Recent Features - Software

The curated UWP app directory for W10M: Autumn 2020 update

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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.

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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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Status report for September 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 five months of comments are all still here.

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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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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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Live tiles, widgets. Could iOS 14 finally master the idea?

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The arrival of genuine homescreen 'widgets' in iOS (see the screenshots below) has prompted more thought about the concept and about which mobile OS has mastered them, if any. Symbian and Android both had home screen widgets in 2009, while Windows Phone reimagined the idea completely for its 'live tiles' in 2010. And, a decade later, the iPhone joins the widgets party. But have any of these mobile OS really delivered? I say no. Or at least, not yet, with iOS 14's new implementation looking promising for the future.

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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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(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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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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