Monthly Archives: July 2016

Rumor: Three new features are coming to the Samsung Galaxy S7’s S Pen

According to a report published today, the S Pen that will come with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will have three new features. The first one is called Translate. As you might expect, this allows a Galaxy Note 7 user to translate words from a foreign language by merely hovering the S Pen over that word. This will save time since no special app needs to be opened.

The second new feature to be found on this year’s S Pen is Magnify. Can you guess how this functions? If you said that you simply hover the S Pen over an area of the screen in order to make it bigger, you are absolutely correct. And that leaves the third new feature, Glance. This gives you the capability to switch between apps by hovering your S Pen over a floating app thumbnail.

With all signs pointing to an IP certificating rating for the Galaxy Note 7, we might even see users of the phablet have the capability of writing on the screen even while it is underwater. That would be quite a feat, although we’re not sure when you might need to employ it.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is expected to be unveiled this Tuesday (August 2nd) during Sammy’s Unpacked event in New York City.

source: AndroidGalaxys.net (translated)

Xiaomi’s new VR headset to be unveiled tomorrow?

Xiaomi is rumored to be introducing a VR headset tomorrow

Xiaomi is rumored to be introducing a VR headset tomorrow

Xiaomi is rumored to be introducing its new VR headset tomorrow (Monday, August 1st). The company has posted four videos to Chinese video streaming site YouKu that are related to the device. Unfortunately, the videos are locked down. Reportedly, one of the video titles hints that the VR headset will work with smartphones.

A teaser released by Xiaomi says that tomorrow, we will see unexpected features and experiences. The company also added that pricing of the VR units will be surprising. There has been some talk of a price tag in the neighborhood of $90 USD for the headset.

Back in May, while Google was unveiling its VR platform Daydream, Xiaomi was said to be working on a line of VR hardware and software. The company has opened a verified Weibo account under the @XiaomiVR name, and we could see the company showing off its new VR line shortly. Stay tuned.

source: XiaomiToday

Instagram to let users moderate comments on their own accounts

Unhappy with the comments that your Instagram posts are receiving? Soon, Instagram will allow you to moderate the comments yourself. And if you so desire, you can simply remove the ability for others to leave a comment altogether. The picture and video sharing site points out that different words and phrases mean different things to different people, so it should be up to the account holder to do the editing.

While Instagram has yet to roll out this new feature to the average Joe and Jane, the social media site is giving celebrities and high-volume subscribers the opportunity to test this before the general public. Eventually, all subscribers will be given this editing tool over the next few months. Users will also be able to decide whether to accept comments on a post-by-post basis.

With over 500 million monthly users, Instagram has been hearing about subscribers facing insults and getting harassed by other users in the comments section of a post. By putting the power to moderate the comments into the hands of its users, Instagram doesn’t have to get involved or take a stance on a particular comment.

source: WashingtonPost

Windows 10 Mobile: what’s new from ‘Threshold’ to the ‘Anniversary Update’

Windows 10 Mobile’s big new upgrade is due to hit regular PC users on or around August 2nd, 2016, i.e. in just over 24 hours as I write this, but there’s still much debate as to how fast this will be pushed out to Windows 10 Mobile users – I’ve been sceptical in the past and I still think that ‘Redstone’ isn’t ‘ready’. Certainly not when upgrading ‘normob’ phones, people who won’t know where to turn if things go wrong… But hey, it’s Windows 10 ‘as a service’ these days and it’s perfectly possible that Microsoft will just roll out Redstone (‘Anniversary Update’), warts and all, and then fix bugs after the fact in new updates on a regular schedule. We just don’t know.

Windows Mobile versions

Anyway, in all the coverage we’ve given to the various Windows 10 Mobile Redstone Insider builds, we’ve never gone over the step change improvements for the new ‘14393’ branch over the old ‘10586’ branch, i.e. the ‘Anniversary Update’ over ‘production’ Windows 10 Mobile.

