The question is a tantalising one. How would someone get on setting up a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone from scratch... in 2020? i.e. a starting point of up to date security but no more updates to come - ever, plus a patchy set of mainstream services. I keep the latter tabulated and up to date here, but I also thought it worth documenting how everything comes together (or not) on a freshly factory reset Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, certainly the slickest and shiniest (and boy, is it slippery) Windows phone ever made.
Recent Features - Software
With some social applications, comms apps and Microsoft services being phased out as time goes on, I thought a ready reference table of where Windows 10 Mobile stands would be useful. And I'll revisit this every month 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, now that Windows 10 Mobile is out of official support. [This is the January 2020 update, a month on from the previous one.]
Two months on, here is the January 2020 update (one addition, four apps removed, several links tweaked) 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. Do please get involved in the comments to let me know of anything which has stopped working.
There comes a point when enough is... actually enough. For people relying on real time communications with other human beings, this point may have just been reached, with Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile. We've had the official Twitter client not supporting active notifications for a year now, ditto Facebook Messenger, and now the ultimate Whatsapp deadline is upon us. What happens to a communications device when it can no longer effectively communicate, I wonder?
With Facebook having stopped their first party (OSmeta-based and very bloated) applications for Windows 10 Mobile months ago, users have had to look elsewhere for their fix of family news and jokes. So what options are still working and what about Facebook Messanger and Instagram (also now part of Facebook's empire)? I investigate, in this last feature before Christmas. (AAWP will be back on December 27th.)
With the Store for Windows Phone 8.1 stopping working in a couple of weeks, users of the very popular Lumia 1020 have a problem. Yes, being love-smitten on the 1020 is an issue in itself, though you might also now consider the iPhone 11 Pro. But if you want to give the 1020 (or 920) a little more life in terms of applications then force-upgrading it to Windows 10 Mobile is about the only option, since the W10M Store is 'good' until at least 2021. My own 1020 has flip-flopped a few times between 8.1 and W10M, I always got put off by the latter's restrictions for the 1020 hardware, but it seems like Microsoft is now forcing our hand for good.
A few years ago I rounded up ways to view (and edit) PDF files under Windows 10 Mobile, prompted by Microsoft's Edge browser failing at the time to read these (usually) reference files. Happily, Edge has been sorted out in the meantime, plus some of the third party options have changed, so here's a more up to date round-up!
Forgive a little rant, but I thought my general level of 'cross-ness' over the behaviour shown below might a) help guilty developers mend their ways, and b) attract your attention to what I consider to be shady practice when getting users to download applications from the Microsoft Store. PS. This news post is normally £399 to read, but today it's absolutely free!!
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.