I've stepped in and borrowed Dan's desk for this weekend (not really, but his looks a lot cooler than mine) to wrap up at the end of what's been a very busy period in these parts. In quick succession we've had a new desktop build of the Windows 10 preview, a new phone build of the Windows 10 preview, a new Surface and new Windows Phones among the rest of the daily news cycle.
And it's not going to get any quieter any time soon. Not with that little thing called Build coming up in a few weeks.
But through it all there's one thought that's been nagging in the back of my mind. It manifested during a briefing earlier this week with Microsoft in London. And that's that we should all remember to keep our expectations in check.
Specifically, the Q&A session after the main presentation, a local launch brief for the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, brought about one of the gathered press digging for information about how Windows 10 will push out to phones later this year. The response? That carriers and their testing and certification will likely play a huge part in the initial update, and so it's pretty unlikely everyone on every phone will get it all at once.
It's not at all surprising, but it is a reminder that while we're all going to be excited to get new things as soon as we possibly can, software updates on phones have largely been at the mercy of the carriers. Just ask Lumia Icon owners. There may well be methods for nerds to get it much faster that we don't yet know about, maybe through a continuation of the Preview for Developers program. But for the average Windows Phone owner there will be some kind of a wait in store. So before we get too carried away about when Microsoft is going to release it, we should all take a deep breath and remember that it isn't just Microsoft we have to worry about.
That same process of managing expectations is important to remember across the board. It's important to consider the facts before letting our emotional responses get the better of us. We've got the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL in for review at the moment, and already it's clear there is a mixed response. There are those that just aren't interested in anything until a new 'flagship' arrives.
There are also those who perhaps expect a little too much, one example being from the camera. We all want the best bang for our buck when we're buying a phone. But it's also important to consider who these devices are targeted at, specifically the price point. When you can buy the Lumia 640 for £99 here in the UK, why would it ever have a camera that can compete with the likes of the more expensive 830, 930 and so on?
And then there's the Windows 10 technical previews. The key is the last two words. These aren't developer previews. They're not betas. They're extremely early versions of future software that we're lucky Microsoft is choosing to share with us. The Windows 10 team wants our feedback. But they can surely do without complaints that "xx broke on my phone, I can't use it anymore." For starters it's always been a recommendation to avoid the previews on your main/only phone. Microsoft is even good enough to tell us what they know doesn't work, yet they're still happy to share the build. Again, we all need to be responsible enough to check our expectations and treat it as what it is.
Massive hat tip to Microsoft's Gabe Aul, too. The man is a saint. Read his Twitter stream most days and you'll understand why.
The Windows and Windows Phone community is a passionate, excitable bunch. That's truly a great thing. But it's also a thing that can lead to heart overruling head. Passion has its place. But so does being sensible. We're all guilty of getting over excited. It's a long year ahead, we'll have plenty to direct it on.
Some more quick hits while we're here:
- During my time with Microsoft earlier this week I finally saw what I'd call the Unicorn of Windows Phones right now, the gold Lumia 830. And it's hot. Hopefully more on that soon, so stay tuned.
- I'm having a lot of fun with the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL. We're trying to do a little more these days with new phones, doing more break out posts in place of just going dark and popping up with a full review. Hopefully you guys are liking them, but definitely let us know if there's something you'd like to see. No promises, but we're here to help.
- And that's part of the reason we're breaking out more posts specific to these new phones. Many things are constants within Windows Phone, but not everyone who buys a new device reads Windows Central (yet.) Regular readers may not find all of them useful, but we're here for all Windows Phone users, new and old.
- Pound for pound the Lumia 640 might be the best value Windows Phone you can buy right now. I haven't fully made my mind up on that.
- You may have noticed a few changes around here. We're changing up how things look (and perform) but we've also welcomed some new faces to the Windows Central team in recent weeks. Jez Corden is a fellow Brit and has come on board to head up our Xbox/Gaming content push, Jason Ward will be bringing you some thought provoking editorial pieces on the Microsoft ecosystem and Mauro Huculak is going to give our coverage of Windows 10 a definite boost. If you didn't already, say hi!
- I finally played Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare this week. And beat the campaign mode with more ease than any Call of Duty game to date. Not to say I didn't enjoy it, especially the cameo from Kevin Spacey. But there are so many excellent games in the Xbox One store from ID@Xbox developers, like Ori and the Blind Forest, that are more fun to play for longer. And much less expensive.
- I'll never, ever, buy a game based on its multiplayer experience. I'm not that kind of gamer. Sorry.
- Microsoft Band finally ships in the UK this week. I've had mine since CES week, and still enjoy it as much now as I did then. Hoping British buyers feel the same when they get theirs.
That's about it. Things won't be slowing down any time soon, so let's get back to it.