So here goes, it’s quite a significant list – the changelog for PC users making the jump is even bigger, of course, and there are plenty of articles around the Web detailing these. But here’s the much shorter list that’s relevant to phones, i.e. Windows 10 Mobile.

Security

This is almost completely under the hood, but worth putting first. In an age where cyber-crooks are out to get you at every turn, through malformed emails, MMS, dodgy links, and so forth, having an OS and web browser (Edge) that’s hardened and fully up to date is essential. Just look at the knots the Android world is tying itself into as it tries to come to grips with devices and forked or old OS branches, all with known security vulnerabilities, and with tens (if not hundreds) of millions of phones worldwide already compromised to some degree.

Just as I’ve encouraged everyone I know to move up from Windows Vista to 7 to 10, purely on the basis of what’s improved and hardened under the hood, so I’d strongly endorse the security improvements in Redstone, in part powered by the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, spotting malicious URLs before you’re served them up in the Edge. All of the security fixes are invisible in the interface, so they’re not high profile, but they are significant.

And all of this is on top of Windows 10 Mobile (and Windows Phone before it) being the most secure OS in the first place, though admittedly some of this might be due to ‘security by obscurity’.

Better browsing, period

In addition to protecting against security threats, Microsoft Edge includes ‘power-saving improvements, using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory, and minimizing the impact of background activity and peripheral content’.

Although extensions won’t be available yet on Windows 10 Mobile, they’re ‘coming soon’. Just in case you wondered about an ad-blocker. When browsing, you can now swipe left and right, to go forwards and backwards (respectively) in your browsing/window history.

Action Center

Notifications are better spaced and you can also now select how many messages each application can show in Action Center and you can set a priority for each, i.e. where they sit in the notifications list. So you can customise this hugely, perhaps with Facebook at a lot priority and your work Outlook email at the top, each controlled to a certain number of lines. All this is done in Settings/System/Notifications & Actions, just scroll to the bottom of this dialog and you’ll see the individual application controls.

Notifications controlCustomising Action Center buttons

You can now also drag and drop to re-arrange the buttons (in Settings) so you can arrange them however you want (shown above, right).

Cortana improvements

You can now share items with Cortana and ‘she’ will create a reminder for you, based on person, place or time (and actionned by ‘her’ as appropriate). See the screenshot example below. It works using the built in Windows 10 Mobile sharing system, so should work with almost any application. Using the Microsoft Cloud and your account, Cortana can also push notifications to a Windows 10 PC so you get missed call alerts, low battery details and app notifications there. 

Share to CortanaReminder

Store enhancements

The Store client has been facelifted several times, and little of this has been seen so far by ‘Threshold’ users. Most notably, you can now tap through an item that’s installing or updating, to the original item’s page and have a read through. There are also larger download/progress bars to let you know what’s going on, plus information on system requirements and even (sometimes!) a ‘What’s new’ pane. 

ScreenshotScreenshot

Below the famous ‘Check for updates’ button is now an up to date list of everything that’s been installed or updated, in reverse chronological order, complete with version numbers. Very useful, especially if you have automatic app updates turned on. There’s also a Store notification every time something does get installed or updated, but this is a pain and is best turned off in Windows 10 Mobile’s Settings.

Reorganised Settings

There are plenty of detailed tweaks, but one of the biggest (other than double-tap-to-wake’s possible appearance) is probably complete control of each application’s background agent – within Settings/Battery/Battery usage, tapping on any app’s name pops up a dialog letting you choose between ‘Always allowed in background’, ‘Managed by Windows’ and ‘Never allowed in background’.

ScreenshotScreenshot

Notably, Kid’s Corner has been removed, but its functionality is largely duplicated by Apps Corner, as discussed here.

Enhanced Continuum

In addition to a better Continuum experience – and which will continue to improve, compatibility has been widened to include all Miracast displays and Wi-fi-connected Windows 10 Anniversary Edition desktops and laptops. Obviously this needs more testing and an article on its own, so watch this space.

