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  1. #1
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    Exploring Win10 Technical Preview for phones




    TOP STORY

    Exploring Win10 Technical Preview for phones


    By Woody Leonhard

    While there's been a lot of discussion about Windows 10 Technical Preview, there's another Windows on a parallel development track — Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones.

    Its similarities with Windows 10 for PCs might make you reconsider which phone you get next — or maybe not.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/exploring-win10-technical-preview-for-phones (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Bought a Lumia 635 two months ago on a Walmart's special for $39.95 - my very first smart phone. Best investment I could have made for a cellular phone. I'm with AT&T (GoPhone) - no contract/data plan which averages out to $10 per month (the same as was my dumb phone).
    Cortana is off to a good start. I can tell her to play my music, pause, resume, and next track. She makes reminders for me as indicated in your column.
    I have access to my files via OneDrive and can remote to my home computer via TeamViewer. I am reluctant to try 10 on my phone because I don't want to take the chance of screwing up a rather nicely functioning Windows Phone. However, am anxious to see what the final version of Windows Phone 10 will bring.

    Rich

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    Hate to be a nit-picker, but here goes - the link to the Lumia 635 is for a 'no-contract' phone, not an 'unlocked' phone.

    The difference is a 'no-contract' phone is tied to a specific carrier (in this case AT&T), while an 'unlocked' phone can be used on any carrier that supports the network the phone supports (normally GSM, which is supported by AT&T and T-Mobile and their various VMNOs in the U.S.).

    An unlocked phone is usually more expensive than no-contract phone, the Lumia 635 usually runs around $175 for an unlocked version, but you have the freedom to jump carriers if you're not happy with the first one you pick or move to an area better supported by a different carrier

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    Winphone 10 is a poor option

    I am not a phone developer, but I have heard from those who are:
    Porting code from IOS to android is fairly simple
    Porting code from IOS to Winphone is really complicated
    Therefore, with winphone having approx. 4% of the market, developers are not porting to winphone.
    And since my Bank(s) and healthcare provider are not offering winphone apps, I will be switching to IOS or Android in the near future.

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    Thanks for the info, I really enjoy your columns. I agree with the 'catch 22' problem you describe. I am an Android user that would like to become a Windows phone user, but I just don't feel that it has the app ecosystem that I would like for one, and for another, I like the ability to load custom ‘de-bloated’ ROMs on my phone and would lose that ‘tinker-ability’ of course with a Windows Phone.

    On the ‘Universal App’ topic though, I kind of have a different take. Maybe it’s because I’m used to things being this way due to being a diehard Windows user and having an android phone, but I don’t expect my phone apps to be identical to my pc apps, they provide very different functions for me in my life and I expect them to have their differences (specifically that my phone is by design a limited version of its desktop counterpart). I can’t imagine doing anything more than reading and maybe some basic updates to a word document on my phone. If they were to even try to give me all the options of the desktop app in Word in a phone app, I think it would clutter the app so much so on the phone that it would almost be unusable to me. There are certainly going to be many apps (like the Alarm and Calculator) that indeed are simple enough to be direct ports between the platforms, but this concept that we can be ‘weaned off’ of desktop apps and all use ‘Universal apps’ for every platform I just don’t think is reality. And I think many of the application’s features would suffer (on both platforms) if they were crammed into this ‘universal’ track.

    I do have a bias in this area I guess, because I have never been much of a ‘tablet’ adopter. I hate to show my naiveté, but when the IPad first came out, I was one of those who said “OK… a giant IPhone that doesn’t make calls, that’s useless and won’t catch on…” (except even then I really knew it would as Apple could come out with a paper weight that is somehow re-envisioned and really well designed as though it was a completely new concept and its enormous base would flock en masse to buy them) Obviously I was terribly wrong about that. But the reason I had that line of thinking still holds true for me because I still haven’t really found a ‘niche’ in my life for tablets. I have a Nexus 7, had an IPad for work, and I have a Dell Venue 8, and they all pretty much collect dust on my desks at home. I can’t seem to find a use for them that my phone doesn’t handle, and anything my phone doesn’t handle, pretty much tends to be something I really need a keyboard for pretty much, and that just breaks the deal for me and I get up and walk 20 feet to my desktop, or simply don’t deal with that task until I can get to a desktop. I use a ‘convertible’ Dell XPS 12 (Win 8.1) at work that I never use in its tablet form. I rarely even touch the screen period (I do spend a lot of time with web development to be fair, and that is something that you simply can’t do with purely ‘touch’).

