In a blog post, Microsoft has announced that the old Windows Phone 8.1 'Kids Corner' feature is to be retired for the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update (a.k.a. Redstone), citing low usage. Hardly surprising, since Apps Corner, also built in, is more flexible and can do the same job for most people. Here's how to get going with it.
I'm sorry, but I've been patient long enough. I've suffered through a dozen builds under various Insider 'rings', installed on at least six different phones in varying states of readiness. And there's one bug in Windows 10 Mobile which I just can't keep silent about any longer. And oddly I've not seen anyone else complain about it, at least not yet, which is why I wanted to vent here and check that I'm not totally alone. The issue is that Windows 10 Mobile's pop-up (volume button) media controls are utterly broken.
Although it's noteworthy that Daniel over at WC in the USA, armed with an internal build of Microsoft Wallet on the latest Insiders build of Redstone and with the very latest Bank of America UWP, was able to buy a hamburger using just his Lumia 950, it's fair to say that it'll be several months at least (if not years) before this hits the mainstream, i.e. Windows 10 Mobile devices around the world with appropriate banking applications on the platform and with the service enabled in their home countries. But a recent deficiency in the Lumia 950 XL reminded me of another really convenient use (or two) for NFC in our modern smartphones....
Although not directly relevant to Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile, the drop in Microsoft's bank balance of $26.2 billion is certainly significant in the wider scheme of things and I wanted to at least link to this story, adding some quotes from people and sites in the industry that I trust. What does it all mean? I'll be asking Rafe that on the podcast very shortly too, of course.
It's all very well having been accustomed to the Microsoft pairing of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, but there's a good chance that we won't see any new hardware from Microsoft until 2017, in which case any upcoming device excitement will come from Microsoft's partners. We already know of a few of these, so I thought a detailed comparison might be in order. Is the 950 XL still going to be top of the heap or are there other subtleties involved?
I've flip-flopped a number of times on the advisability of going with Windows 10 Mobile (via the Insiders Release Preview ring) on the classic Lumia 1020. And you've all had your say a few times. But I wanted to revisit the subject again. Partly because of the sense of urgency - this month may be the last in which it's possible to do the upgrade (before the Release Preview ring gets switched to 'Redstone' and the 1020 is de-provisioned from the programme) - but also partly because of the impressive number of new builds and core application updates that have appeared in the meantime.
A couple of years ago I updated a long running theme and series, given that I/we usually cover platforms for which 'apps' (i.e. dedicated, iconed, optimised third party applications) seem to be in shorter supply than for other mobile platforms. So here's the updated version for 2016, pointing out that using the Web can be just as effective for many services as having an 'app' (many of which are merely wrappers around mobile web sites anyway). True, there are some 'misses' here, feel free to suggest your own, but it's not all bad news.
Another Android 'flagship' in for Phones Show review, another chance to pitch its camera against a decent data point in the Windows 10 Mobile world. In this case the 8MP output matches up almost exactly with the oversampled photos from the Lumia 950 (and 950 XL), meaning that I can make abundant use of our interactive comparator tool (woohoo!) Oh, and take a shot of whisky before reading on if you're a Sony fan....
You may remember that a recent update to the Microsoft Band 2 added a new hiking tile? Well, there was a corresponding update to the Microsoft Health application and I've been trying the whole system out when off for a walk in my local area and, though I'm yet to test it on an all-day hike (I'll leave that to Rafe and the wilds of Wales!), I've been quite impressed. Here's a write-up of what to expect with the Band 2 in 'hiking' mode.
I have to confess that I’m getting more than a little tired of the "ha - it's dead“ headlines across the tech press. They’ve been saying this for a year now - if it was true then, how is Windows Phone/W10M's status still newsworthy now? The problem is, I contend, that there’s a fundamental lack of understanding of how Microsoft, Windows 10 and mobile fit together in the phone world. Windows 10 Mobile - as an operating system - is alive and kicking, and has the exact same lifespan as Windows 10 on the desktop - by definition.