Applications, Applications

In addition to the OS changes, both under the hood and added to the interface, there’s also the ‘app factior’. In this case all the Microsoft and third party applications which have been based around the Redstone APIs and which require the newer version of the operating system in order to run. A good example of this is the first party Skype Preview, i.e. the UWP app that’s Microsoft’s flagship Skype app going forwards, which requires facilities in the Anniversary Update in order to work. And there are many more examples.

What to do to get Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update

Nothing. You’ll be notified in Action Center when the update has been made available for your phone. This applies whether you have a ‘native’ Windows 10 device (think Lumia 950) or an ‘upgraded’ one (think Lumia 830, 930). In either case, as part of the rollout (and expect it to be slowish, with Microsoft looking for issues and tweaking builds as they go), you’ll be notified – you don’t need to keep checking manually, as the automatic check (in the background) runs every few hours anyway.

All this applies to the full compatibility list of Windows 10 Mobile devices, the main ones of which include:

  • Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
  • BLU Win HD W510U
  • BLU Win HD LTE X150Q
  • Lumia 430
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 550
  • Lumia 635 (1GB)
  • Lumia 636 (1GB)
  • Lumia 638 (1GB)
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640 XL
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL
  • Lumia 1520
  • MCJ Madosma Q501

Though extra devices are joining this list all the time, not least the Acer Liquid Jade Primo and the HP Elite X3, both of which ship with Threshold and which will need the update.

…and older phones?

So that’s most interested parties catered for then. But I have to put in my standard caveat that older phones, 2012-2013 vintage, powered by the Snapdragon S4 chip and typically with ’20’ at the end of their name, are not compatible at all with this release of Windows 10 Mobile. If you’ve upgraded any of these phones to W10M ‘Threshold’ via the Insiders ‘Release Preview’ ring then that’s as far as these phones can go. So you’re stranded, albeit stranded on a much more recent OS and set of UWP apps than if the phones had been left on ‘ye olde’ Windows Phone 8.1. So it’s still a net win, arguably, even if not all the UWP apps being produced are compatible. (Note that there is a hack that can take these older phones right up to Redstone, by pretending to be a Lumia 640 or 1520 or whatever, but it’s very, very, VERY tricky. And time consuming. And I still haven’t succeeded. So just don’t bother unless you really want to be geeking out for an entire day. Really.)

We’ll thus end up with a three tier set-up in terms of which OS version phones are on. Much as shown on my original chart, there are phones officially designated to stay on Windows Phone 8.1, phones that were designated this way but which were upgraded anyway to the W10M Insiders ‘Threshold’ Release Preview by knowledgeable users, and officially sanctioned and upgraded phones on the ‘Redstone’ Anniversary Update. Microsoft will only really recognise the last of these tiers, since the first is now too old and the second unofficial, but for what it’s worth, three tiers is what many of us will have to bear in mind in terms of content and applicability here.

Third party Pokemon Go app can now be sideloaded on Windows 10 Mobile handsets

A version of Pokemon Go for Windows 10 Mobile has been written by a third party developer

A version of Pokemon Go for Windows 10 Mobile has been written by a third party developer

You might recall that last week we told you that a third party developer was working on a version of Pokemon Go for Windows 10 Mobile. At the time, the developer made it sound as though he had too much on his plate to finish the job, and was talking about putting the project on the sidelines to pick up later. But ST-Apps received so much encouragement from those using Windows 10 Mobile, that he decided to continue working on the app. And a Beta version is available to be sideloaded onto a Windows 10 Mobile phone right now.

The game is a Universal Windows Platform Client for Niantic’s Pokemon Go, which the developer says will give you “the ability to play in the same game-world as your friends that are playing with an Android or iOS device.” That is true even though the app, called PoGo-UWP, doesn’t offer the same AR and 3D visuals found in the original game.

