For the last 20 years of smartphone cameras, from the earliest Symbian handsets (Nokia Nseries, mainly, then the 808 PureView) through the Lumias (1020, 950, mainly), and with iPhones and Android handsets also providing highlights here and there, users have had two main options in terms of phone imaging, both compromised. That changes this week, do please read on.
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Earlier in the year, in May, we had an offline maps update for Windows 10 Mobile, months after the platform itself went 'end of support'. At the time, and with the TomTom deal announced, we thought that this was the last offline maps update we would see for Windows 10 Mobile. But not so - a few days ago we had another, with bang up to date late 2020 roads. Not bad for an out of support OS, I think.
Twitter keeps on improving its UWP application with server side (it's a PWA under the hood) changes and this month's update hit yesterday, with a complete overhaul of the Settings hierarchy. It's, dare I say it, a little Windows Phone-esque now! Twitter is perhaps the flagship social network for W10M in these last days for the OS, so here's what's new, updated and fixed!
I'd normally put this down to a glitch, but traffic data has now been patchy or missing completely in multiple countries for over a week. So, in Windows 10 Mobile, if you head into Maps and plan a route you'll get 'Traffic info isn't available'. It looks like this is simply W10M falling off Microsoft's radar in that a server was changed at their end and the out-of-support Mobile was left stranded. In other news, traffic has stopped working properly in HERE Maps/Drive+ on ye olde Windows Phone 8.1 too. A sad day for Windows phone travellers, methinks.
We've seen Windows 10 Mobile itself lapse from official support (January 2020), we've seen some top apps and services stop working altogether (e.g. Whatsapp, December 2019), and now we're seeing some well known Windows 10 applications compiled such that the minimum Windows branch number is above that which W10M ended on (15254). As a result, some are slipping from the Store and can't be reinstalled. Though not all - the situation is more complex than that, as you'll see below.
Winsta UWP (an Instagram client for Windows on phones) has seen numerous updates over the last couple of years, constantly pushing the boundaries in terms of what Instagram features are supported and constantly fixing things which break because of changes at Insta's end. And we now have a big new, shiny v3.0, much of which is a rewrite and involves architecture changes to make Winsta more future-proof.
We've covered the Surface Duo ('Surface Phone') quite a bit on AAWP, but this is the last coverage until we actually get one in... well, 2021, when the Duo 2 starts to leak, since that will be the one for the UK and world markets, with NFC for tap-to-pay, etc. But I did think it was worth rounding up the USA reviews of the first Surface Duo, since the embargo on these just lifted. See below for typical videos and verdicts.
The Surface Duo launch has been something of a long, drawn out affair, and even now the first USA reviewers are bound not to show the device turned on, since evaluation of the software is both waiting for updates and also the expiry of an embargo (possibly the date of public availability in the shops). But we are starting to see real units handled and shop presence, so I've embedded a few likely candidates below along with some thoughts on the Duo's future...
Teased in Panos Panay's hands late last year, the Surface Duo (Surface Phone, as we knew it) has finally been officially launched by Microsoft. See the quotes and details below. To no one's surprise it has emerged as a device for business and the enterprise rather than a consumer offering, with an emphasis on productivity and remote management by IT departments. The 'perfect fit for the modern workplace'. Which will disappoint a few here - ditto the pricing, which 'starts' significantly north of £1000/$1000. The Surface Duo ships on September 10th (2020).
The original Microsoft vision was to bring as much of Windows to phones as possible, even extending phones to Continuum desktops to run 'as' PCs. Sadly, they gave up on Windows 10 Mobile and had to shift to plan B. Or C, depending on how you're counting(!) Regardless, Microsoft has been pressing forward with their 'Your Phone Companion' (Link to Windows) software for a couple of years now, buoyed up by a developing partnership with Android phone manufacturer Samsung. With the launch of the latter's Note 20 range yesterday, extra integration features were announced - see below for some interesting animations, demonstrating how it works.