This is an experiment I come back to roughly once a year here on AAWP, but the placement of Windows Phone 8.1 in the context of modern Internet services changes every time, usually for the worse, which is why the experiment bears repetition. As ever, my trusty Lumia 1020 from 2013 will be my steed, since I still adore the way imaging was handled (zoom, reframing, etc.) on this unique smartphone. But how much of the modern world is now off limits to the venerable OS, for which support ended in mid-2017, almost two years ago?
Recent Features - Software
Continuum was something introduced with the Lumia 950, back in 2015, so it's been around for over three years now. The idea that you can just plug your phone into a TV or monitor and it's automatically used as a secondary and much larger display, with applications scaling up and letting you do a lot more... Of course, things aren't quite that easy in real life, and we've now had Samsung have a couple of bites at a very similar cherry, with its DeX system. Does that fare any better? I take my Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro and Galaxy Note 9 and investigate...
Following my feature in November 2017, i.e. just over a year on, here's an update to my much-requested feature. The UWP applications here are a good place to start if you're setting up a Windows 10 Mobile handset (or, to some degree, a laptop or hybrid) from scratch.
Last updated in November 2018, this is the latest (mid-January 2019) update 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. [3 apps removed, 5 new entries, 2 renamed]
Something of a fuss seems to have been made in the tech media in the last day or two after a Microsoft FAQ and a prominent tweet - they do like a good 'Windows Phone is dead' story, as we know, and I wanted to put the FAQ and tweet into perspective. In short, if you're an enthusiast still using Windows 10 Mobile right now, early 2019, then there's every reason you can do so in 2020, with only a couple of caveats heading into 2021.
Having been highlighting PWAs here on AAWP for months, it's becoming clear that a little guidance might be needed in terms of the 'best' way to run them. In fact, it turns out that 'best' is subjective and depends on how you like to run your Windows 10 phone - but hopefully the advice and examples below will clarify the situation.
There's so much to like about Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile in terms of hardware options, interface, and ecosystem (in that W10M is part of a larger whole), that you might be surprised, in hindsight, that it failed so badly - in relative terms, compared to Android and iOS. There's no one single reason for this - rather many reasons, with cumulative effect, over the best part of a decade. Here's my - rather damning - list.
Without doubt, THE most popular category of application for Windows Phone 8.1 was 'podcatchers', i.e. applications to auto-grab and play your favourite podcasts. I did so many features and updates for these for 8.1 that I've lost track. So this feature is for dedicated UWP applications, i.e. those expressly built for Windows 10 (Mobile/Continuum/laptops). This is a huge update to the original article from 18 months ago, with updated apps, updated features, and updated scores.
This one's been rumbling around for a while, but I wanted to put it to bed... one way or another. In brief, Photos sometimes shows broken thumbnails for images on OneDrive and when you try to tap through anyway, you're told that the photo is unavailable and that you should 'check your Internet connection'. Which is quite clearly absolute tosh - but what's actually going on?
One of the jewels in the Nokia Lumia 1020 camera experience was always the UI - the way a simple swipe left from the shutter icon would bring up 'pro' mode sliders, arranged for easy twiddling, all with one thumb. This made its way through into Windows 10 Camera, of course, on the likes of the Lumia 950. And now it's reborn.... in an Android phone. With the Nokia badge. Gulp. So how has the 'new' Nokia done?