    So the point being, for me, these worlds are separate and should be different. But I was wrong about the IPad, and things sure seem (much to my chagrin) to be converging into this “One Identical App, 100 different ‘touch’ screen sizes fits all” track, so I guess we’ll see how it all shakes out…

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    Security & Privacy?

    What are the comparative merits of Windows 8.1/10, iOS, Android, Ubuntu and FirefoxOS in respect of security and privacy? (See for instance recent reports of tracking Android phones merely by monitoring power usage!)

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    I wonder how to prevent the tiles from accessing my data. We here in Australia very often have as little as 200MB per month and I don't want it to used up and even exceed my monthly quota without me knowing. Or will all tiles still work in the absence of mobile data connection?

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    Quote Originally Posted by laman View Post
    I wonder how to prevent the tiles from accessing my data. We here in Australia very often have as little as 200MB per month and I don't want it to used up and even exceed my monthly quota without me knowing. Or will all tiles still work in the absence of mobile data connection?
    There's a metered connection setting in Windows 8 that may help:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...sked-questions

    jerry

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    I must be on the wrong subscription list now. Last week the feature report was on Linux, this week it's phones.

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    Myself, I'd be happy to have a phone that is similar to using the desktop. But so far, the experience has been more than underwhelming. I recently migrated to Win8.1 and have not been near apps since the beginning. I thought it was great Skype was preinstalled. But it was so badly dumbed down that i couldn't even figure out who the contacts were. (It showed only Skype-name). Heck, even Calculator was dumbed down. With 2" keys on a non-touch screen, it was near useless. If this is what to expect of Win10, I wouldn't even consider it.

    Android isn't perfect. Some of the "recommended" apps include what is basically spyware. A decent security app is a good idea. But it's easy to work with and does what I need easily.

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    I've tried to like Windows phone. We use Exchange at work, so the e-mail apps were always great. However, I have to agree that the apps issue is their main problem. I've had portable devices since the WinCE days, through PocketPC and Windows Mobile, and finally Windows Phones 6 & 7. I'm not a heavy cell-phone user, so my needs are minimal, but the requirement to get everything new again with each phone upgrade was tiresome. I moved to the Android platform with my last phone, and recently to an iPhone 4S with the latest OS, and so far like the Apple eco-system the best. Certainly the Android is like the Linux for phones with the ability to fully customize, but I wasn't looking to take advantage of those capabilities. Good article!

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    @Minnesota Slim:
    I had a similar thoughts when Woody complained about photo editing being so much more "limited" on the phone: well, duuuhhhh. The little bit I have done with photo editing involved a fair amount of mousing manipulation, and zooming in/out, both of which would be ridiculous on a small phone screen and with those blunt instruments known as fingertips (gimme a fine-point stylus as with my old WinMob resistive screened 5.x/6.x phones, and that might not be such an issue, but that seems unlikely unless porting over Samsung's technology from its Android Note series of phones/tablets - seriously doubting that will happen). There would still be the zooming issue on anything less than a phablet class phone.

    As for your lack of use case for tablets, do you ever read ebooks, or just long articles on the web? Leaning back in a recliner with a lightweight tablet for reading those is much like doing it with a book/magazine without the paper/page fiddling (although diehards like my wife seem to find "comfort" in that somehow...).

    Also, if you want to listen to an MP3 music collection, or streaming the music from web sources, without tying up your phone, tablets can be very useful media consumption devices in those situations, too.

