I speculate regularly in prose form on reasons why people may have chosen to go down the Windows Phone (and W10M) route in the past, even staying with the platforms until 2020, but I thought it would be both fun and useful to gather your thoughts in poll form. See below - what has been most attractive to you?
It's an obvious trend that smartphone processors get faster with every year's new launches. True, their operating systems also grow in size and complexity, but usually at a slower rate. So, overall, things get snappier. Back in the day, Windows Phone 8.1 was itself very fluid and snappy, but the move to Windows 10 Mobile introduced a more heavyweight OS and a more sluggish experience - I wrote about all this here, back in 2015. We haven't had new first party hardware from Microsoft since early 2016 and then third party hardware later that year - so how does Windows 10 Mobile on 2016 phone hardware compare, speed-wise, with the best of 2020?
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.
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.
It's... another head to head article for AAWP... with a difference. Because the smartphone here is different, a direct descendant of the Nokia E7 (2010, running Symbian) and N950 (running Meego, which ended up still-born). Now, a spec comparison between 2020 and 2010 would be farcical, so I'm still going to compare the f(x)tec Pro1 to the Lumia 950 XL, so that specifications are at least in a similar ballpark. But I'm throwing in plenty of Nokia E7/Pro1 comparisons in photo form too, hence the AAS cross-post(!)
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?
Microsoft warned Windows Phone 8.1 users, AAWP warned them/you too, so the final closing of the Store wasn't unexpected. After all, the 8.1 OS itself has been unsupported in terms of updates now for over two years. However, I was curious as to what would happen if a user tried opening the Store app on a phone running Windows Phone 8.1 after the 19th December deadline. Surely a friendly message explaining the situation and pointing users back to the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade or to a competing platform wasn't too much to ask? As it turns out, yes, this was too much to ask. Harumph.
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.)
When the 108MP (Samsung) sensor was announced for the new Xiaomi flagship, it got everyone's attention. Was this a new high water mark in phone imaging? Or just another bullet point to pull in buyers without any real world benefit? A bit of both, as I discover below...