Recent Features - How To

Continuum-esque Windows hot-desking, 2020 style

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I thought this might be of interest, from someone who was all in on Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum (or Android and Samsung DeX) as the way forward four years ago. Even though Windows 10 Mobile had the rug pulled out from under its feet by Microsoft and then died the death of (lack of) a thousand apps, the dream of hot-desking lives on in other guises. Witness my data point below - it's not a perfect solution but it's technically elegant.

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Pimping the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro (2020 edition)

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What happens to a media-specialising smartphone when its OS runs out of steam? I explore this in 'pimping' the 2017 IDOL 4 Pro, one of my favourite devices, into limited but effective action in late 2020. A super screen, premium build, superb wired audio, and loud stereo speakers all impress. Who cares about the rest of the world? (I've left the original early 2019 comments in place, for interest!)

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

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Here, for October 2020, is 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 seven months of comments are all still here.

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Old, but not obsolete: Windows 10 Mobile Threshold's new life

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In the fourth 'gentle hacker' guest post from Nico, from Italy, he switches away from flagships and looks at older and lower end Lumias which struggle with the latest Windows 10 Mobile builds - WP8.1 is no longer practical, but what about a halfway house? What about sticking with 'Threshold', the very first W10M build from the end of 2015? It turns out that there's a sweet spot here where more apps and services work for these less capable devices. But as usual, put on your geek hat for best results!

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An unofficial Windows 10 Mobile branch guide

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Drawing on guest contributor Nico's experience, here's our guide to where each Windows Phone (8.1) and Windows 10 Mobile smartphone should end up. No, not Microsoft's official 'end of support' branch for each, but where an enterprising geek like yourself might take them with the aid of the usual interop tools and phone ID spoofing. 

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How to: 'Unlock' Lumias 550, 650, 950 and 950 XL

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Guest author Nico brings us a guide to 'unlocking' any of the Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile Lumias, with the example aim of replacing the boot and closedown graphics, but I'm sure there are more practical things possible. Yes, we've reached that 'hacking' stage of an OS, where the manufacturer isn't interested anymore, so it's down to users to play around under the hood, it seems. 

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Windows 10 (Mobile) Maps meets Flight Simulator 2020

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Windows 10's maps have always been pretty good, part sourced from HERE and partly from other places and their own research. You've been using them in the Maps UWP application in your Lumia or similar for years. Which is why I was fascinated by the video embedded below, with Microsoft's new (and much-acclaimed) Flight Simulator 2020 using Bing Maps and aerial imagery directly, applying elevation data and detailed 3D models to present a super-realistic world to fly in.

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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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