The push from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile is about to become more urgent for many people, especially if they're heavy users of HERE Maps and HERE Drive+. The developer, (the ex-Nokia) HERE has announced that further development and non-critical updates of code and data will be stopped as of the end of this month (March 2016). I.e. things will carry on working, but don't expect anything to be improved. Meanwhile, all the HERE data is licensed, available, and updated, in Windows 10 Maps.
Recent News - Software
In the imminent absence of MixRadio from the Windows world, commercial music (and podcast) streaming service Deezer is stepping up to the mark, with a new, universal application that spans Windows 10 mobile, tablet and laptop/desktop. It builds on the existing Deezer app but offers a unified and 'seamless experience'. And, for MixRadio fans, the 'Flow' feature recommends instant music fixes.
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.
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.
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.
Last covered here back in December 2014, Microsoft's integral OneDrive client has been updated again, with v4.7 available right now and offering advanced text finding, even within photos (thanks to server-side OCR), multiple account support, PIN protection and cross-folder photo albums, and more. In addition, Microsoft has announced a new public API for OneDrive, enabling developers on all platforms to start using the cloud service from within their applications. See below for more.
If you're feeling lucky(!) and brave(!!) and want to play with the next version of Windows on your smartphone then note that Lumia 630, 635, 636, 638, 730, and Lumia 830 owners can install the Windows Insider application and be served up what's definitely an early beta of Windows 10 for Mobile. It's not recommended for use on your primary device, of course.
Also announced today at IFA 2014 was the official name and contents for the next major Lumia software release - Denim. Based on Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, Denim also offers some Lumia-only features, quoted below.
The Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview is now available for download, allowing any interested party to install the latest version of Microsoft's mobile platform onto any existing Windows Phone 8.0 device. Key features of the update include the introduction of Cortana (US only), the arrival of Action Centre (improved notification functionality), and a deeper and richer API set for developers.