Over the last two years, I've been adding to my curated directory of applications for Windows phones, including both 8.1 and Windows 10 versions. But, as we hit mid-2018 and with the latter really all that most (though not all) currently active Windows phone users care about, I've whittled it all down to UWP applications, those with native Windows 10 UI and which support different orientations, Continuum and even use on laptop or tablet. This is the mid-June update of the directory.
Recent Features - Software
A slightly depressing subject on which to start the week, but recent activity (or rather lack of it) by Microsoft has led even me, one of the most enthusiastic supporter of Windows on phones, to wonder whether the creeping neglect of the OS by Microsoft in terms of its ecosystem and services, amounts to a 'death of a thousand cuts'...
Two weeks ago, I posted about considering the Lumia 1020 under its original Windows Phone 8.1 as a viable set-up, even in 2018. And it is, on the whole, I stand by everything I said in the original post. However, while it may be a viable set-up, it's most certainly not optimal, five years after launch, and six years after the launch of the Lumia 920, the archetypal 8.1 device. In an attempt to see just where the pain points are (other than the obvious, like no biometrics), I set about using Windows Phone 8.1 exclusively for 24 hours. And no cheating.
It won't have shocked anyone during the week when Webrox's (makers of Tubecast and other well known Windows 10 Mobile applications) CEO, Stéphane Graziano, was quoted on MSPU as saying that 'nobody cares' about the Microsoft Store and that the current situation is 'a disaster'. Unsurprising, I contend, because people use the desktop/laptop very differently to their phones. But although it's unlikely that PWAs could help Webrox, they could help bridge the gap for many others.
18 months ago, in May 2016, I wrote about staying with Windows Phone 8.1 in an era of Windows 10 Mobile, in the context of some services working better on the old OS than the newer one. Since then, we've had Windows 10 Mobile mature and fill out, though there's one phone for which I stand by my original piece 100%. You may not be surprised that it's the classic and much-loved Lumia 1020, from 2013, which still feels 'right' on Windows Phone 8.1. If you have this Xenon-flash, monster-camera-ed device then here are the pros and cons, plus suggestions for use in the modern age.
My response to any oddity in the operation of a Windows 10 Mobile phone is usually to suggest a 'refresh'. The usual cause of the oddity is that the phone has been taken through multiple OS branches and/or Insider rings, and it's time to have a managed clearout. In the FAQ below, I cover most of your questions about backing up and refreshing.
With the infrastructure changes at F1, the UWP app for Windows 10 has been withdrawn, as already reported. But, with the first Grand Prix (Australia) happening this weekend, what are your other options? It turns out that there's a wealth of information available for Windows 10 to accompany your race viewing in 2018. In part 1 of a staggered two part feature, I introduce the current state of affairs.
When I'm using Windows 10 Mobile full time, I can truthfully say that the OS and its applications satisfy all my smartphone 'needs', but there's a huge caveat implied. 'Needs', after all, implies 'necessities', the basics that have to be in place in order for a smartphone to be a smartphone. I get by - I even enjoy the phone and the UI. But there's an unstated reach that lets those with other mobile OS go further, whether its paying for things with their phone in a shop, playing the latest blockbuster games, or streaming video from a particular commercial movie service. Below, I chart the shortfall - how critical is it to you?
Microsoft's continued changes to the Edge browser (hopefully continuing to make it more secure and more powerful) under Windows 10 Mobile have had a side effect - it now makes a mess of reading PDF (Acrobat) files, with blank pages or error messages. Microsoft has promised a fix in the next update, but in the meantime, here's how to carry on reading your downloaded PDF documents.
A week or two ago I did a feature on running modern (2018) PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) under Edge on Windows 10 Mobile. And, while it's clear that Edge/W10M will never get to the same functionality level as desktop browsers, most PWAs run just fine right now. In this case, I wanted to highlight Google Maps Go, a PWA designed for running on low end Android phones. Turns out it runs perfectly under Windows 10 Mobile too!