Recent Features

When will my Windows Phone be upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile?

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The titled question is one that's being asked more and more, of course, as the universal OS gets closer and closer, first in new hardware but then as an over-the-air (or cable) upgrade to most existing Windows Phones, in due course. We've had scattered information from various sources, plus my own opinions and hunches, so I thought a 'best guess' table might be helpful here. And yes, we'll keep it updated.

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Your Xenon flash, 41MP PureView, 2GB RAM Windows 10 Mobile flagship for 2016...

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The Lumia 1020 has held itself apart from the Windows 10 Mobile story and all the Insider builds, with writers like me saying 'Stay on 8.1'. The specialised camera hardware and Xenon flash, the 2GB of RAM allied with the older S4 processor, the iconic status and operation which no one wanted to ruin with a beta non-optimised OS. But recent developments and builds have let the 1020 back into this 2016 mobile OS and it works surprisingly well. It's no 950 in terms of performance, but the Lumia 1020's imaging hardware will still be unique through 2016, I predict.

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How to: get by (as a last resort) with Microsoft Translator

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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.

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Iterating on zoom: smartphone approaches through the years...

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Almost as soon as cameras started to arrive on smartphones (the Nokia 7650 was the first - I still have mine!), bright minds started to wonder if it would be possible to not only snap a scene, but actively zoom the shot before capture (as you would on a standalone camera). Early approaches were terrible, of course, but then we had a succession of interesting approaches, most of which are grouped in the photo below. And, a decade later, in late 2015, is there a consensus, a winner?

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The mixed message on 'Continuum' and the far more positive reality

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I was listening to a few tech podcasts from the USA (notably TWiT) and it seemed that Microsoft's message about what Continuum is (and isn't) hasn't really sunk home, unfortunately. Every journalist and blogger watched Bryan Roper's demonstrations at Microsoft's event a couple of weeks ago, was suitably wowed and then - ahem - I hear some of them saying that (I quote) "Continuum will never take off until it works with Android or iOS". This level of misunderstanding is staggering. I'm tempted to say I don't know where to start but... you know me, I'll have a go anyway!

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It's not really our job, but... we CAN help improve the Windows Store

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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?

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Adding the Xperia Z5: the Nokia cameraphone classics 808/1020/930, all vs iPhone 6s

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My last camera phone comparison for over a month, I promise(!), the arrival of the much-praised (in terms of its imaging) Xperia Z5 prompted another comparison across a range of test shots against the classic (Symbian) Nokia 808 PureView and the (Windows 10 Mobile) Nokia Lumia 1020 and Lumia 930. Apologies if you're not interested in camera-centric features (in which case move right along), but (with the very latest iPhone 6s here too) the opportunity was too good to pass up - a genuine 5 way shootout between some of the best camera phones in the world from the last few years.

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The difference a decade makes: Updates

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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...

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State of readiness: Windows 10 Mobile, build 10549

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Yesterday saw the release of Build 10549 of Windows 10 Mobile to Insiders, along with a warning that it needed testers to revert to Windows Phone 8.1 first. And, as it turned out, to hard reset after the Insiders upgrade to Windows 10 too. That's a lot of wiping and flashing, but it's the sort of thing you expect when doing OS beta testing, so I'm not complaining (too much). A bigger question is how ready the OS is, one month away from the date that Microsoft will need to start flashing firmwares onto production Lumia 950 and 950 XL handsets.

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Camera head to head: Lumia 1020 vs Apple iPhone 6s

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Yes, yes, chalk and cheese in every regard, but with the the arrival of Apple's latest smartphone flagship, I thought a data point in terms of the camera champion from the Windows Phone world might be interesting. Just because I can - there's no expectation that anyone will be seriously umming and ahhing about which to buy on the High Street. And my verdict? As with other recent comparisons, the newer competition's image processing and more sensitive sensors are gradually catching up with the 1020's physics, though the old dog is still ahead overall and you still can't beat a Xenon flash when the time comes to dance the night away(!)

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