Recent Features - Software

The very best Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile applications

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With another update for mid January 2017 (20 new entries), here's our directory of the very best of the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile world. If you or someone you know is just starting out on the platform and want to avoid the chaff, the rubbish in the Store, then look no further for suggestions.

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Windows 10: the differences between Mobile and Desktop

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It's all very well Windows (phone) fans talking about Windows 10 Mobile being 'just part of the huge Windows 10 ecosystem' - and Windows (phone, err...) bashers talking about Windows being dead on mobile. Neither party is really telling the whole story, as you can imagine. In the interests of chipping in with helpful facts though, as AAWP is wont to do, here's the truth, shown below in chart form, a picture hopefully being worth a thousand words...

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Night Selfie UWPs: fight!

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Yes, the standard Windows 10 Camera lets you take selfies with ease, but what about at night? Given that you're shooting the photo on a device with a (potentially) bright AMOLED or LED display, why not use this to illuminate yourself while the shot is taken? Here I compare two 'night selfie' UWP applications for Windows 10 Mobile.

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(Skype) Bots Rising - and starting to get useful?

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Yesterday Microsoft's Skype team made a few announcements of new 'bots' available to anyone with Skype (Preview), i.e. the UWP app on Windows - and I was somewhat surprised by how many 'bots' were now online, effectively Microsoft partners tying into the Skype conversational and multimedia interface. Initially sceptical, I look at a few of these below and I do something of a u-turn: maybe these bots could be useful after all, 'an expert in your pocket', as it were...?

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The Top 5 Virtual Reality (VR) apps on Windows 10 Mobile

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I'm being a little disingenuous in the title, I have to admit. It's true that the titles below represent my 'Top 5' VR titles, but they're also just about the only VR titles on the platform (I counted to 9 and then realised I couldn't make a 'top 10'! Contrast this to ten times that number on Android, proving that VR on Windows 10 Mobile is still in its infancy. VR is still fun to play with though - all you need is a phone with enough screen resolution (1080p is enough here) and a VR viewer (readily available for under £10 anywhere).

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HP Elite X3: where are the Extras?

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HP has done a pretty good (if slightly delayed) job of getting the Elite X3 sorted out in terms of updates, both of the OS kind (think Anniversary Update) and the firmware kind (notably much improving the camera). However, there are still a few bits that don't quite work right, plus I'd like to draw HP's attention to a few software modules in Windows 10 Mobile that the Lumias have and which the Elite X3... doesn't. Surely, if HP asked nicely, Microsoft would share the rest of their source code?

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How to: Avoid being locked out of a 'Pending' podcatcher

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This is something I've referred to a number of times in recent months as a problem, but it seems that we've iterated our way to the solution, so I wanted to write it up explicitly. The symptom is that, under Windows 10 Mobile, an application - usually a podcatcher - is suddenly 'not there' anymore. Its live tile is greyed out, any playing media is not available and the application shows as 'Pending' in the applications list. For hours at a time, sometimes. What's going on?

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Using Windows Phone 8.1 as we head into 2017

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We live in interesting times. There was a one year period (that ended a few months ago) where anyone with an older Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone (let's focus here on the more capable models, so say a Lumia 920, 925 or 1020) could opt to be part of the Insiders programme and 'upgrade' to Windows 10 Mobile. Many of us did that, some even went on to 'hack' Redstone and then Redstone 2 onto such devices - and many of us promptly went back to 8.1 because of the greater maturity and stability. Begging the question - can one really use Windows Phone 8.1 as we approach 2017? What are the drawbacks of living with the older OS?

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Using eBay on Windows 10 Mobile

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With eBay withdrawing its old Windows Phone 8.1 application from the Windows Store and (so far, at least) not providing a modern UWP app alternative, you may have guessed that there's an element of DIY involved in using eBay in the meantime, i.e. using eBay via Microsoft Edge. Though note that an awful lot of eBay's functionality is HTML based, so you do get a reasonable experience.

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