You notice big improvements also preloaded apps from Microsoft. The most emblematic is probably the Store: there are now more info, richer graphics and many functions with side navigation menu. Great leaderboards, which make the search and discovery of the app much more engaging. There are also personalized suggestions based on the chronology of the installed apps and games, just as they do on Google Play. There’s also the unification of contents: apps, games, music, movies and TV series converge in one store. Than Play miss the books, although the presence of the most common platform for eBooks, Amazon Kindle, makes the gap less relevant. The tile of the home is also animated, that never hurts. By the way: the tiles are now the rule, although some apps (Skype and Office on all) continue to use the solid color. Very likely that, at the exit of Windows Mobile 10, this behavior is corrected.
The same can be said for Word, though also in Preview release, which finally gets the functionality of saving/automatic synchronization and real-time features toolbar and commands available to richer than Google Docs. Important detail: If you switch from Google Docs to Word Online, you’ll notice that saving documents is a little slower on the Microsoft platform. Make sure that the message below the page change from SAVING… SAVED IN SKYDRIVE, before closing. It may take a few seconds, typically no more than ten.
Microsoft Edge represents a great step forward compared to Internet Explorer. Load times have decreased considerably, and the scrolling/pan/pinch on the page is significantly smoother (and Quick, which are two very different and equally important aspects). There are some occasional performance issues, such as the considerable delay between pressing a link and its effective aperture, but on the other hand also Edge is still in beta. It is evident, however, that the Web browsing experience has the potential to be at least at the level of the other platforms.
Maybe the app that got the most amazing improvement is the keyboard, mainly because I never expected that the already excellent WP keyboard could still make a similar leap forward. To begin with, now in the top bar there is the hint of it when you write it; and then there is the introduction of a practical d-pad, between a letter and the other without extra bulk, which makes it really comfortable moving the cursor within the text. You can also move to the right of the keyboard, to allow operation with only one hand on display very large. Now we would just to settle a capital letter after a colon.
The alarm app now includes a nice World Clock, complete with a live tile for each time zone/location that you want to monitor; the Gallery of photos from local fishing information from OneDrive that device (just a few hours ago the new build also introduced the folders);There is a file manager integrated, although does not allow to explore the “protected”; and so much more. It is still a delicate moment: we are rebranding, that app will exit, and (reasonably) feature-deficient counterparts because of the transition.
And the Google Apps?
As I have said on more than one occasion, for an Android user (as well as iOS, in hindsight) long-time renounce Google services is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. For W10M there are indications that Google has decided to change course, and publish his app officially. The search giant’s position remains the same: until the system will have an appropriate market share, there is the intention to prove themselves.
In this context, it made quite a stir the whole Project Astoria, and the tool that lets you install and run Network leaked in Android app starting simply from APK, unmodified. Things have become very interesting in a few weeks: there are already those who managed to install even the Play Store and Play Services by Google, allowing the actual usability of Google Maps, Drive, Docs and company also on Windows Phone. For the time being is a procedure for advanced users, with performance issues more or less evident, but the implications are very greedy. Of course, unofficial methods often have negative aspects in terms of reliability (especially on the long term) and performance, but not always. It’s hard to say if it will ever be a time when Google Apps will be a viable alternative to Windows Phone, or whether they will remain forever an interesting experiment but imperfect. Will be interesting to follow the evolution.
Performance (for that matter)
The performance of the build of W10M that I tried are considerably lower than impeccable Windows Phone app is loaded with flashy slowdowns 8.1, in the return to home, even the depth of the menu. All this is perfectly plausible on a system not definitive, indeed: we would be very surprising to the contrary. Things change however to build in build; There are improvements in some respects and worse in others, but it is extremely interesting and somewhat fun to watch the growth of a new operating system, feel also somehow protagonist. While Nexus fan, have you ever installed the developer preview of Android M or at the time of Android L, you know perfectly well what I mean.
Week 4: considerations
Judging from what I’ve seen in these few days of use, looks like Windows Mobile 10 will bereally the most important upgrade of Microsoft’s mobile OS. The present state of things isn’t for everyone, of course, but it gives us hope for the future. And then, go back to Windows Phone 8.1 is a fairly simple process, thanks to official Microsoft tool. Among other things,honourable mention for the backup system: after reset/hard reset, simply enter your login details to find the system exactly as it was left before, including the layout of the Start screen and customized settings of the device. Windows Phone will download automatically all apps installed at the time of reset.
This week is all about: the next to final conclusions.