Recent Features - Software

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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ProShot vs Windows 10 Camera

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Windows 10 Camera isn't the only game in town anymore. Actually, it never was, since a great number of third party camera applications already existed and most continue to work to this day. However, ProShot is the 'big daddy' in the world of third party cameras for Windows Phone and now we have this rewritten UWP version, as reported on here. But what can this do over and above Windows 10 Camera? And is ProShot worth the purchase price?

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Old WP 8.1 applications falling by the wayside - but don't panic!

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One feature of tech news feeds in 2016 has been 'Company XYZ abandons Windows Phone', a headline which sounds far more dramatic than it is. Broken down, this translates to 'Company XYZ did a Windows Phone 8.1 application three years ago as an alternative to the rather clunky XYZ web site of 2013, but the application is showing its age now and, in the absence of a full Windows 10 Mobile UWP app rewrite, is being withdrawn now that the web site works perfectly well enough in Microsoft Edge'. OK, so my translation isn't as snappy, but it's more accurate.

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Windows 10 Maps badly needs real time re-routing

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I routinely carry two smartphones, partly because I'm a geek,and partly because I have a work and a personal SIM. These are usually in devices on two different smartphone OS: Windows 10 Mobile and Android, though the actual devices vary from week to week. And, when driving, I've found that real time traffic in the appropriate Maps applications is a real differentiator. For Android... Ahem. Definitely more work to do for Microsoft's programmers.

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