Friday, January 22, 2016

Windows 10 Mobile is the biggest change ever for Windows Phones. Here's 10 things you need to know.

10 Points on Windows 10: Features

Windows 10 Mobile is the biggest change ever for Windows Phones. Here's 10 things you need to know.

Microsoft is well known for its inability to communicate precisely why a consumer should buy and use its products. Next to Google, Samsung and Apple, Microsoft’s marketing department has A LOT to learn in the coming years. Just look at those recent Cortana adverts, for example, which were so bad it would have left David Brent cringing. 
So, by the end of this year all your Windows devices–PCs, phones, and tablets–will be running and operating system all called the same thing: Windows 10 (or, more specifically, if you are on what is currently known as a Windows Phone, Windows 10 Mobile). But besides just branding the OS with the same name on its desktops and mobile devices, Microsoft is actually completely overhauling both OSes, so they’re one–one that runs on any type of device.
For all intents and purposes it looked as if Microsoft’s Windows Phone campaign had died its final death in 2014. Nokia left the space following its acquisition by Microsoft, who, in turn, began to release budget handset after budget handset, much to the disdain of many hardcore Windows Phone fans. 
“The team was very focused on our Windows 10 release for PCs and tablets, and we needed to do some prep work for Mobile to move to a new branch. I expect the builds to be out more frequently again as we go forward from here. Our major focus on Windows 10 Mobile right now is on improvements to core quality,” Microsoft said last week.
Microsoft’s hardware business is on very shaky ground, though. The Xbox One and Surface tablets are selling well, but only account for a very small fraction of Microsoft’s business -- a 10th of its total revenue according to some sources. Basically, Microsoft needs to sell A LOT more hardware, otherwise it runs the risk of becoming unprofitable, and after its recent Nokia write-down, investors DO NOT want that to happen.

1) Windows 10 Mobile: Price and Release date

Microsoft has now officially launched the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL and these phones will debut Windows 10 mobile. Microsoft has remained quiet on any further details. Fortunately, sources in Poland got hold of some database information from the Polish branch of phone network Orange, which details that updates for existing Windows Phone 8.1 devices will begin at some point in 2016 -- Microsoft recently delayed the rollout for undisclosed reasons. Here's the list of which phones will be part of the rollout:
  • Lumia 630
  • Lumia 635
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 745
  • Lumia 830
This will be followed by a second phase rollout for remaining devices in February 2016:
  • Lumia 520
  • Lumia  532
  • Lumia 625
  • Lumia 720
  • Lumia 820
  • Lumia 920
  • Lumia 925
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 1020
  • Lumia 1320

2) Windows 10 Mobile: Device Support

Right now the only supported phones for preview releases of Windows 10 Mobile are Lumia smartphones and the HTC One. However, by the time Windows 10 Mobile ship, expect to see plenty of other Windows phones and tablets supported. Windows 10 Mobile will support ARM system-on-chips from Qualcomm's Snapdragon line and IA-32 system-on-chips from Intel and AMD.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are the first PURE Windows 10 Mobile devices. The handsets are now available for pre-order in the UK and are set to start shipping during the first week of December. You can see how they compare in our Microsoft Lumia 950 vs Microsoft Lumia 950 XL article, where we compared the hardware, specs and connectivity of both handsets.
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed any additional hardware partners for Windows 10 Mobile, however, although we could see some surface in the coming weeks and months. Windows Phone didn’t succeed as Microsoft had hoped, so there is understandably a lot of unease about Windows 10 Mobile and its potential for upsetting current market leaders, Android and iOS.
The approach with Windows 10 Mobile is markedly different, though. Microsoft is going for the ONE PLATFORM approach and early word on Windows 10 for tablets and PCs is fairly positive; Microsoft appears to have ironed out A LOT of Windows 8’s kinks and foibles.

3) Windows 10 Mobile: Universal Apps

A really cool feature of Windows 10 Mobile is that it uses a universal app system that allows devices written for Windows 10 on a PC to be easily ported to Windows 10 Mobile devices. This essentially means that any app made for the PC can run on a Windows 10 Mobile device with not much code tweaking involved.

4) Windows 10 Mobile: iOS and Android CAN and WILL Be Ported

In addition to the above universal app system, Windows 10 Mobile will also make it easier for developers to port Android and iOS apps to Windows 10 Mobile. This means you could begin to see many more quality apps for Windows 10 Mobile. This is something Microsoft needs because lots of developers only make their apps for Android and iOS.

5) Windows 10 Mobile: "Continuum"

Another killer feature of Windows 10 Mobile is Continuum. This is a feature that allows a Windows 10 Mobile device to be used as an ad hoc PC. On supported devices you’ll be able to plug your Windows 10 Mobile phone or tablet into an external monitor and plug in a keyboard and mouse and the device’s user interface will scale up to resemble a “PC-like” desktop interface.

6) Windows 10 Mobile: The EDGE Browser

Windows 10 Mobile will include a modern new web browser called Edge. The big thing about Edge is its new rendering engine, EdgeHTML, which will make browsing much faster. Edge will also support reading lists, on-screen annotations, and extensions.

7) Windows 10 Mobile: Notifications Sync Between Devices

Another really nice feature about Windows 10 Mobile is its ability to sync notifications between devices. This means you can dismiss a notification–say a Skype notification–on your desktop and it will also be dismissed on your Windows 10 Mobile device.

8) Windows 10 Mobile: Improved Keyboard

Windows Phone 8.1 has a great keyboard called Word Flow. That keyboard is sticking around in Windows 10 Mobile, but it's gaining some improved features. Now you can resize the keyboard to better fit your fingers and even move it around the screen anywhere you want for the placement that makes the most sense for your hands.

9) Windows 10 Mobile: New Photo App

It seems everyone is getting a new photos app this year (ahem, iOS, Google). Windows 10 Mobile is no different. The new photos app will allow you to sync your photo library across devices and will automatically enhance your photos and create albums for you.

10) Windows 10 Mobile: The Lumia Camera app is becoming the default camera app on all Windows 10 Mobile phones

If you’ve got a Lumia phone already, you’ll know about its excellent Lumia Camera app. Well that camera app is becoming the default camera app on all Windows 10 Mobile devices. That means all Windows 10 Mobile devices will have a camera app that takes auto-HDR shots, offers 4K video recording, and takes Dynamic Flash snaps (the same picture with and without flash).