According to the developer, you still need to open a Pokemon Trainer Club account, and you still need to open the iOS/Android game to select your starter Pokemon (you can use Bluestacks to do this). The rest of the directions can be found at the sourcelink. Keep in mind that there are two different methods of installing the game, one for beginners and one for experts. Unless you’re a developer, stick with the former.

Another thing to consider is that Niantic can put the kibosh on this whole thing by sending out a Cease and Desist letter or pulling access to the API. And this is a Beta build which means that there are some issues. One major one is a bug that crashes the game when you tap or pan the map after catching a Pokemon or visiting a PokeStop.

Obviously there is some heavy demand from Windows 10 Mobile users for this game. The petition that was put up on Change.org requesting that Niantic build a version of Pokemon Go for the platform, now has just under 100,000 signatures in less than three weeks..

source: GitHub via Reddit

Pick up this $3.99 game for $0; it’s Apple’s free app of the week

How would you like to save $3.99? Apple’s free app of the week is Power Hover. The game allows you to be a hover board sporting robot, and your task is to find the bad guy who plunged your village into darkness by stealing batteries. There are 30 levels to play, and a separate Challenge mode allows you to participate without getting involved in the story line. There are also Boss levels, and the soundtrack supplies the motivation to break the law of gravity.

There is a trailer for Power Hover which you can view by clicking on the video at the top of the story. The game has had some pretty good reviews, and considering that it won’t cost you a dime at the moment, the only things you are giving up is some storage on your device and your time. The former might be more important than the latter.

To download the app, click on the link below.

Download Power Hover by clicking on this link

source: Apple

Windows 10 Mobile: what’s new from ‘Threshold’ to the ‘Anniversary Update’

Windows 10 Mobile’s big new upgrade is due to hit regular PC users on or around August 2nd, 2016, i.e. in just over 24 hours as I write this, but there’s still much debate as to how fast this will be pushed out to Windows 10 Mobile users – I’ve been sceptical in the past and I still think that ‘Redstone’ isn’t ‘ready’. Certainly not when upgrading ‘normob’ phones, people who won’t know where to turn if things go wrong… But hey, it’s Windows 10 ‘as a service’ these days and it’s perfectly possible that Microsoft will just roll out Redstone (‘Anniversary Update’), warts and all, and then fix bugs after the fact in new updates on a regular schedule. We just don’t know.

Windows Mobile versions

Anyway, in all the coverage we’ve given to the various Windows 10 Mobile Redstone Insider builds, we’ve never gone over the step change improvements for the new ‘14393’ branch over the old ‘10586’ branch, i.e. the ‘Anniversary Update’ over ‘production’ Windows 10 Mobile.

So here goes, it’s quite a significant list – the changelog for PC users making the jump is even bigger, of course, and there are plenty of articles around the Web detailing these. But here’s the much shorter list that’s relevant to phones, i.e. Windows 10 Mobile.

Security

This is almost completely under the hood, but worth putting first. In an age where cyber-crooks are out to get you at every turn, through malformed emails, MMS, dodgy links, and so forth, having an OS and web browser (Edge) that’s hardened and fully up to date is essential. Just look at the knots the Android world is tying itself into as it tries to come to grips with devices and forked or old OS branches, all with known security vulnerabilities, and with tens (if not hundreds) of millions of phones worldwide already compromised to some degree.

Just as I’ve encouraged everyone I know to move up from Windows Vista to 7 to 10, purely on the basis of what’s improved and hardened under the hood, so I’d strongly endorse the security improvements in Redstone, in part powered by the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, spotting malicious URLs before you’re served them up in the Edge. All of the security fixes are invisible in the interface, so they’re not high profile, but they are significant.

And all of this is on top of Windows 10 Mobile (and Windows Phone before it) being the most secure OS in the first place, though admittedly some of this might be due to ‘security by obscurity’.

Better browsing, period

In addition to protecting against security threats, Microsoft Edge includes ‘power-saving improvements, using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory, and minimizing the impact of background activity and peripheral content’.

