The latest Kantar market share figures are out for smartphone OS and, unsurprisingly, they are being viewed (e.g. here) as further confirmation of the decline of Windows on mobile when compared to iOS and Android. But we're already in a world of Windows 10 Mobile 'for enthusiasts' - do we really need the validation of consumer market share success? Can't we just enjoy Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile on our hardware without worrying about others? Shouldn't we (ahem) rejoice in our exclusivity?
Oddly, despite dancing around the iPhone 6s (and 6s Plus) after having access to the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, I don't think I've done a direct camera head to head between them yet. And with the arrival of the latest iPhone SE, with identical imaging to the 6s, and with both in hand, I thought the time was right to do a comparison. It's 16MP versus 12MP but results are very good from both units to the naked eye, so I think it's time we called on our famed interactive comparator again.
An update last week to Microsoft Health brought in a new (and long overdue) feature - the ability to take part in multi-person challenges with your friends. Competing to see who can do (for example) the most steps over a given period has long been part of the Fitbit world and now you can do the same with Microsoft Health. Here's how it works under Windows 10 Mobile.
One of the almost unique features of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile is that their Store applications are set up, by default, to automatically download and install updates (just as on the desktop). So, in daily use, apps will just 'magically' appear to gain functions and bug fixes, with no intervention. In contrast, iOS and Android default to notifying users of waiting updates when the relevant store application is run, relying on the user tapping to acknowledge and agree to update everything. Which approach is best? I contend the former, by a country mile.
HDR is somewhat contentious in the world of imaging. Anyone who's seen HDR images can tell in an instant that they don't claim to show the world as it really looked, but rather as it could be emphasised, bringing out all colours and all detail to maximum effect. The results can be dramatic, see some of the examples below. Now, the Rich Capture system on many phone cameras in the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile world means that you can do a limited amount of HDR imaging, but what happens when you can't achieve as dramatic a result as you want to at capture time? i.e. Can clever software work wonders with your raw material?
One of the tropes around the Lumia 950 and 950 XL launch was that they would be Quick Charge 2.0-compatible, we even quoted this ourselves a number of times in the run-up to the device launches. Yet, and with thanks to Martin Jeppesen for lots of extra research and comment here, it seems that the two flagships are not QC 2.0 compatible - rather they implement 'standard' USB Type C 'fast charging'. Some details and thoughts below.
It seems as though lots of people enjoyed Alvin's viewpoint that the incredibly cheap Lumia 640 now makes a rather excellent little 'lite' version of the flagship 950 - although not mentioned by Alvin in depth, one of the core differences in terms of performance should be the capabilities of the cameras in each unit, and I couldn't resist pitching these two head to head in a real world shootout(!)
There’s a ton of good things to be said about Microsoft’s mainstream budget device of last year and my current Windows Phone device of choice, the Lumia 640. But to my mind, what makes it most compelling is how much of the Lumia 950 experience you're getting for a tiny fraction of the cost.
In story after story, in comment after comment, on site after site, there seems confusion as to the various versions and branches available for Windows Phone, Windows 10 Mobile and beyond, especially in terms of which devices can get be upgraded to which platform levels. Always of the belief that a really good diagram is worth a thousand words, I've laid it all out, for 'Lumia' devices, at least. If nothing else, bookmark this URL to get back to the diagram in future to clear up any misunderstandings with friends or colleagues.
It's tempting to blame the iPhone yet again for the modern trend towards 'sealed' phones, with no user-repairable parts, but that wouldn't be fair. Going right back to the start of the smartphone age (20 years!), there have always been some designs which are easy 'to get into' and some which most definitely... aren't. Here, with examples, are some of the pros and cons that the designer of a new smartphone has to take into account...