One of the cornerstones of Windows Phone for years was the Nokia/HERE Maps and Drive applications inherited from Nokia's Symbian days. And with Windows 10, all of this is changing, though perhaps not to quite the same degree as you might think. You won't see the HERE brand in Windows 10, but see below for some common questions and answers about Windows Maps.
Recent Features - Software
It's all very well having world-leading HERE Maps data covering every street in the known universe (well, almost), but what about when you abandon your car and start hiking, cycling or even geocaching, out in the country? For this, you need extra software and data help. Viewranger, on other platforms, is very well known, but it's not available on Windows Phone - begging the question, what to use instead? In this updated feature, I run through over half a dozen very viable alternatives.
Look in the Windows Phone Store for BBC iPlayer (at least, if you're in the UK, anyone else need not apply!) and you'll see a client for this incredibly popular streaming and catch-up TV service from the UK's national broadcasting operation. Look a little closer and you'll see huge numbers of negative reviews, talking about laggy performance, constant buffering and break-up. How can an application be this bad? Well, in fact it's not. But it's also demonstrably in need of attention by the BBC, should anyone from the media division be listening to AAWP. You see, it only works fine on a specific portion of the Windows Phone hardware range.
There's something of a blanket assumption that everyone currently using Windows Phone 8.1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile - after all, Microsoft has been promising that 'majority' of users will join the Window 10 ecosystem. But, after a few recent experiences of mine with budget devices, I thought it worth sounding a note of caution and reality - I'd put money on the actual conversion numbers to Windows 10 Mobile being significantly less than 50% and maybe as low as 15%...
With Windows 10 Mobile coming to virtually all Windows Phones over the next few months as an over-the-air update, seemingly independent of RAM and specs, it does beg the question of how much will be sacrificed in terms of day to day experience on the lower end phones. With this in mind, I've been benchmarking the top end Lumia 1520 (2GB RAM, Snapdragon 800) and the budget Lumia 630 (512MB RAM, Snapdragon 400) for various common operations, both with the latest (pretty stable) W10M build.
Now, this isn't that common, but it happened to me - my OneDrive client, even on my recently reset Lumia 930, started playing up on Windows Phone 8.1. Essentially it had stopped showing any photos after a certain date, even after restarting the phone, trying to sync by adding new images, and so on. It was well and truly stuck. Happily, I also subsequently hit upon the solution, of which you might like to make a mental note.
Having explored the storage needed by typical users here, one of the takeaways was that having microSD support in your Windows Phone was 'a very good thing'TM. But what exactly should you put on it and what will happen if you do things wrong? In this feature, I look at how things are, and aren't, supposed to work, plus I cover how to upgrade one card to a higher capacity - seamlessly.
It's chess all the way, perhaps the archetypal game on any computer platform - or in this case on the computer in your pocket - your smartphone. With a multitude of chess options on Windows Phone, I've picked out the best - and, because we don't do things by halves here, then pitted the two best against each other, to find a champion. Note that this is all playing against your phone - I'll cover playing online against other humans ('by post') in a future feature.
The announcement that Facebook's changing APIs were causing an issue for older versions of Windows Phone seems to have caused unnecessary alarm. All of this is, quite simply, a non-issue for almost everyone reading this article. All that's happened is that the way Facebook is 'Connected' to your Windows Phone has changed. If anything, the new way of doing things is more reliable and logical. And here's proof in the form of a full walk-through on a newly set-up phone.
Somewhat quietly, Lumia Camera Classic (i.e. not the new version 5.x) has been withdrawn from availability in the Windows Phone Store for the Lumia 830, 930 and 1520. This is significant because it takes away the choice between Nokia/Microsoft's 'classic' image processing and the newer 'enhanced' algorithms. From now on, it's enhanced or nothing*. As you'll see from my data points below, both generations of image processing have their pros and cons - I just would have liked to always have the choice.