Although extensions won’t be available yet on Windows 10 Mobile, they’re ‘coming soon’. Just in case you wondered about an ad-blocker. When browsing, you can now swipe left and right, to go forwards and backwards (respectively) in your browsing/window history.

Action Center

Notifications are better spaced and you can also now select how many messages each application can show in Action Center and you can set a priority for each, i.e. where they sit in the notifications list. So you can customise this hugely, perhaps with Facebook at a lot priority and your work Outlook email at the top, each controlled to a certain number of lines. All this is done in Settings/System/Notifications & Actions, just scroll to the bottom of this dialog and you’ll see the individual application controls.

Notifications controlCustomising Action Center buttons

You can now also drag and drop to re-arrange the buttons (in Settings) so you can arrange them however you want (shown above, right).

Cortana improvements

You can now share items with Cortana and ‘she’ will create a reminder for you, based on person, place or time (and actionned by ‘her’ as appropriate). See the screenshot example below. It works using the built in Windows 10 Mobile sharing system, so should work with almost any application. Using the Microsoft Cloud and your account, Cortana can also push notifications to a Windows 10 PC so you get missed call alerts, low battery details and app notifications there. 

Share to CortanaReminder

Store enhancements

The Store client has been facelifted several times, and little of this has been seen so far by ‘Threshold’ users. Most notably, you can now tap through an item that’s installing or updating, to the original item’s page and have a read through. There are also larger download/progress bars to let you know what’s going on, plus information on system requirements and even (sometimes!) a ‘What’s new’ pane. 

ScreenshotScreenshot

Below the famous ‘Check for updates’ button is now an up to date list of everything that’s been installed or updated, in reverse chronological order, complete with version numbers. Very useful, especially if you have automatic app updates turned on. There’s also a Store notification every time something does get installed or updated, but this is a pain and is best turned off in Windows 10 Mobile’s Settings.

Reorganised Settings

There are plenty of detailed tweaks, but one of the biggest (other than double-tap-to-wake’s possible appearance) is probably complete control of each application’s background agent – within Settings/Battery/Battery usage, tapping on any app’s name pops up a dialog letting you choose between ‘Always allowed in background’, ‘Managed by Windows’ and ‘Never allowed in background’.

ScreenshotScreenshot

Notably, Kid’s Corner has been removed, but its functionality is largely duplicated by Apps Corner, as discussed here.

Enhanced Continuum

In addition to a better Continuum experience – and which will continue to improve, compatibility has been widened to include all Miracast displays and Wi-fi-connected Windows 10 Anniversary Edition desktops and laptops. Obviously this needs more testing and an article on its own, so watch this space.

Applications, Applications

In addition to the OS changes, both under the hood and added to the interface, there’s also the ‘app factior’. In this case all the Microsoft and third party applications which have been based around the Redstone APIs and which require the newer version of the operating system in order to run. A good example of this is the first party Skype Preview, i.e. the UWP app that’s Microsoft’s flagship Skype app going forwards, which requires facilities in the Anniversary Update in order to work. And there are many more examples.

What to do to get Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update

Nothing. You’ll be notified in Action Center when the update has been made available for your phone. This applies whether you have a ‘native’ Windows 10 device (think Lumia 950) or an ‘upgraded’ one (think Lumia 830, 930). In either case, as part of the rollout (and expect it to be slowish, with Microsoft looking for issues and tweaking builds as they go), you’ll be notified – you don’t need to keep checking manually, as the automatic check (in the background) runs every few hours anyway.

All this applies to the full compatibility list of Windows 10 Mobile devices, the main ones of which include:

  • Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
  • BLU Win HD W510U
  • BLU Win HD LTE X150Q
  • Lumia 430
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 550
  • Lumia 635 (1GB)
  • Lumia 636 (1GB)
  • Lumia 638 (1GB)
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640 XL
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL
  • Lumia 1520
  • MCJ Madosma Q501

Though extra devices are joining this list all the time, not least the Acer Liquid Jade Primo and the HP Elite X3, both of which ship with Threshold and which will need the update.