    For another variant, what's really been useful to me has been having a phone that docks with a larger-screened device. My first such was a Moto Bionic running Android that connected its USB and HDMI ports to a holder on the back of a Moto Lapdock that is basically a dumb terminal in PC notebook/laptop form.

    The screen was about 11 inches, 1366x768 resolution, and there was a matching full notebook keyboard and touchpad (too fiddly for me as with any touchpad - gimme a Trackpoint, or an external mouse, which could be done via one of the 2 full USB 2 ports on the Lapdock, also usable for external hard drives or thumb drives). The dock also provides auxiliary power for the phone, and will play sounds/music on its (tinny) speakers.

    The Bionic would switch its interface to a desktop mode (not just a blown-up phone UI) via its "Webtop" software. The first version of Webtop was rather buggy and unstable, but the next version with the upgrade to Android 4.04 (ICS) was much better. Then after Google took over Motorola, the next iteration of Android, 4.1.x "Jelly Bean" killed off Webtop. I have the sneaking suspicion that Google considered that competition for its Chromebook technology. That killed my interest in staying with the Bionic (on Verizon, the Atrix was the equivalent model on AT&T/GSM).

    Now, on AT&T, I am using the Asus Padfone X that is a big step up from the Bionic/Lapdock in some ways: i.e. it has 1920x1080 touchscreen, although only 9 inches (but that does make for very high-density prettiness), so it is more compact, and more like an actual tablet without the keyboard, and the Asus tablet UI on Android 4.4.x is also more mature than Webtop. I pair that up with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse (or use my Lenovo Thinkpad 2 keyboard with optical Trackpoint - love it!), and once more, I have notebook-like experience.

    BTW, there is also the smaller Padfone X Mini paired with a 7-inch tablet that is available as an AT&T GoPhone device, but definitely lower specs for not much reduction in bulk and weight.

    I have found that I can use just these phones with their docks on short trips and otherwise "on the go", and skip a notebook PC for keeping up with email and web browsing, along with the usual load of Android apps. I can just use the phone by itself for more typical phone usage, then plug it into its dock for a more PC-like experience without tethering, or public wifi issues.

    A Windows Phone/PC convergence device on this model would be awesome! I am interested to see if Ubuntu can get back on that track (seems they gave up on their original docking notion with their recently announced Ubuntu phone).

    YMMV
    Last edited by rokky; 2015-03-09 at 16:52.

  13. #13
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    Woody hits the target with the lack of Apps on the Windows store. I found this out when I purchased an HP Stream 8 with Windows 8.1 (with the 200mb/month via T-mobile thanks to a Windows Secrets article) together with an HP Bluetooth keyboard. There was no "App" version of KeePass, which for me is a must, and also for integration to airline entertainment systems (list only iOS and Android, as far as I can tell.) I quickly tired of the punishment of Windows 8.1 (both metro and navigation of "regular") and purchased "Start is Back" (thanks to a Windows Secrets article) to obtain Window 7-like navigation. I uninstalled most apps (including Office 365). I installed Office 10, Adobe Digital Editions, and Firefox. I now have a first rate mini-computer travel companion. I transferred a baker's dozen of artists MP3s from my PC to the Stream 8, downloaded free e-books from the library, and configured Outlook for both me and my wife. We gave it a test run on a recent trip from Texas to Hawaii (with stops both ways.) Battery life was manageable, barely, if the plane had no/no functioning power outlets. Email and browsing in the hotel via WiFi, ac power, and the keyboard was great. While on the plane, I was able to read and listen to music, simultaneously. I was also able to play the quiet jazz for sleepytown background noise. I am a happy camper with the Stream 8, and don't have a current need for a mobile phone. I used a BlackBerry for 8 years on my last job with great satisfaction (except my 2-month trial of a BlackBerry 10 device) primarily due to my desire for a real keyboard. A Windows phone would be fine given my low demand for Apps - just get KeePass, and matches to the Airline iOS/Android entertainment Apps would be fine by me. I could leave the Garmin at home and bring the phone.

    Rick

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