Sunday, July 26, 2015

Windows Phone 10 preview

Having a read on the internet from various sources about Windows Phone 10, it could be said that there are not enough hands on reviews on the new up and coming operating system to show the user what’s in stall for them.

With this in mind we put the feelers out to get an actual account of the operating system in question.

This is what was obtained:

To start off with the basics, Windows Phone 10 (Insider Preview) comes installed with some apps or rather shortcut to apps that lead to the actual application being downloaded from the Windows Phone Apps store which include: Facebook, OneNote, Skype, Voice Recorder and (MSN’s) Weather apps.

Upon first glance

  • The void distance between the titles is decreased making the actual tiles bigger utilising the entire screen of the phone.

  • The pulldown notifications menu not only contains 4 customisable toggle options, but also carries a function where a plethora of 16 (4 x 4) options are available, including a nice touch called Flashlight.

  • Microsoft has introduced an app or program (in the old school terminology), called File Explorer, a first on its Windows Phone platform, even though it was a standard function of an earlier incarnation of a mobile Windows platform called Windows Mobile (2003 for Pocket PC).

  • The Alarms menu option from WP8 is replaced by Alarms & Clock which also includes great features like a  World Clock, timer and stop watch. 

  • Unlike Apple’s iOS platform, Windows Phone 10 (at least in the Technical Preview), STILL does not contain a native print function (the likes of AirPrint), where one can print pdf files from one’s phone.

  • The built in Battery app, when pinned to the Start screen does not contain the percentage level of the battery as it did in the previous incarnation of version 8.1.

  • There is an app called Film & TV which may contain the films you buy and rent in the Store, which is totally useless for Aussies who are apparently the world's largest pirates?

  • Out with the old called Internet Explorer and in with something called Microsoft Edge, where it’s “the brand new browser for doing”, whatever that means.

Security, Security, Security

With security / privacy being a hot topic of debate in the political and social media world, Microsoft has responded with options allowing the user more control over which applications have access to which resource e.g.:
Location, Camera, Microphone, Motion, Speech, Account Info, Contacts, Calendar, Messaging, Background Apps, Advertising ID, Other devices, 
which is a huge bonus to the user which make them feel that their information is more secure, despite that Microsoft may have built in a few backdoors for the US intelligence agencies to access each user's device, as is the case with iOS smart phones and other devices.

There are no doubt many other features/improvements that have been noticed about WP10 that do not make it into this review, not because they do not count nor that they are not welcome, but rather the limiting factor being  the post size on this blog.

Apart from minor issues arising from the test version of WP10 like some WiFi networks not connecting properly, an occasional unsuccessful loading of HERE Drive+, Start screen titles correctly matching to device, apps taking longer to load, a slower camera app, which one would expect to be ironed out once the full release is ready for distribution, the operating system itself is an overall welcomed improvement.

One important improvement to note is the battery management of the operating system. On the same device with the same suite of applications, overnight battery level could fall as much as up to 30% under Windows Phone 8.1, whereas a 5-10% drop in battery level overnight is a huge improvement.

From an Application Developer / Tester’s point of view much more information could be brought to the attention of Microsoft, but that would be regarded as ‘consulting’ and would require a ‘fee’ to be paid for such a service.

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