…and older phones?

So that’s most interested parties catered for then. But I have to put in my standard caveat that older phones, 2012-2013 vintage, powered by the Snapdragon S4 chip and typically with ’20’ at the end of their name, are not compatible at all with this release of Windows 10 Mobile. If you’ve upgraded any of these phones to W10M ‘Threshold’ via the Insiders ‘Release Preview’ ring then that’s as far as these phones can go. So you’re stranded, albeit stranded on a much more recent OS and set of UWP apps than if the phones had been left on ‘ye olde’ Windows Phone 8.1. So it’s still a net win, arguably, even if not all the UWP apps being produced are compatible. (Note that there is a hack that can take these older phones right up to Redstone, by pretending to be a Lumia 640 or 1520 or whatever, but it’s very, very, VERY tricky. And time consuming. And I still haven’t succeeded. So just don’t bother unless you really want to be geeking out for an entire day. Really.)

We’ll thus end up with a three tier set-up in terms of which OS version phones are on. Much as shown on my original chart, there are phones officially designated to stay on Windows Phone 8.1, phones that were designated this way but which were upgraded anyway to the W10M Insiders ‘Threshold’ Release Preview by knowledgeable users, and officially sanctioned and upgraded phones on the ‘Redstone’ Anniversary Update. Microsoft will only really recognise the last of these tiers, since the first is now too old and the second unofficial, but for what it’s worth, three tiers is what many of us will have to bear in mind in terms of content and applicability here.

Windows 10 Mobile: what’s new from ‘Threshold’ to the ‘Anniversary Update’

Windows 10 Mobile’s big new upgrade is due to hit regular PC users on or around August 2nd, 2016, i.e. in just over 24 hours as I write this, but there’s still much debate as to how fast this will be pushed out to Windows 10 Mobile users – I’ve been sceptical in the past and I still think that ‘Redstone’ isn’t ‘ready’. Certainly not when upgrading ‘normob’ phones, people who won’t know where to turn if things go wrong… But hey, it’s Windows 10 ‘as a service’ these days and it’s perfectly possible that Microsoft will just roll out Redstone (‘Anniversary Update’), warts and all, and then fix bugs after the fact in new updates on a regular schedule. We just don’t know.

Windows Mobile versions

Anyway, in all the coverage we’ve given to the various Windows 10 Mobile Redstone Insider builds, we’ve never gone over the step change improvements for the new ‘14393’ branch over the old ‘10586’ branch, i.e. the ‘Anniversary Update’ over ‘production’ Windows 10 Mobile.

So here goes, it’s quite a significant list – the changelog for PC users making the jump is even bigger, of course, and there are plenty of articles around the Web detailing these. But here’s the much shorter list that’s relevant to phones, i.e. Windows 10 Mobile.

Security

This is almost completely under the hood, but worth putting first. In an age where cyber-crooks are out to get you at every turn, through malformed emails, MMS, dodgy links, and so forth, having an OS and web browser (Edge) that’s hardened and fully up to date is essential. Just look at the knots the Android world is tying itself into as it tries to come to grips with devices and forked or old OS branches, all with known security vulnerabilities, and with tens (if not hundreds) of millions of phones worldwide already compromised to some degree.

Just as I’ve encouraged everyone I know to move up from Windows Vista to 7 to 10, purely on the basis of what’s improved and hardened under the hood, so I’d strongly endorse the security improvements in Redstone, in part powered by the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, spotting malicious URLs before you’re served them up in the Edge. All of the security fixes are invisible in the interface, so they’re not high profile, but they are significant.

And all of this is on top of Windows 10 Mobile (and Windows Phone before it) being the most secure OS in the first place, though admittedly some of this might be due to ‘security by obscurity’.

Better browsing, period

In addition to protecting against security threats, Microsoft Edge includes ‘power-saving improvements, using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory, and minimizing the impact of background activity and peripheral content’.

