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!
Now, a heads-up, this isn't new, it's just a little Friday 'FYI' mini-tutorial. But Mr Old School here didn't know about this feature in Windows 10 Mobile's keyboard, specifically its Emojis system, so I'm guessing that a few others might appreciate a quick demo too. And if you knew about the built-in auto-search system for Emojis already, then pat yourself on the back!
With all the recent renders and patents seemingly predicting a 'Surface Mobile' this Spring, with double-hinged design allowing use as a phone or mini-tablet, I thought it appropriate to look back into the past - such a double hinged design was seen before on a business-aimed smartphone, back in 2007, just over a decade ago. And thanks to a kind reader, I've got the Nokia E90 in front of my camera again. It's not much actual use in 2018, but it's extra food for thought.
No, Windows 10 Mobile isn't dead. But 2017 has been a tough year for a Nokia & Windows on phones enthusiast, I recap it below, though there are some glimmers of light in the darkness. And what of 2018? I place a few predictions, too.