You may remember that I produced a FAQ for Windows 10 Maps back in July, based on an early version of the software? Most of that still holds, but there was a big question mark hanging over the real time traffic elements of the application/service. So I decided to head out into the South of England on a busy Saturday afternoon and see how Windows 10 Maps coped, here on a Lumia 930 running the latest build of everything.
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Amidst a barrage of articles looking at the imminent Windows 10 Mobile and its stability (or otherwise), I've also been careful to emphasise numerous times how much more grown up the OS is, in terms of multitasking, email, maps, and so on. It's a clear step up from Windows Phone 8.1 in most cases. And it's time to highlight another way in which the new OS brings in newer, arguably more mature functionality - the humble Weather utility that gets accessed from, for example, Cortana.
In case you've been living under a rock, Windows 10 Mobile is being tested across the board and official updates aren't that far away. Yet the Lumia 1020, the camera-champion and with unique hardware, has already been singled out by both Microsoft and me, the former admitting that the new OS doesn't fully support the device yet, and the latter saying that 1020 owners should avoid the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders Preview for the time being. More on that below, but I also wanted to offer some thoughts on what you can do to help your 1020 feel 'fresh' in a time of great OS upheaval elsewhere.
The Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon all feature the same 'PureView'/'oversampling' camera, of course, with a 20MP sensor oversampled to produce 5MP photos with higher purity, lower noise and so on. At least that was what happened under Lumia Camera under Windows Phone 8.1. Now that the OS and camera application have changed dramatically, is PureView still a 'thing' on the current flagship devices (and presumably on the upcoming 950/950 XL, with similar camera specs)?
AAWP reader and Lumia 1520 owner Raja Mass is also a PhD scholar doing research in the field of neuroscience. Compared to the other mobile OS, the application ecosystem here for Windows Phone (and Windows 10 Mobile) is relatively small and naïve, especially in science and medical related field. The main aim here is to highlight some of the applications which are very useful in research labs or clinics or general medical use.
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.
Having compiled a big FAQ for Windows 10 Maps (for mobile, I realise that the same application also serves the desktop and tablet) recently, with mainly positive remarks, I wanted to balance this with my observations based on a day of driving around in the South of England on Saturday with the latest build of the application. In short, plenty of promise, but also a long way to go (pun intended) before Maps is really ready for day to day navigation in end user hands.
Something of a storm breaks out on Twitter (etc.) every few weeks when someone notices that there's a new crop of 'clone'/'copy'/rip-off' applications in the Store, all trying to deceive casual users. We let the usual suspects know and, in time, at glacial pace, most of these get knocked on the head. But by then a new crop has appeared - a couple of blatant examples are shown below. Microsoft's Store staff, rather than simply publishing everything and waiting for people to complain about some infraction, need to actually look at what they're putting in the Store in the first place. If I can spot a ripped off app (usually a game) in seconds, then why can't Microsoft's staff, who are paid to do this for a living?
Each of the major smartphone platforms has its own voice assistant, but which is better for real world use? They're all getting smarter each year, of course, as their back-ends get upgraded, but as we move towards Autumn 2015 and new versions of the various platforms, I wanted to conduct an updated 'blind' test and get a data point or two. Or twenty. Reversing the result of a smaller sample of queries back in May, we now have an almost dead heat between Cortana and Google Now, with Siri not far behind. Things are hotting up in the voice assistant world!
Yet another example of Windows 10 Mobile being rather more 'grown up' than Windows Phone 8.1, did you know that 'Calculator' on Windows 10 Mobile (most of you have probably joined the Insiders Programme by now, let's face it) is something of a powerhouse, not only providing three different calculators but also a veritable host of unit conversion functions. Heck, that's another few third party applications that you won't need to look out now...