Last week saw a refocussing of Surface Duo 'for Business' and also launches in many world markets, and since then we've had updates, background chat, long term reviews, and more. No, the price hasn't come down, no, we still don't have review hardware in the UK, yes, it still runs Android, but here's a digest of all sorts of Surface Duo bits spotted in the week. Buckle up.
Recent News - Android
Just a small PSA for anyone planning on bringing their Android/Samsung Cloud media (photos/videos/general files) to Microsoft's OneDrive - this has been in the works for months but you now only have 10 days left, as I write this, before the migration ceases to be possible. Samsung had been touting its own Cloud as the best media/file backup destination, but we're now down to the big three - Google Photos, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive. As a bonus, you get an extra 15GB of the latter for a year if you trigger the migration.
Starting off (in the smartphone world) with Series 60 (on Symbian) handsets, transitioning through Windows Phone 7.x phones, and ending up on Android, LG has officially closed its Mobile division, with the short statement quoted below. It's been a rocky road for LG, but even back in the mid 2000s at the Symbian shows, I never really felt their heart was in it, at least in terms of selling to - and supporting - the West. Some thoughts and a few looks back below.
A day later than planned, but Microsoft has now thrown the server-side switch on Office Lens as a separate app on both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Desktop. From now on, it's a service inside the likes of Office (for all platforms). Which makes sense in a way and it's nice to have it integrated, but I for one will miss it as a general purpose OCR and archival tool. See below for links, quotes and screenshots.
Having been a fan of the Continuum/DeX lapdocks from NexDock, I've reviewed the '2' (2019) - and the 'Touch' (2020). But it seems that Covid-19 logistics and the boom in laptop sales worldwide have got in the way of a continued run of the latter. Making both my NexDock Touch a somewhat limited edition(!) and meaning that NexDock have had to change tack in terms of form factor. They've kept touch as a feature, but evolved the lapdock concept into a wrap-around form factor, with the NexDock 360 due to ship in March 2021. See below for details.
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.
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
With even the latest Windows 10 Mobile versions now out of official support, it really is time to think about the colour of the grass 'on the other side'. I've been using iOS and Android, alternately, for the last year, and thought it was noteworthy that the last major Microsoft/Windows service (arguably) is now dark on Android. Why dark? Pioneered on Windows Phone back in the day, dark themes save power and save your eyesight when needed!