mean that its attitude and its lawyers don't suck. They've gone after third party Spotify clients for years and Strix Music (née Spotimo) UWP is just the latest victim. Meaning that Strix Music for Windows 10 Mobile can't be published in the Microsoft Store, sadly. But don't give up - the application is available for side-loading onto your Lumia (or similar) and, with a few beta caveats, works just fine. Here's how to install Strix Music and set it up.

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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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Three years on: What's in Steve's phone-centric toolkit? (2020)

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Three years ago, I let the world know what was in my mobile IT kit, the accessories I group together in the house and take with me on any serious journey to family etc. What inevitably happens in all locations is that, as the 'tech guy', I'm the one people turn to connect A to B, to adapt C to D, to provide power in the middle of nowhere, you get the idea. I'm sure the same is true for you! In compiling this, hopefully of interest and with helpful hyperlinks, I was surprised by just how much had changed, with more capable items replacing older tech, etc.

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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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How to: Watch Disney+ on Windows 10 Mobile

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We're used to 2020 services not being available to 'ye olde' Windows 10 Mobile, but in fact the new Disney+ streaming system works perfectly on the platform (even though it's not advertised as such). Now, there's a slight caveat in that it runs inside the Edge browser, i.e. it's not an 'app', so you get a browser UI while choosing something to watch, plus Disney+ isn't expecting a phone (even a Lumia 950) with such a relatively slow processor to handle its streams, so the experience isn't exactly snappy. But it does work and you'll be watching Disney+ movies in under 30 seconds from logging in. Who knew? (Certainly not Disney!)

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The curated UWP app directory for Windows 10 Mobile: Summer 2020 update

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Two months on from the previous update, and now moving to a 'quarterly' update schedule, here is the 'Summer 2020 directory', the AAWP directory of curated UWP applications, those with native Windows 10 UI and which support different orientations, Continuum and even use on laptop or tablet. Do please get involved in the comments to this new URL (the number on the previous story was getting too cumbersome) to let us know of anything which has stopped working.

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Head to head: Lumia 950 vs the new (cheap!) iPhone SE

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The Lumia 950 is famously compact and yet powerful (at least, in terms of imaging). But what if I said that you could switch to a brand new Apple iPhone of similar size, keep a great camera and Qi charging, add stereo speakers, and all for not much more than £400, all in? That's the beauty of the new iPhone SE, see below for a blow by blow comparison. Could an iPhone SE be the one that finally tempts you from your 950 and into a more modern ecosystem? Hey, you even (cough) get to keep the top and bottom bezels(!)

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