With imaging being at the heart of many Lumia smartphones, it was important to sort out the mess that was the imaging workflow under Windows Phone 8.1. Rather than a brace of camera applications, we now have just one*, now 98% complete**, plus we have a unified Windows 10 Photos store, available on phone, tablet/hybrids/desktops/laptops, essentially wherever you're signed in to your Microsoft account. Add in OneDrive, to link them all together, and you should have photographic nirvana. Well, not quite. This is Microsoft, after all, and I've got a few questions...
Recent Features - Software
The number one request I get behind the scenes on AAWP is to compile a directory of the best applications for the platform - given the amount of rubbish in the official Store, despite my rantings over QA over the years. So, with a view to keeping this feature updated as time goes on, here's our directory of the very best of the Windows Phone (and Windows 10 Mobile) world. If you or someone you know is just starting out on the platform then look no further for suggestions.
Microsoft Translator is a big thing, with versions for every form factor and with APIs and hooks into many other products - if you don't believe me, have a browse around the dedicated Microsoft Translator site here. The point is that there are a lot of behind-the-scenes resources in the (Microsoft) cloud dedicated to making Translator work. And with Translator now officially out of beta (after an eternity) on Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, make sure that you have this installed and ready for use the next time you find yourself in a linguistic tough spot.
I've complained so many times about duplicate and misleading applications in the Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile Store, and it's not clear how much Microsoft has listened - certainly plenty seems to keep slipping through the net. But I wanted to model how you and I can help, by using a function I'd never actually used before. It only takes a few seconds and who knows, if a few thousand (or more?) of us report the odd miscreant when we come across them, the Store may get better faster and we'll all benefit in the long term?
The next time you look at your on-device application store, with a progress bar showing that an update to, say, Photos is taking an outrageous 30 seconds to apply, here's a cautionary data point from a decade ago...
It's been a long time since I revisited this topic (several years), but it's, if anything, more relevant than ever. Just where does Windows 10 Mobile (née Windows Phone) stand in terms of third party applications, compared to the competition? I mean, first party, in-the-box offerings are outstanding, with Outlook, Skype, Maps, Office and much more, but what about the 'app gap', as popularly characterised? How bad is it, compared to iOS and Android? I took the current 'Top 40' from the application charts from the latter two platforms, as of October 2015 and tried to find equivalents.
You may remember that I produced a FAQ for Windows 10 Maps back in July, based on an early version of the software? Most of that still holds, but there was a big question mark hanging over the real time traffic elements of the application/service. So I decided to head out into the South of England on a busy Saturday afternoon and see how Windows 10 Maps coped, here on a Lumia 930 running the latest build of everything.
Amidst a barrage of articles looking at the imminent Windows 10 Mobile and its stability (or otherwise), I've also been careful to emphasise numerous times how much more grown up the OS is, in terms of multitasking, email, maps, and so on. It's a clear step up from Windows Phone 8.1 in most cases. And it's time to highlight another way in which the new OS brings in newer, arguably more mature functionality - the humble Weather utility that gets accessed from, for example, Cortana.
In case you've been living under a rock, Windows 10 Mobile is being tested across the board and official updates aren't that far away. Yet the Lumia 1020, the camera-champion and with unique hardware, has already been singled out by both Microsoft and me, the former admitting that the new OS doesn't fully support the device yet, and the latter saying that 1020 owners should avoid the Windows 10 Mobile Insiders Preview for the time being. More on that below, but I also wanted to offer some thoughts on what you can do to help your 1020 feel 'fresh' in a time of great OS upheaval elsewhere.
The Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon all feature the same 'PureView'/'oversampling' camera, of course, with a 20MP sensor oversampled to produce 5MP photos with higher purity, lower noise and so on. At least that was what happened under Lumia Camera under Windows Phone 8.1. Now that the OS and camera application have changed dramatically, is PureView still a 'thing' on the current flagship devices (and presumably on the upcoming 950/950 XL, with similar camera specs)?