Although extensions won’t be available yet on Windows 10 Mobile, they’re ‘coming soon’. Just in case you wondered about an ad-blocker. When browsing, you can now swipe left and right, to go forwards and backwards (respectively) in your browsing/window history.

Action Center

Notifications are better spaced and you can also now select how many messages each application can show in Action Center and you can set a priority for each, i.e. where they sit in the notifications list. So you can customise this hugely, perhaps with Facebook at a lot priority and your work Outlook email at the top, each controlled to a certain number of lines. All this is done in Settings/System/Notifications & Actions, just scroll to the bottom of this dialog and you’ll see the individual application controls.

Notifications controlCustomising Action Center buttons

You can now also drag and drop to re-arrange the buttons (in Settings) so you can arrange them however you want (shown above, right).

Cortana improvements

You can now share items with Cortana and ‘she’ will create a reminder for you, based on person, place or time (and actionned by ‘her’ as appropriate). See the screenshot example below. It works using the built in Windows 10 Mobile sharing system, so should work with almost any application. Using the Microsoft Cloud and your account, Cortana can also push notifications to a Windows 10 PC so you get missed call alerts, low battery details and app notifications there. 

Share to CortanaReminder

Store enhancements

The Store client has been facelifted several times, and little of this has been seen so far by ‘Threshold’ users. Most notably, you can now tap through an item that’s installing or updating, to the original item’s page and have a read through. There are also larger download/progress bars to let you know what’s going on, plus information on system requirements and even (sometimes!) a ‘What’s new’ pane. 

ScreenshotScreenshot

Below the famous ‘Check for updates’ button is now an up to date list of everything that’s been installed or updated, in reverse chronological order, complete with version numbers. Very useful, especially if you have automatic app updates turned on. There’s also a Store notification every time something does get installed or updated, but this is a pain and is best turned off in Windows 10 Mobile’s Settings.

Reorganised Settings

There are plenty of detailed tweaks, but one of the biggest (other than double-tap-to-wake’s possible appearance) is probably complete control of each application’s background agent – within Settings/Battery/Battery usage, tapping on any app’s name pops up a dialog letting you choose between ‘Always allowed in background’, ‘Managed by Windows’ and ‘Never allowed in background’.

ScreenshotScreenshot

Notably, Kid’s Corner has been removed, but its functionality is largely duplicated by Apps Corner, as discussed here.

Enhanced Continuum

In addition to a better Continuum experience – and which will continue to improve, compatibility has been widened to include all Miracast displays and Wi-fi-connected Windows 10 Anniversary Edition desktops and laptops. Obviously this needs more testing and an article on its own, so watch this space.

Applications, Applications

In addition to the OS changes, both under the hood and added to the interface, there’s also the ‘app factior’. In this case all the Microsoft and third party applications which have been based around the Redstone APIs and which require the newer version of the operating system in order to run. A good example of this is the first party Skype Preview, i.e. the UWP app that’s Microsoft’s flagship Skype app going forwards, which requires facilities in the Anniversary Update in order to work. And there are many more examples.

What to do to get Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update

Nothing. You’ll be notified in Action Center when the update has been made available for your phone. This applies whether you have a ‘native’ Windows 10 device (think Lumia 950) or an ‘upgraded’ one (think Lumia 830, 930). In either case, as part of the rollout (and expect it to be slowish, with Microsoft looking for issues and tweaking builds as they go), you’ll be notified – you don’t need to keep checking manually, as the automatic check (in the background) runs every few hours anyway.

All this applies to the full compatibility list of Windows 10 Mobile devices, the main ones of which include:

  • Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
  • BLU Win HD W510U
  • BLU Win HD LTE X150Q
  • Lumia 430
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 550
  • Lumia 635 (1GB)
  • Lumia 636 (1GB)
  • Lumia 638 (1GB)
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640 XL
  • Lumia 650
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 950
  • Lumia 950 XL
  • Lumia 1520
  • MCJ Madosma Q501

Though extra devices are joining this list all the time, not least the Acer Liquid Jade Primo and the HP Elite X3, both of which ship with Threshold and which will need the update.

