Recent Features - Software

Android or iOS? Is the Google-centric free-for-all worth it?

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The titular question is one I've been asking myself now for... four years. Ahem. Back in June, so three months ago, I looked at the internals and tech feature sets of Android and iOS, declaring them much of a muchness overall. So I've ended up spending almost exactly equal time with each OS, again and again, honing my workflow and summarising my experiences below, hopefully in a way that may help others when also agonising over everyone's favourite geek party question: 'what smartphone to get next?'!

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Status report for September 2021: services and apps on Windows 10 Mobile

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Here, for September 2021, a month after the previous update, is the refreshed/latest news and comment on applications and services on Windows 10 Mobile - the OS itself has now had its very last security update, but it still works on the whole. This feature will summarise what's broken and what's not, along with workarounds where possible. Details and links have all been updated throughout. Note that I've kept the URL the same, so the last year of comments are all still here.

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Windows 11 - Yes or No?

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Please excuse a slight, a very slight devation from 'Mobile' (as in smartphones), but it's all very relevant. We have (very mobile) ultra-light 2-in-1s and notebooks running Windows, we have Android phones linking into Windows, plus old-time AAWP fans will be interested in Windows' evolution. And I'd like to weigh in on the worth - or otherwise - of the recently announced Windows 11, since opinions seem divided, with tempers fanned by Microsoft's draconian minimum specifications for the free OS upgrade.

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The curated UWP app directory for W10M: Summer 2021 update

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Three months on from the previous update, here is the Summer 2021 update (five additions, twelve apps removed, several links tweaked) to the AAWP directory of curated UWP applications, i.e. 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 or disappeared from the Store.

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Weather apps for Windows 10 Mobile (that still work!)

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Weather apps are a smartphone staple and there's usually even one built-into every mobile OS. Including 'ye olde' Windows 10 Mobile, but with some extreme weather over the last few days in the UK I took a look at the weather reporting and forecasting UWP applications (for Windows 10) that still worked on Lumias. Some titles have moved on and require higher builds of the OS, so are Desktop only, while others seem to have lost contact with their data sources. Leaving the selection below, still more than enough for most people's needs?

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June 2021: 'Your Phone' major updates demonstrated and reviewed

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Microsoft and Samsung's collaboration with 'Link to Windows' is reaching new heights of sophistication with the latest update in the last week, so here we go over the major features now available, in June 2021. The Your Phone system is available on other Android handsets, but not to quite the same degree - but it's getting there across the board. It's not DeX or Continuum, but it's arguably now as useful, driven by the PC more than the phone. The top new feature is running multiple Android apps at the same time on your Windows computer, but there's plenty more to impress. See below.

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All About... Bluetooth music

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No, not another site(!), but a genuine attempt to dig into Bluetooth music, i.e. hooking up your smartphone to Bluetooth headphones and the gradual increase in audio quality over the last decade. When did it get so good and what are the underlying protocols and numbers? Here's where you need to know your codecs from your acronyms and your kilobits per second from your profiles...

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Windows Phone 8.1 in 2021. No Store, no MS account - what still works?

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As part of a week of Windows Phone 8.x features and tutorials, and four years after Microsoft stopped official support for the OS (and 18 months after the on-device Store physically stopped working), what does still work in Windows Phone 8.1 and what's a no-go? If you pick up a classic Lumia 1020 or 920, for example, at a bargain price, how do you get things going in a meaningful way? tldr; Social networks are a no-go, email is hit and miss, cloud storage is very sketchy, but Office, sat-nav, music, weather, and original photography are all as good as ever. [NB: despite being a big update of an existing article, I've left all comments intact.]

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'Piny - Pinterest with love' UWP updated for 2021

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A full four years ago I looked at a fledgling UWP Pinterest client for Windows 10 Mobile - and, believe it or not, it's still being updated, with the latest in the last few days. The developers, Chococode, are one of the last active UWP app developers compiling for Windows 10 Mobile, so credit to them. Piny UWP is now £4 if you want to zap the ads, so it's slightly pricier than it was originally, but heck, at this stage in Windows 10 Mobile's existence, it's worth showering active developers in beer, so buying them a pint in this case is money well spent, I contend.

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2021 Smartphone photo storage thoughts

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With Google stepping back from their original vision for Google Photos, year on year, changes are afoot in the phone photo storage world. So I thought a round up of your options in 2021 would be worthwhile. This being cross-posted to AAWP, it's highly appropriate to suggest that Microsoft's OneDrive, as used originally back in Symbian (as 'SkyDrive') and then Windows Phone days, is still perhaps the premium repository for all your photos and videos. But there are alternatives galore...

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