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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: August 30, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story.

Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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For Windows Phone fans, it has been a very interesting week in terms of spoiling Microsoft's October surprise. A new photo of one of the two new flagships leaked out on Wednesday night and quickly followed by some renders via Evleaks of both Windows 10 phones.

This morning, a third render showing Talkman (aka the 5.2-inch version) in matte white was posted on Nokibar's Weibo account giving a slightly new perspective (along with confirmation of 4 likely HAAC microphones).

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Back in January, some of us were able to see Microsoft's vision for integrating Skype into Windows 10 Mobile. At the time, we noted that the method was very reminiscent of how Windows Phone 7 worked with Facebook messaging. Microsoft in effect is looking to merge seamlessly Skype messaging into the regular SMS app for a unified experience. Users can still use the standalone app, but most will want the lighter Messaging for quick communication.

Skype is built into Windows 10 for Phone and has an updatable Messaging app

Now, the site OneTile.ru has managed to get their hands on an early preview of Skype, Messaging and Video. The app is still premature as it is meant only for debugging and development purposes and not for regular usage. Having said that the system app is expected for this fall for both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 PC. Here is what we know so far:

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Earlier this morning, we reported the news-not-so-news about phones with only 4GB of internal storage not receiving the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade. The revelation also repeated the list of phones that Microsoft states are getting Windows 10 Mobile, a list initially released at the end of July.

For many users, the natural question was What about my phone? For example, many Lumia 1520 users are wondering why they are not getting Windows 10 Mobile. The short answer is you are getting Windows 10 Mobile if you opt into the Windows Insider program.

Why the list?

The list of Lumia Windows Phones that are "officially" getting Windows 10 Mobile is quite lengthy.

Eligible phones for Windows 10 Mobile upgrade (so far)

  • Lumia 430
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640 XL
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 930

However, many people are wondering why only some phones are getting the update. Here are a few reasons for the prioritization:

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As Windows 10 Mobile heads into the final stretch in its development, its scheduling and update limitations are starting to become clearer. One of those limitations effects Windows Phones with less than 8GB of dedicated internal storage. Phones with 4GB of internal storage are evidently going to sit out the upgrade.

The news comes via the German version of the Windows 10 Mobile site. Under the section detailing that current phones will get the update it notably mentions "8GB internal memory required." Interestingly, the U.S. version of the same page does not mention this necessity. However, it does list devices with only 8GB of internal storage.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile is a very different OS from previous versions of Windows Phone in one respect: it is a more full-featured OS. This feature should not surprise anyone as Windows 10 Mobile share the same kernel, some APIs, and other coding similarities with Windows 10 for PC, Windows 10 on Xbox One and even IoT. Logically, this should mean that Windows 10 Mobile can be pried open to reveal its internal file structure like a true OS. Think of Windows Mobile and Android, for instance.

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This morning, AdDuplex, a partner with Windows Central and deliverer of cross-app promotions for Windows and Windows Phone devs, has released their August numbers for Windows Phone. The data is collected 5,000 apps running on all the Windows Phone in the global market and reveals current trends within the world of Windows mobile.

Considering that the last Windows Phones released on a wide-scale are the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, there has been little momentum recently. Pooled with Windows Phone 8.1 effectively being in a holding pattern as we wait for Windows 10 Mobile, this month's numbers are a little less exciting.

However, the Lumia 640 is finally making inroads into the small Windows Phone market, particularly in the US.

Lumia 640 races to #2 spot in U.S.

It was only in last month's AdDuplex stats (July, 2015) did we see the Lumia 640 for the first time in the US. The phone entered in the #10 spot, but just 30 days later it has achieved #2 with 8.8 percent of all Windows Phone in usage besting the old Lumia 521.

The Lumia 635 is still king at 31.4 percent, and we now have some numbers for some of the older flagship phones:

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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: August 23, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story.

Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: August 16, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story.

Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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Windows Phones are helping the NYPD fight crime

The New York Police Department began piloting a program in late 2014 to equip its officers with Windows Phones, and it appears to be paying off. In a new report, officers describe how Windows Phones have helped them to more quickly react to nearby crimes and contact victims and witnesses.

Apps on the Windows Phones can monitor incoming 911 calls, displaying the reported crime and a the phone number of the person who called it in. The report from ABC 7 New York describes one of many cases where this quick access to witnesses has paid off:

"I observed a fight on Westchester and Morrison just a couple of blocks away - there was a number attached to the 911 call," says Officer Espinal.

Officer Espinal called it, and spoke to an EMS worker, a witness who described the suspect. Officer Espinal then radioed with other officers.

"Responding officers were able to go in that direction, and not only did they recover the weapon that was used in the crime, but also able to locate the perp," adds Officer Espinal.

