A December 2017 Start Screen Snapshot

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We're in an odd period for Windows on phones. Microsoft bought Nokia, made a couple of cracking releases and then stopped selling them, despite demand from enthusiasts. Meanwhile other licensees have come and gone, with the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro here the currently sold 'flagship'. And I've been living (again) with the IDOL 4 Pro 24/7 for a couple of weeks with my main SIM - so how is it set-up? These articles are always popular, so here's my current Start Screen Set-up, as at December 2017.

Screenshot montageShown right is a montage of two screenshots, my Start screen on any Windows phone rarely extends to more than two - otherwise the amount of scrolling means that it's just as fast to use the applications list. Plus live tiles buried on (say) a third Start screen just aren't going to be seen very often.

So the Start screen represents just the applications and services I use the most often. The best of Windows 10 Mobile if you like. And in case you want more information on anything, I'll link through to relevant (and the most recent) AAWP content as we go.

Tweetium - my current Twitter client of choice, though it still can't cope with creating 280 character tweets, so I'm playing with other clients in the meantime, in parallel. Oh for some developer love! The live tile cycles between recent tweets, as shown here.

Outlook Mail - here showing my Gmail mailbox, which is my primary email address. This cycles between recent emails, showing sender and subjects.

Phone - obvious! I have my family set up as starred contacts, so that they appear in Phone's relevant tab.

Edge - obvious, again. Does this ever show live tile information and, if so, what?

Messaging - obvious. Yes, I'm old school and most IMs come in via SMS!

Groove Music - contrary to what you may have heard, Groove Music is alive and well and plays my music just fine, from card or OneDrive. The bit that MS shut down was the commercial Groove Music Pass service.

Films & TV - I've experimented with various players, but for the moment this just has the nod for my Start screen.

Netflix - it's an old client and doesn't support encrypted downloads, but hey, it still works!

People - obvious

Outlook Calendar - shows the next appointment - and yes, I know third party apps can do better, I'm keeping things minimalist here, not least because I have very few actual scheduled things to do!

Fitbit - very useful for tracking my steps and stair climbing each day. Ignore the '0 steps' here, it's because my Fitbit ran out of charge during the night before I made these screens!

Store - obvious, but I keep the tile quite big so that I can hit it multiple times a day easily - plus it does light up with app graphics quite often.

KeePassReader - fingerprint-opened, my cache of passwords, PINs and reference numbers.

OneDrive - obvious, though I'm finding more and more use these days for simply saving every document, every photo, to the Cloud and Office365 gives me 1TB of space, so I never run out. This is all accessible from any device, including my Android phone, of course.

gMaps Pro - much of Google Maps and its up to date maps, POIs and traffic, all in a Windows phone interface. It's WP 8.1 and not a UWP app, but it still works!

If traffic isn't critical and I'm more concerned with not getting lost then Windows 10 Maps is the way to go. It works very well these days, including public transport (at least, in the UK).

Photos - obvious, I love having the live tile cycle through some of my favourite captured shots on the current device.

Awesome Tube - possibly the best and most reliable YouTube client at the moment. It's also updated weekly, so there's TLC going into it, and I like that!

Tapershop - a UWP photo editing package I've been playing with, outputting at full resolution.

Alarms - needed every evening, to adjust the wake up for the following day!

OneNote - cross-platform and hundreds of notes and snippets, this works very well.

Google Keep - this is actually a Start screen pinned favourite from Edge - it's Google's equivalent of OneNote.

Grover Pro - the best podcatcher (podcast grabbing app) at the moment. Utterly reliable, though the live tile usually shows more than this - maybe the screengrab caught it at a bad moment?

Weather - obvious, though I really like the double-wide three day overview, as shown here.

AAWP Universal - more to keep an eye on comments, since I already write most of the content!!

International Snooker Pro - my favourite passing-time game still. No two frames are ever the same, etc.!

FeedLab UWP - a Feedly news aggregator client - it works well on the whole though I still wish Nextgen Reader would get overhauled for Windows 10, since I really, really liked its UI.

Chess Online+ - this is a UWP app in the Store, but it's really just a web wrapper. Still, it's convenient, and lets me play a game anywhere, anytime against another human, to try and improve my ranking.

SlimSocial UWP - a 'lite' wrapper for Facebook that can turn everything dark and remove ads and bloat. Say yes, yes, yes!

MyAppFree - this often turns up little app and game gems and always free...!

Whatsapp - obvious, though I'm not a very heavy user (yet).

onePedia - a UWP Wikipedia client and beautifully programmed and presented.

Fliky - a UWP Flickr client - it's not perfect (not least because the app's spelling changes here and there!), but then neither is Flickr anymore. Boo to Yahoo, boo to Verizon, etc.! The live tile is kept big enough to show off recent photo additions, to pique my interest.

Twitter - the official UWP client, kep there in the vain hope that I might go back to it at some point. Who'd have thought that choosing a Twitter client could be so hard?!

ProShot - an alternative to the built-in Camera app - and needed on the IDOL 4 Pro, which definitely needs a bit of a boost in this department. Again, I'll come back to this in a tutorial at some point soon - I'm waiting on a few updates from the developer.

London Travel - a well written UWP application that encompasses all of London's public transport, with news, route planning, and more.


Hopefully my set-up is of interest to you - anything you've picked up here that you're delighted with? Do share!