Back in the mists of time there was Pool Arena Online for Windows Phone - but times (and OSes) change and we're now in a Windows 10 (Mobile) world. The developer has reimagined the game as a UWP (Universal Windows Program) for both phone and laptop (etc), plus it has been expanded massively to include darts and (for now) a board game too. It's early days (how many times have I said that about such a title?) for what is potentially a large multi-player gaming system, but I do have a fondness for its ambitions.
Although still, technically, in beta, Grover Pro was the most recommended title in my recent call for suggestions for podcatchers which work well with Windows 10 Mobile. And the AAWP community was right - Grover Pro is a terrific solution and gets closest of any of the apps I've tried so far to being a reliable, all-in-one solution. And, happily, a true UWP, working on Continuum too.
I seem to be hooked on tower defense games at the moment - or maybe there are just some excellent examples coming on stream. 'REDCON - Strike Commander' is something slightly off the wall, in that it doesn't look like a tower defense title - but it is at heart, it's just presented differently. And rather wonderfully - I've never seen such superlative animation and atmosphere in a mobile game. Ever. REDCON is also available for Windows 10 on the tablet/desktop, but here I was trying it out on a Lumia phone.
Tower defense is now a game genre in its own right - the combination of strategy, arcade action and combat has proved very popular. And Digfender is an astoundingly good example of the breed, here lovingly crafted for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile by Mugshot Games. The graphics are just right, the gameplay honed to perfection and even the freemium stays well within reasonable bounds. Highly recommended.
Desktop docks are sometihng of a love 'em or hate 'em thing, but when they work well, they work very well. And thankfully this new Kidigi accessory is in the latter camp. Aside from the use of plastics rather than metal, this is a beautifully thought out USB Type C accessory that adjusts to any smartphone, cased or uncased, with perfect solidity. In this case, to my Lumia 950 and 950 XL.
The search for a really good syncable encrpyted database and password manager is one that's close to many of our hearts. And there's a new contender, OneLocker, 'built for Windows 10', meaning that it's fine on both laptop and also Windows 10 Mobile-running smartphones, syncing through to OneDrive or Dropbox. There are a few caveats, but this still seems like a viable and mature solution, at least if you're building this up for yourself from scratch.
If the Windows 10 Store was any good, it would have all the charts and filters that let users find out about great new applications and games, in an intelligently curated way. And, in truth, the Store is getting better. Very, very slowly. In the meantime, applications like AppRaisin here have risen up to take on the discoverability challenge, helped by being fed from the wide network of developers using the AdDuplex system to monetise their free apps and games. AppRaisin ends up being well coded, as you'd expect, and always interesting, though never definitive.
When you encounter an application that's clearly a labour of love from the developer, it stands out immediately. London Travel is not just thrown together, it's a lovingly crafted interface around all the public API data for London travel - yes, much of this information can be gleaned from web sites and sometimes other applications, but not all in one place and so cohesively, and (with an in-app-purchase) some genuine navigation intelligence included. It's a Windows 10 universal application, mind you, so any WP 8.1 old hands reading this will need to switch to an upgraded device.
Qi chargers are pretty common these days, but Microsoft has upped the stakes with this, the DT-904, throwing in NFC and software tricks when used with a Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile device, alerting you of notifications for just about any applications you choose with a pleasant ring of white LEDs. After a few teething troubles with the Bluetooth pairing, this was almost the perfect Qi charging plate, not least because its charging coils extend over a larger area than on most competing products, so you don't have to be too fussy when positioning your phone.
This is the latest marker in the sand for Microsoft with Windows 10 Mobile, a data point around which numerous third parties are pitching their own handsets running the OS. We've not seen too many flagships competing with the 950 and 950 XL, but the 650 sits in sub-£200 territory (in the UK), already available at £140 on pay-as-you-go, so we're in a much more competitive arena here. Happily, there are lots of positives here, not least a design language and materials that should have been used on the 950 flagships, plus a balanced set of components that will appeal greatly to businesses...