Upon the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro's official announcement, tech blogs were quick to ridicule the product's existence and price point and, while I can see where they're coming from, I think they're absolutely wrong. At least for the Windows phone enthusiast (they do exist, our own AAWP community is evidence of this) - here's my thinking. And the reasons why I just put down £420 of my own money...
Recent Features - Previews
We've heard a lot about 'Project Neon' and the future look and feel of Windows 10, but what it is, what it requires, and where it will appear, all seem to be subject to quite a bit of confusion. So here I'm trying to draw all the strands together - here's how 'Neon', or 'Fluent Design System' as it's now officially known, manifests itself on phones, if it's needed at all.
As I've said already, the device isn't ready for the prime time yet - it's desperately in need of optimisation, of new firmware, of the Anniversary Update, due in two weeks time. Now, we borrowed a unit from Clove (nice people, go check them out) and so are cheating slightly - the Elite X3 is meant for businesses over the next 6-12 months, as part of a larger deployment solution, by which time it'll hopefully be working properly. Still, there's enough in this early peek to be able to draw conclusions as to the X3's strengths (literally) and weaknesses.
Rafe and I were fortunate to spend some time recently with the HP Elite X3, its desk dock and lapdock. The phone itself was near final fit and finish and seemed almost ready for retail, ditto the desk dock, while the HP Lap Dock was a genuine prototype, but then this isn't scheduled to ship until (at least) a month after the Elite X3 itself. Read on for our first impressions of this 'evolution' in computing from HP.
With the movement of its feature phone business (acquired from Nokia as part of the deal) to a joint Finnish/Chinese partnership (HMD/Foxconn), Microsoft also made it clear that there won’t be any new Lumias for the time being, but that doesn’t mean no new Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. In fact, there are quite a few companies now involved in the ecosystem, so I thought I’d enumerate and introduce them. Some you’ll have heard of, some you won’t.
I was listening to a few tech podcasts from the USA (notably TWiT) and it seemed that Microsoft's message about what Continuum is (and isn't) hasn't really sunk home, unfortunately. Every journalist and blogger watched Bryan Roper's demonstrations at Microsoft's event a couple of weeks ago, was suitably wowed and then - ahem - I hear some of them saying that (I quote) "Continuum will never take off until it works with Android or iOS". This level of misunderstanding is staggering. I'm tempted to say I don't know where to start but... you know me, I'll have a go anyway!
In my editorial introducing Continuum three months ago, I took a few guesses as to what this technology might bring to Windows 10 Mobile and how it would work, but I still wanted to 'notch down the hype' a bit, describing Continuum as a 'niche' product. Below, I open up a bit more and express a few doubts - will Continuum provide enough reason on its own to 'save' Windows 10 Mobile?
With updates to Windows 10 Mobile's Photos and Lumia Creative Studio in the last week, with an update to Camera hotly expected for this week, and with Photos Add-ins appearing yesterday, it seems as if Microsoft's imaging strategy is coming together. But is it better than what came before it, back in the 'good old days' of Windows Phone 8.1? It's certainly much, much simpler - and I wanted to show this pictorially, so see the flow chart below. The mess and confusion from 8.1 was partly because it used some Microsoft apps and code, and some Nokia - with Windows 10 Mobile and Nokia no more (as is), everything's now under one roof, and it shows.
These snapshots of a mobile OS in progress seem to be popular and, using it day to day, I'm in a good position to comment on how Windows 10 Mobile is coming on. My last report was three weeks ago here and I'm happy to say that most of the issues I reported on then have been addressed in build 10512, with some screenshot proof below, along with shots of (ahem) a few new issues. That I can use W10M day to day now shows that the OS is definitely 'getting there' though. Your comments welcome!
After a few questions on social media, I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about Microsoft's Continuum feature for phones, announced at BUILD a few months ago. The idea was that 'new premium phones' plug into HDMI-capable screens, hook up to Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, to run their applications at full desktop resolution. And, most importantly, none of the existing Windows Phone hardware will be compatible with Continuum, but there are good technical reasons for this.