Windows Phone News

Sometimes it's the simplest apps that we use and love the most. This one, Sound Recorder, in Windows 10 for phones, fits into that category. For those of us that take voice notes often, it's a daily staple that has to be there. Just as with a Calculator app, or an Alarm clock, and so on.

The Sound Recorder Windows 10 app is minimal in styling, but still mighty effective with some good features at the same time. Here's a quick first look.

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The Lumia Denim update is like a glacier melting, slowly but surely happening. Microsoft have been quite forthright about updates saying "early 2015", which for some means January 2 at 12:01 am, for others by March 1. Indeed, every day we are getting random tips from people around the globe noting they now have the update.

India is arguably one of the largest Windows Phone markets, but so far only the Lumia 520 has Denim in that country.

Now, Microsoft India in personally responding to many inquiries that all eligible Lumias should have the update by the end of the month.

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Windows 10 for phones is going to be big news for some time to come, and with each future release of the Technical Preview we'll learn more and more about where Microsoft is going next with smartphones. There's a lot to take in and a lot to keep track of, but we've got you covered.

With a dedicated page just for Windows 10 for phones, everything you'll need to know will be found there. Every tip, trick, how-to, news piece and more besides, all in one handy place.

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Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2 documents reveal new changes in a future update

All eyes are on Windows 10 for phone these days, even for Microsoft, who have shifted development to focus on the new OS. Reports going back to April 2014 note that Windows Phone 8.1 was to have at least two GDR (General Distribution Release) updates over its lifespan. Windows Phone 8.1.1 came out last year, but the fate of GDR2 (8.1.2) or Update 2 was not so clear.

Now, Microsoft has published documents on Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2 dated January 28, 2015. Usually, such information is put behind a firewall and is limited to manufacturing partners only – that is, these docs do not reflect consumer-facing features and may be hidden again.

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When Microsoft released Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones, one of the highlighted features was the new Photos app. The preview is still very much under development and there are still some rough edges, but it enables users to help send feedback. The biggest change in the Photos app is that it automatically displays photos from across your PC and phone via auto syncing OneDrive service. Want to see it in action? Take a look at our hands-on video.

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For some time now there have been reports that so-called 'actionable notifications' were headed for Windows and Windows Phone. That feature is finally here with Windows 10.

Actionable notifications are Toast alerts that a user can interact with instead of just dismissing. For instance, we already know that Skype and Messaging are merging in Windows 10 as an updatable app. When a message comes in from a user, you can respond inline to that message without having to launch the app. That app is not yet present in Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for phones, but the new Alarms app is and we'll show you how it works.

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It's no secret that Microsoft has done pretty well with low-priced, budget spec Windows Phones. The Lumia 520 to this date is still one of the most popular Windows Phones of all time, and there have been several since. Joining the likes of the 530, 535 and 630/635 now is this, the Lumia 435. And with a drop down from 5 to 4, it's easy to presume that this is the new standard for the entry level device.

Announced with the 532 as only the second (and third) devices to come with the Microsoft badge over the old Nokia one, the 435 enters a crowded space. And it's crowded through Microsoft's own doing. There's such a selection at the budget end that it's hard to choose an outright winner. The Lumia 435 has to compete against several of its own siblings, and it's capable of holding its own.

Read on for our first impressions.

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One of the less glamorous, yet still essential, new apps in the Windows 10 Preview for phones is the Calculator. It's one of those apps we just assume will be there when we need it, but with Windows 10 it's becoming immensely more useful. Gone is the simplistic Calculator of old from Windows Phone 8.1, and in comes a new, feature packed version with scientific calculators and conversions galore.

Read on for a quick look at what it can do for you.

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We've been busy playing with Windows 10 preview for phone in the past few hours. Only a few devices are currently supported, so many eager fans still have to wait. One of the new things in the preview that I wanted to check out was the keyboard. It includes a precision pointing stick, voice dictation, and a new shortcut to emoticons. Want to see the new keyboard in action? Watch our hands-on video.

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If you installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, you may have noticed that the start screen renders tiles differently from what we've seen in Windows Phone 8.1. Tiles that use the theme color were transparent in Windows Phone 8.1, allowing you to see the background image, but in Windows 10 for phones, the tiles are merely translucent. If you're a fan of transparent tiles, you're in luck, as Microsoft's Joe Belfiore announced that the feature will be making its way to Windows 10 for phones.

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One of the many smaller changes that are found in the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones is in regards to the overhauled Notification and Action Center. On Windows Phone 8.1, users can swipe away notifications but only as a group based on the app. For instance, you can clear your Outlook email alerts, but it is all email or nothing.

However, in Windows 10, swiping to the right clears just the one notification instead of the whole group.

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Here's a neat little feature that Microsoft has slipped into the new Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones. In Windows Phone 8.1, shutting down the phone gives you the simple, albeit pleasant "goodbye" message. But when you shut it down in Windows 10, you'll get a little reminder of your next calendar appointment.

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If there is one thing people love to have – even on a phone – it is a File Explorer. Microsoft previously gave us an app called Files for Windows Phone 8.1, but Windows 10 for phone takes it a step further with a real, Modern File Explorer app for desktop and your phone.

Tune into our video tour of this app, including its features and functions. The app is demonstrated on both the Lumia 830 (AT&T) and Lumia 635 (T-Mobile).

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