I'm sorry, but I've been patient long enough. I've suffered through a dozen builds under various Insider 'rings', installed on at least six different phones in varying states of readiness. And there's one bug in Windows 10 Mobile which I just can't keep silent about any longer. And oddly I've not seen anyone else complain about it, at least not yet, which is why I wanted to vent here and check that I'm not totally alone. The issue is that Windows 10 Mobile's pop-up (volume button) media controls are utterly broken.
Recent Features - Software
A couple of years ago I updated a long running theme and series, given that I/we usually cover platforms for which 'apps' (i.e. dedicated, iconed, optimised third party applications) seem to be in shorter supply than for other mobile platforms. So here's the updated version for 2016, pointing out that using the Web can be just as effective for many services as having an 'app' (many of which are merely wrappers around mobile web sites anyway). True, there are some 'misses' here, feel free to suggest your own, but it's not all bad news.
You may remember that a recent update to the Microsoft Band 2 added a new hiking tile? Well, there was a corresponding update to the Microsoft Health application and I've been trying the whole system out when off for a walk in my local area and, though I'm yet to test it on an all-day hike (I'll leave that to Rafe and the wilds of Wales!), I've been quite impressed. Here's a write-up of what to expect with the Band 2 in 'hiking' mode.
Back in the mists of time (2014) I created a massive round-up of podcatchers, i.e. podcast-grabbing applications for Windows Phone. I'm not even going to link to this here because it's now so out of date, but now that Windows 10 Mobile is well and truly out for most people, I thought a look at each of the 2016 contenders was in order. Well, that's the plan, over the next few weeks. Alas, I hit a few roadblocks, which is why I'm starting this series with a call for data points from you, the AAWP community - what are you using on Windows 10 Mobile?
Following on from AAWP's rather handy guide to the very best applications for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, here's an updated (new entries, new layout) version of our similar crowd-sourced guide the very best one percent of games on the platform. Enjoy! And do comment if you have other suggestions, based on your own gaming experience.
It has been a long time since I looked at video editors for Windows Phone, usually in single reviews, and besides we now have a whole new platform in play. So you've shot a bunch of home videos on your Windows 10 Mobile smartphone and would like a way to massage them neatly together in order to get the result up on YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox, OneDrive, or similar? Here are your current software options.
OK, it seems that my comprehensive Venn diagram was a little too confusing for some readers - which is fair enough. Maybe it was a little ambitious. So I've broken things down more simply below. Here, in a single diagram is what will/should happen to your current Windows phone* in the coming 12-24 months. It also represents my own recommendations, you don't have to follow them, you know...(!)
In my hopefully common-sense-strewn advice about keeping some older Lumias (mainly the 1020 and any phone with only 512MB RAM) on Windows Phone 8.1, I have to emphasise that there are huge advantages in upgrading your Lumia, whether officially or unofficially, via the Insider programme. True, your smartphone will be slightly slower overall - but the advantages outweigh the caveats, I'm convinced. Not least because your phone will be able to run UWPs (Universal Windows Programs) properly, i.e. it'll be part of the full, 300 million-strong Windows 10 ecosystem.
The number one request I get behind the scenes on AAWP is to compile a directory of the best applications for the platform - given the amount of rubbish/fakes in the official Store, despite my rantings over Microsoft Store QA over the years. So, with another big update for mid-April 2016, and now in more phone-friendly format, 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 then look no further for suggestions.
I touched on Dynamic Exposure in my recent feature charting the many instant decisions that Microsoft's 'Rich HDR' (née Rich Capture) system goes through each time you take a photo on, for example, the Lumia 950 or 950 XL. One of the more intriguing possible outcomes was in lowish light with moving subjects, which is where 'Dynamic Exposure' comes into play, with two shots of different exposure times combined to good effect. Below, I demonstrate just how well this works.