In all my years writing about mobile technology, I’ve come to stand firmly by an old adage regarding a software update: don’t believe it until you see it. In light of the recent news regarding the rollout of Windows 10 Mobile to existing devices running Windows Phone 8.1, this is perhaps more apt than it ever was.
I'm back, this time with a DIY tale that involves me refreshing an old 'special edition' Lumia 930, with a little help from Steve's own pioneering journeys into the metal and plastic. Are you brave enough to follow in our lead? Any 930 tales you want to share?
It's all very well having helpful ICE (In Case of Emergency) data inside your phone, even in a dedicated application, but if you're involved in a car crash or similar, perhaps unconscious or incapable, and your phone is locked with a PIN then the rescuers won't be able to access it. With potentially distressing consequences. One answer, if this worries you, is to have your ICE information right there on your phone's lockscreen. Below, I take a look at a few Windows Phone applications which claim to help achieve this.
With the very latest Android superphone in my hands, in this case the Samsung 'Galaxy S7 edge', equipped with a f/1.7 1/2.6" 12MP OIS-equipped camera, what's an AAWP writer to do but pitch this new technology against some established camera champions from the world of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile? In this case the similarly-sized Lumia 950 and the slightly smaller and much older 'classic' Lumia 1020. Heading into this particular headline imaging feature and writing this paragraph, I have absolutely no idea which of the three will emerge the winner. No idea at all...
I'd like to wrest AAWP's UK-centric mantle away briefly and take a Singapore view of the world of Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile in a wide ranging editorial, below. Never mind the 'third ecosystem', roll on the 'third era'?
I often use the phrase 'by popular demand', but this time it really is. The Lumia 1020 was praised for incredible, stabilised, noise-free video capture, while the Lumia 950 sits two years on and a much more advanced smartphone in other ways - but can its video capture best the large-sensored 1020? I put both through their paces, the 1020 under Windows Phone 8.1, the 950 under its native Windows 10 Mobile.
The disparity in battery life experiences of those testing out Windows 10 Mobile, especially on the new 'native' devices like the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, has been very interesting. "Goes one and a half days" says one person. "Dead by teatime" say I. Happily, I've discovered the culprit, and I thought I'd share the screenshot proof for anyone else who happens to get quite a bit of email (genuine/promos/etc.), especially via IMAP from the likes of Google (Gmail)...
It's notoriously hard to get a mass of users to upgrade to a new version of an OS, especially when you consider multiple regions and multiple devices, of wildly different specifications. Apple does it best, with a very limited set of device variants and simultaneous availability across the world, but even iOS usually gets stuck at about 75% adoption for any new major version. Android is massively fragmented and its latest, v6.0, has only 1% adoption after four months. And in between the two extremes lies Windows Phone and the big upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile. Seven months ago I estimated that adoption would be only 15%. I'm prepared to go a little higher now...
No, not a veiled reference to Continuum, and quite possibly an insultingly trivial 'how to' for most people reading this, but it's surprising how many people forget that the virtual controls on modern Windows Phones and Windows 10 Mobile devices aren't fixed in stone - they can be swiped away to give greater space for accessing information, whether it's a web page, a Twitter timeline or even to see more of a game.
This has been something of a hot potato in forums and discussions. I refer to Windows 10 Mobile being in 'beta' and I get shouted down that Microsoft has been officially selling the Lumia 950, 950 XL and 550 for months now, with the OS on board and nowhere in the documentation or interface does it mention 'beta' or anything like it. Then, however much I enjoy using Windows 10 Mobile (and think it's the future), I point to numerous features which simply don't work yet, screens that freeze or apps that crash and say 'Well, it behaves like a beta to me'... Of course, it all depends on how you define the term 'beta' - of which I offer some thoughts below.