With some social applications, comms apps and Microsoft services being phased out through 2019 and beyond, I thought a ready reference table of where Windows 10 Mobile stands would be useful. And I'll try to revisit this every few months to update each section as needed. In summary, there's likely to be little disruption to 'normal' activities this year but a few more caveats in 2020, when Windows 10 Mobile will be out of official support. Anyway, see below for details!
Recent Features - Software
I have to say that I find it quite amusing that the tech industry is falling over itself in 2019 to embrace concepts that were commonplace back in the early days of Windows Phone - from well over six years ago. For every naysayer that slams Windows Phone for its weaknesses, remember that it also led the world in several ways, not least UI responsiveness, dark themes, and augmented reality mapping!
Security and identity theft are major concerns these days, with numerous high profile attacks, making two factor authentication for all your email, PIM, banking, and even social accounts mandatory. But relying on a phone number and SMS codes as the 'second factor' has a huge weakness - 'social attacks' on your phone network, with someone pretending to be you and thus gaining control over your SMS and number via a new SIM card, inserted in their phone of choice. Enter the concept of 'authenticator' apps on your phone, which work well but are a pain to set up more than once. Well, no more, since Microsoft Authenticator can now backup and then restore your established authenticated account keys. Here's how it all works.
Over one month on, here is the September 2019 update (4 new entries, 1 entry relinked) 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.
This has been mentioned a few times over the last six months - the odd reader would complain that the Office UWP application under Windows 10 Mobile would suddenly start demanding an Office 365 sign-in, when theoretically any device 'with display under 10' should have full creating and editing capability. I have a theory - and a walkthrough for people seeing the titled warning and have qualifying phones or accounts...
I recently covered the pimping of the Lumia 950's hardware, looking at different covers, a new (PolarCell) battery, a larger microSD and a new external DAC in particular. But there are also plenty of things you can check or improve in software too - here are some ideas to keep your Lumia 950 flying through the rest of 2019.
One of the biggest reasons why users love Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile is the front end UI - the multi-size live tiles (most of which still work). And I was struck by the example below, put up on Twitter by Mike Latham, one of my followers there. There's plenty to see and comment on, plus I'll put in the relevant links below. Could making Android's app launcher look and feel like Windows 10 Mobile be a valid way forward? I give it a try anyway...
With Facebook apparently stopping their first party (though OSmeta-based and very bloated) applications for Windows 10 Mobile working after April 2019, some people might be worried that their Facebook 'fix' won't be available on the platform. Happily, anyone with any sense will have uninstalled the first party app long ago anyway - see the options below. This also applies to Facebook's (also bloated) eponymous Messenger and Instagram applications (for the latter, there's Winsta).
Twitter is a fascinating IT case study - started as a fully open social network focussed on very short status updates, it was destined to be 'the dial tone of the Internet', the way every person can contact and follow every other, with minimum bandwidth. But its openness meant that most activity was accomplished by third party clients and at some point Twitter woke up and wondered how it was going to make money, in order to survive. At which point its APIs started to contract - in 2019, the vast majority of Twitter access is via first party clients and the Web, meaning that it's in control of ads and sponsored posts and the like. But what of accessing Twitter from a Windows 10 Mobile phone after the API clampdown last summer?
One of the more popular article series in the last decade on the 'All About' sites has been 'pimping' older hardware to achieve new and better results than using it 'out of the box', as it were. And now that (Wileyfox Pro excepted) all Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone hardware is now two years old or (much) more, it's time to start pimping some classic phones from the series.