Started as Project Andromeda with (an evolution of) Windows 10 Mobile, of course, the Surface Duo is now a year old and seemed the whole time like an experiment. Not least because its hardware design and internals were never really appropriate for use in a well-rounded smartphone - instead, the Duo had its roots in a productivity-centric pocket computer. But we now have the Surface Duo 2, ramping up the componentry to be competitive with the rest of the 2021 smartphone market.
Something of a cheat, in that I'm having to summarise other people's thoughts on the new iPhone 13 Pro range this year, since I'm not buying it (as in previous years), mainly because the update from 12 to 13 series is so relatively small. But I've been reading and watching the reviews and I thought it worth rounding up the verdicts, including some that highlight a serious shortcoming in the iPhone stills camera system - something that Apple should fix in a software update.
Ah yes, high resolution sensors continue to evolve. While not as technically sophisticated as Nokia's PureView RGB oversampling back in 2012 (just saying...), the new 'ChameleonCell' system from Samsung in the HP1 works on a (wait for it) 200MP sensor in either 2x2 (reducing the raw sensor resolution down to 50MP), 4x4 (ditto 12.5MP), or even full resolution pixel configurations, depending on available light. However, the pixel layout was also released and I have some serious colour rendering worries...
Another day, another new UWP title, at least during Launch 21. This time it's CryptoTracker, offering graphical and numeric analyses on up to 800 cryptocurrencies, along with portfolio tracking. Add in a choice of light and dark themes, plus it works on everything from a Lumia to a Windows 11 2-in-1. Top notch, and well done to the developer for letting 'ye olde' Lumias join in the fun.
It's raining new UWP applications for Windows 10 Mobile! Well, there's a new trickle anyway. This is FlairMax and it offers music recognition via either the Shazam or ACR Cloud services. Along with lyrics, though some parts of the application don't seem to be working yet. Technically it's still in beta, though. UPDATE: see below.
Amazingly, we have news of a new RPG for Windows 10 Mobile in late 2021. Imperium was a turn-based RPG on Windows Phone back in the day, but as far as I can tell this is a conversion and development for all Windows 10 systems, but specifically Windows 10 Mobile, and compatible with all OS branches.
Not a smartphone but very mobile, the diminutive Surface Go has been a mainstay of my computing setup for three years now*. A Start screen and full Windows in landscape or portrait modes, and useable as laptop, tablet, or - in an emergency - as a phone with the LTE edition. Why this news post? Because Microsoft just issued a raft of low level system firmware patches, great to see its hardware fully up to date.
Samsung has been holding a virtual event, launching the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3, with form factors the same as last year's, but with IPX8 waterproofing and tougher flexible displays, along with a new rubber-tipped, suspension-equipped S-Pen. Along the way, the Z Fold's selfie camera has gone under-display, giving a full tablet experience, which is pretty cool.
Twitter UWP has been a shining light in the world of Windows 10 Mobile, a PWA* that worked across all platforms and even (mostly) under Edge on Windows 10 Mobile. The cool thing was that this was packaged neatly, available in the Microsoft Store on W10M phones, and ran independently of a browser window/furniture. Sadly, Twitter's development has moved on beyond the highest build number that Windows 10 Mobile achieved, so can't be installed (or re-installed) from the Store anymore. Mercifully, the PWA itself still works in Edge - but it's all starting to feel a little awkward and shabby, mid-August 2021.
There was a Huawei event yesterday, which I'd failed to remember, and the P50 series phones were the star, albeit not very exciting for people outside China, since they come with the Google-less Harmony OS Android fork. But I was intrigued to see, GSMArena story below, that Huawei has started offering upgrades of internal storage for a wide variety of its phone models. Eh? Are they - literally - going to start opening up phones, desoldering chips and soldering in new ones? I don't think so, but there's certainly a lot going on here...