Back in mid 2015, two and a half years ago, Microsoft debuted the premium Universal Folding Keyboard (UFK) and I reviewed it here, pronouncing it massively overpriced (£100) and with poor Windows Phone support. Then, exactly a year ago, I briefly reviewed the UFK again in the light of a new price (£40) and Windows 10 Mobile's far more complete Bluetooth profiles - ending up recommending it to all. What's new here then? Not much, except that I've been using it for a year and I wanted to put into context - the UFK is more than a humble Bluetooth keyboard, yet (obviously) less than a laptop. So where does it fit in?
The very title may seem odd to you - after all, a camera app is a simple enough entity, surely? What difference does it make which app you 'snap' with? In terms of quality of images on full auto, not much difference at all, but in terms of flexibility and functionality then there are subtleties offered by alternatives to the Windows 10 default Camera application. Here's a breakdown.
It's true that there are loads of good Windows 10 Mobile applications, but with 'long tail' titles (heck, even 'medium tail', these days) usually missing in action, anyone worrying about the 'app gap' might like to give attention to PWAs, Progressive Web Applications. These are the next step beyond HTML5 and you may be surprised to know that Edge under Windows 10 Mobile is perfectly capable of running PWAs. Maybe the 'app gap' will simply go away as PWAs become more commonplace?
Microsoft's strategy around maps seemed clear enough to me - license HERE Maps data for major markets where it exists, license from other companies in some world regions where local companies do a better job. Yet I'm bewildered - driving in the UK over the last few days with my Windows phones, and despite shiny new app versions and a copyright date of '2018' for the maps in Settings, roads completed as long ago as the start of 2017 were simply nowhere to be seen. Someone's asleep at the wheel at Microsoft and/or HERE, methinks...
As an industry watcher, it drives me mad to see and hear, over and over again through 2017 and into 2018, how iOS or Android are being adapted and extended, with possible reaches out into laptop and even desktop territory. The various UI issues and technical hurdles are debated, with pundits usually agreeing that whatever happens "will take five years" to mature. Hang on though, didn't we already have what's needed? In 2015, with Windows 10 Mobile?
Back in October (2017) I published a feature mapping out the road map/state of play for all Windows phones, but since then we've had the full production release of a whole new branch of Windows 10 (Mobile), and even a new phone. Not exactly a maelstrom of activity, but certainly worth taking quarterly stock of models and branches supported!
Twitter upped its tweet character limit a few months ago but the UWP clients haven't yet caught up, sadly. Maybe Christmas got in the way, maybe it's just indifference? Anyway, in search of ways to post tweets up to the full 280 characters, I've got at least one practical solution under Windows 10 Mobile.
Microsoft's patches for all supported branches of Windows 10 Mobile a few days ago were much welcomed, more of a show of force in the industry in the face of media concern over Meltdown and Spectre chip vulnerabilities, but the reality is that there was very little to worry about. Only a handful of phone models had the vulnerable chipsets and the attack vector even before the patches was infinitesimal. Note that, in my research, I also tried (and failed) to find evidence of any OS slowdown.
Don't obsess over missing out on Fall Creators Update (FCU), you're not missing much - on Mobile, at least. I write this for all the Lumia 640, 735, 830, 930/1520 owners who have been following along at home with AAWP, accessing all the various official production and Insider-level updates. You'll have ended up on Creators Update, but don't lose sleep that you're not on FCU, you're not missing anything important. Really.
I go into some depth when testing smartphone (stills) cameras, I even occasionally test smartphone video capture. But I rarely test the audio that's captured. Whether you're videoing some live music in front of you or just shooting video at a party, the louder, clearer and higher quality the better - audio is often more important than picture quality, I contend*. Here's a quick test of seven contenders, back to back, play along at home and let your own ears decide!