So... it's 2021 and Windows 10 Mobile has been out of support for well over a year. But plenty of AAWP readers still have Lumias, notably the 950 and 950 XL, plus the IDOL 4 Pro, Elite x3, and even older phones like the Lumia 930 and 1520, upgraded. In search of some games to while away the time until Spring and the end of lockdown, I thought I'd round up my favourites that are still available in the Store, for new installation. See if you get inspired to put on your gamer hat!
Recent Features - Software
Internet security protocols evolve over time and this can scupper older platforms and their support tools. In this case it's Microsoft's rather handy Over-the-cable Updater utility. This runs with a command line interface under Windows and - in theory - updates any Windows phone (8.1 or 10) to the latest officially supported OS/firmware version. Very useful over the years, but security (TLS) changes at Microsoft's end have broken it - and it seems there's no hope at this stage of Microsoft fixing the tool to work seamlessly with the newer Internet security. Hence this slightly geeky workaround.
Here, for February 2021, 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.
Last week I looked at how Microsoft's Your Phone system had been evolving over the last 12 months, but I did tease that I wanted to compare it to Samsung's DeX for Windows (or Mac) - both seem to offer functions that have overlap, to say the least. Having established that Your Phone's core features can be helpful but that the concept isn't exactly foolproof or mainstream, is DeX for Windows (or Mac) any better?
Microsoft's 'Your Phone' software, now effectively built into Windows (in that you're prompted to 'link your phone' when first signing into Windows on a PC), has been evolving nicely through 2019 and 2020, see the linked stories below. But it's not quite a 'slam dunk' yet, partly due to mobile platform limitations, partly because it still feels a little like a solution to a problem that few people have in the real world...
In my NexDock Touch review, I discovered that this doesn't work reliably with the Lumia 950/XL, sadly. It's something obscure and probably chipset related. And the reason I know this is that the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, also running Windows 10 Mobile but with a more modern chipset, works just fine with the lapdock. Giving me a chance to at least demonstrate what might have been - Windows 10 Continuum in action on the NexDock Touch.
A few weeks ago, as the latest benefit from its ever closer integration with Microsoft products, Samsung flipped a switch in their 'Reminder' application on their Android 10 (and upwards) smartphones, enabling full sync with Microsoft's To-Do system (Windows 10 Mobile, Desktop, Cloud, inside Outlook, etc.) And it all works, in fact it does so as well as anyone might hope for, and (for AAWP readers) this includes compatibility with 'ye olde' Windows 10 Mobile. Screenshot proof and a walk-through below!
We haven't mentioned the Lumia Windows on ARM (WOA) project for a long time, but that doesn't mean progress isn't being made. The idea, you may recall, is to hack Windows 10 on ARM (which exists for 'Desktop') onto a Lumia 950 XL (or 950), which has a modestly powerful ARM processor and should be up to basic tasks. No, this will never be useful day to day, but it's very definitely a cool and geeky project. The latest news/photo proof is of HDMI out (and thus Continuum of sorts) working, but we're using this opportunity to bring you bang up to date with the project.
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!)
Two months on from the previous update, here is the Autumn 2020 update (two additions, three apps removed, several links tweaked) to 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 let me know of anything which has stopped working.