Not only are officers able to more proactively react to nearby crimes, but the Windows Phones also help as a translation tool. To check out more, be sure to watch the video from ABC 7 embedded below.

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Earlier, I wrote an article detailing how to generate a QR code for the Windows Store using a Chrome extension automatically. The controversy in that is, of course, not everyone likes to use Google Chrome and instead prefer Microsoft Edge. Fair enough!

Luckily, one our readers tipped us off about a Windows Store app that solves this problem. The app is fittingly called Barcode generator, and is a free download.

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If you are on Windows 10 Mobile build 10512 and you read my initial thoughts on it, you may remember my mentioning of the new wallpapers. The images are themed after Windows 10 on the desktop, and they work quite nicely with the OS.

To access the pictures, you can just go to Settings > Personalization and either pick Start or Lock screen. From there you will want to browse your photos, which is done through the Photos app. Alternatively, you can just go directly to the images with the Photos app.

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My thoughts, so far, on Windows 10 Mobile build 10512

So today Microsoft released build 10512 (and technically another branch) of Windows 10 Mobile for those on the Windows Insider program. Part of me wants to say finally released. However, that seems a bit presumptuous especially since the company just pushed out the largest desktop OS update in their history. I think I can cut them some slack for an OS not due to the fall.

Still, I can be a little anxious, and it has been what seems like a long time since build 10166 weeks ago.

Today's updates took a bit longer than usual for a few reasons, so let me explain what I am running this OS on (so far) this evening. Throughout I'll pepper the article with some screenshots from the new build.

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There's a new build of the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview in town and that means a lot of people who've got questions. And answers. And that just generally want to shoot the breeze with other like-minded enthusiasts putting the latest through its paces.

We've got just the place for that. So head on down to the Windows 10 Mobile forums and join in!

Join the discussion in the Windows 10 Mobile forums!

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Yesterday, Gabe Aul revealed that a new Windows 10 Mobile build — in the 105xx range — would be available shortly for Windows Insiders. The release will be a major increment from the 10166 build that was rolled out over a month ago. Ahead of its imminent release, screenshots from the alleged 10512 build have leaked on China's Tieba message boards.

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The notion that Windows Phone should do landscape on the Start screen is hardly new. In fact, requests for it go back years from mostly the enthusiast crowd.

Yesterday, Microsoft's Gabriel Aul made a remark to a user request about landscape mode for the Start screen in Windows 10 Mobile. Aul responded with the default answer, which is if you want it, vote for it.

Personally, I find the hubbub about this issue to be funny. The reason is Windows 10 Mobile is very much like a democracy. If you want a feature, go to User Voice and make a suggestion. Alternatively, if the suggestion already exists, vote for it.

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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: August 9, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story.

Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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Ever since Microsoft announced their Bridge technologies at Build 2015 questions about how they work (and how well) have been asked. The tools let developers port over Android apps (Project Astoria), iOS apps (Project Islandwood), web apps (Project Westminster) and classic Win32 apps (Project Centennial) to Windows 10 including phone.

This morning, the actual tools for Project Astoria have leaked onto the web and users can freely (and illegally) download Android APKs and sideload them to their Windows Phone running Windows 10 Mobile. This follows yesterday's leak of the documentation for the project.

As it turns out, the tools are very powerful with the only limitation being the inability to run Google Play apps, which is in many ways trivial (this also means Snapchat will not work). Indeed, Windows Central has learned these tools are far from final and that the upcoming TH2 release has many more improvements, promising a much better user experience.

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Earlier this morning, images of the Lumia 950 (or 950 XL, hard to tell) were revealed on the forum WPXAP. Now, a new picture posted on Weibo shows the phone without the protective case meant to disguise its shape and size.

The image makes it look like that this is the Lumia 950 aka Talkman due to the hand in the photo for reference. This picture looks more like the 5.2-inch WQHD variant rather than the 5.7-inch Cityman. However, we cannot be certain at this time.

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Although there is a lot of Windows 10 for PC news these days with the big release last week, many are wondering when Windows 10 Mobile finally gets a new update. Microsoft's Gabriel Aul has taken to Twitter to give a quick update and it is good news and bad news.

Evidently, those on the Insider program are going to get a big jump from the current 10166 version to build 10240+, surpassing the desktop. However, before that happens, the team needs to fix a 'blocking bug' that is holding things up.

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For weeks now we have been filling in the news regarding the Microsoft's Talkman and Cityman Lumia phones due later this fall. Possibly going by the names Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL these phones should represent the next-generation of high-end devices for the struggling mobile maker.

This morning, numerous photos of the Lumia 950 XL aka Cityman prototype have appeared online in the WPXAP forums.

Windows Central can confirm that these images are indeed real and recent.

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Windows Phone Weekly Digest: August 2, 2015

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story. Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss.

Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

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