…and older phones?

So that’s most interested parties catered for then. But I have to put in my standard caveat that older phones, 2012-2013 vintage, powered by the Snapdragon S4 chip and typically with ’20’ at the end of their name, are not compatible at all with this release of Windows 10 Mobile. If you’ve upgraded any of these phones to W10M ‘Threshold’ via the Insiders ‘Release Preview’ ring then that’s as far as these phones can go. So you’re stranded, albeit stranded on a much more recent OS and set of UWP apps than if the phones had been left on ‘ye olde’ Windows Phone 8.1. So it’s still a net win, arguably, even if not all the UWP apps being produced are compatible. (Note that there is a hack that can take these older phones right up to Redstone, by pretending to be a Lumia 640 or 1520 or whatever, but it’s very, very, VERY tricky. And time consuming. And I still haven’t succeeded. So just don’t bother unless you really want to be geeking out for an entire day. Really.)

We’ll thus end up with a three tier set-up in terms of which OS version phones are on. Much as shown on my original chart, there are phones officially designated to stay on Windows Phone 8.1, phones that were designated this way but which were upgraded anyway to the W10M Insiders ‘Threshold’ Release Preview by knowledgeable users, and officially sanctioned and upgraded phones on the ‘Redstone’ Anniversary Update. Microsoft will only really recognise the last of these tiers, since the first is now too old and the second unofficial, but for what it’s worth, three tiers is what many of us will have to bear in mind in terms of content and applicability here.

Patent application filed by Apple for the Digital Crown shows it being used on the iPad

Apple has already taken the force touch feature from the Apple Watch and turned it into 3D Touch for the iPhone. Now, it appears that Apple might be borrowing from its smartwatch once again for a future new feature for the iPhone and iPod. The Digital Crown found on the side of the timepiece has certain functions on the watch. Now, it is the subject of a patent application made by Apple that shows it being used by another device than the tech titan’s smartwatch.

The Digital Crown on the Apple Watch, can be used for zooming, scrolling and can return you to the home screen. On the iPhone or iPad, it can be used to raise or lower volume, resize text, lock the touchscreen or to take a photograph. The patent application adds, “In some examples, the device may not have a border region and may instead have a surface composed only of touch screen.” This appears to be quite timely since there is speculation that the 2017 Apple iPhone will feature an edge-to-edge screen with no bezels for a home button.

Early speculation has a Touch ID button embedded in the screen on the 2017 iPhone, but a Digital Crown might be a less complicated solution for Apple. We do need to point out that the patent application was filed in the first quarter of 2014, which does make it unlikely that it was filed with the 2017 iPhone in mind. Still, we could be on the verge of a major design change for next year’s handset and the Digital Crown could be a useful tool.

via PatentlyApple

Google Maps adds multi-stop feature to iOS version

Google Maps for iOS now comes with the multi-stop feature

Google Maps for iOS now comes with the multi-stop feature

Already available on the Android version of Google Maps, multi-stop directions is now a feature for those using the app on an iOS device. With this feature, iOS users are now just a tap away from receiving directions to multiple destinations. Once you enter a location, you can add additional stops by clicking on “Add stop” in the corner. And you can change the order of your trip by customizing the order of the destinations on your list.

When you’ve finished adding all of the destinations, click on “Done” and you will experience the usual smooth navigation from the first stop on your list all the way to the last. While we are still in the midst of the summer driving season, this feature definitely comes in handy and certainly saves you time.

Instead of having to stop and re-enter the next address each time you complete one leg of your journey, all you do is enter all of the addresses before you start out on the road. Make sure that the order of each stop is exactly where you want it, and start navigating. 

Yes, it’s been years since Apple Maps was considered life threatening. But if you totally rely on Apple Maps, it doesn’t hurt to have a back up. To download Google Maps on your iOS device, simply click on the link below.

Download Google Maps on your iOS device

source: Google