As widely expected, ahead of MWC 2016, Microsoft has officially launched the Lumia 650, intended mainly for business use, and prioritising materials and appearance over blazing consumer internals. The result is an interesting specification sheet, but I think we have to trust Microsoft on this one - they did their research in terms of what businesses wanted for the Lumia 640 and 640 XL and now we're starting to see their replacements, a year on.
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The expected 'Release To Manufacturing' build of Windows 10 Mobile (i.e. being flashed into the first batches of Lumia 550, 950 and 950 XL), build 10586.11 is now available to all the brave souls (like us) on the Microsoft Insiders Programme. Details and a few suggestions below.
Windows 10 Mobile, for those of us using the Insiders Build, has had broken Rich Capture for quite a while. I say 'broken', but it did work sometimes. And then didn't the rest of the time, usually when you needed it most. To recap, Rich Capture is 'HDR' plus 'Dynamic Flash', the idea being that different exposures (or, in the latter case, one with flash and one without) can be combined 'after the fact' in different ways. That this has been broken for a month has been a major thorn in the side of anyone using the Insiders builds of Windows 10 Mobile and now it's finally fixed.
The biggest news at today's Microsoft event in New York was, of course, the official announcement of two of the most leaked smartphones in recent times, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL flagships, designed to carry the flag for Windows 10 Mobile into 2016, with 'Hello' Iris recognition, Continuum support and upgraded specifications across the board, relative to the 18 month old Lumia 930.
As part of its October 6th event in New York today, Microsoft announced the Lumia 550, its budget offering running Windows 10 Mobile. The device complements the high end Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, also announced.
Microsoft is pushing forwards at top speed for Windows 10 Mobile now, with a major new build for the Insiders community. See below for the official release comments. The focus in build 10512 (over the previous 10166, a month ago) is in the new core models and a long list of critical bug fixes. And yes, this build really is worthy of use day to day, in my opinion.
Microsoft does like ending the week with a big release and, in this case, it's a new build of Windows 10 Mobile for the Insiders community. See below for the official release comments, though they're surprisingly brief for once. The focus in build 10166 (over the previous 10149, two weeks ago) is in fixing known issues, including those afflicting the 'Store (Beta)' application - which now loses its beta tag and should work fully.
In an announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made yet another 'tough' round of job trimming at the software giant, resulting in almost 8,000 job losses (from around 100,000 total), many of them in the phone division (i.e. producing feature phones and Lumias). See below for the release text and comment.
Potentially confusingly arriving as Windows v10.0.12648.133, what's rolling out to Windows Insiders today is 'Build 10149', bringing its own swathe of improvements across the board. I declared that build 10136 was close to being useable day to day and build 10149 marks that point for real. As of today, I'm going to be living with Windows 10 Mobile 24 hours a day - I'll report back, of course. See below for the main improvements over build 10136.
Following the announcement that the desktop/tablet SKUs of Windows 10 are to be available officially on July 29th, Insiders Preview builds of Windows 10 Mobile will start coming with more urgency and solidity from this point onwards. There's been no timescale announced for the phone SKU as yet, but it can't be more than a couple of months behind, otherwise the raft of 'one platform, one store' marketing that's been accompanying the Windows 10 ramp-up won't make sense to the consumer. Anyway, there's another big new build (10136) available right now, if you've joined the programme and are happy to take on the usual risks.