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What's it like to use Beam on Windows 10 Mobile?

Microsoft's latest acquisition, Beam, has announced plans to support the Xbox One and Windows 10 in the not so far off future. While no specific mention of mobile was delivered, we'd certainly be hopeful of some UWP powered magic heading our way.

But holding off for an app isn't necessary because, of course, you have a browser on your phone and Beam has a website. But folks are often, and rightfully so, dubious about using web apps over native apps. But here's the thing; don't be. Not in this case.

Beam's mobile website is absolutely superb and if you haven't yet tried watching the service on your phone there's no reason you shouldn't be.

Beam vs Twitch

Loading up Twitch vs Beam on Microsoft Edge on a Lumia 950 XL. No contest.

Compared to, Twitch, the leading competitor and de-facto service when it comes to streaming, Beam is like a breath of fresh air to use on the web. Beam's website is just, well, leagues better to use. The images above show off what happens for starters when you navigate to the respective home pages in your browser. Twitch does eventually kick into mobile view, but it's still not as good as Beam.

Thankfully, we have excellent apps like Unstream (opens in new tab) to get our Twitch viewing in on our Windows phones. But, Beam's mobile site is good enough right now that if it were an app it wouldn't be disappointing.

Beam

The interface is beautifully designed and very responsive, and you lose almost none of the experience by going mobile. The only real compromise is that you can't chat and watch the video content at the same time, but that's understandable given the size of the display. Instead, you tab over the top of the stream with the chat window and hide it away when you're done.

The videos can be watched in full-screen mode, which is great, and you also have full access to your account management tools in a similarly easy to navigate interface. Ultimately, Beam is an excellent example of how to design and execute for the mobile web.

Beam

So, there's really no need to avoid using Beam on your phone just because there's no app. And for an extra snazzy trick, use the useful Web Tiles (opens in new tab) application on your phone to make your own transparent tile for it!

And while you're over there, be sure to give us a follow where you'll find our latest show, Microsoft, Minecraft and Libations, and much more to come!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

88 Comments
  • Perfect example of why W10M is not competitive, no official app for a service and you have to resort to workarounds. Regular consumers wont be bothered and will just stay away, which is exactly what they have been doing.
  • Regular consumers wont be bothered and will just stay away, which is exactly what they have been doing.
    And they should. There's nothing competitive about Windows 10 Mobile. Not news. Do we really need to reiterate the app thing like is a new phenomenon in 2016? We've been hearing about it since 2012.
  • Soon we will need an app to tell us about the app gap and when we need to go to toilet. Looks like we need apps to dictate our lives to us. People cannot exists without them, it has almost become a survival necessity. Have we really become so dependant on apps? It seems like most people here need to switch platform instead of pointing out the obvious. We all know about the app gap problem, is there really a need to reiterate?
  • Daniel, i prefere apps (well developed of course) than web
  • But...but...Snapchat...Clash of Clans...THINGS
  • PokeMugging
  • While I do not care about the latest fashionable apps out there like snap chat or online multyplayer games, I do find the shortage of apps that cannot be accessed through the browser distubing, for example, smart home apps are lacking and even if they exist they miss a lot of features that exist on other platform, 3rd party app are often of very bad quality and without any support. Another good example is banking and finance apps which even if you're lucky enough to get it will be an HTML wrapper that pales in comparison to anything provided to iDroid devices.
     
  • Totally agree with you Guy
  • Was about to tell you you're a pro-Microsoft idiot, however, I actually agree with your statement 100%, which is surprising given the fact you're paid to promote Microsoft, and this site is so pro-Microsoft and so filled with blind fanboys it gives me cancer every time a visit it... Note to self: Don't go to Windows Central while drunk...
  • Why do you call people Microsoft fan boys? If they're happy using Windows 10 mobile despite the app gap that they are well aware of makes then fan boys? When they're on a Windows site commenting and not going to Android and iOS sites rolling makes them than boys huh? Why they're doing is just the opposite of users of iOS and Android who come in here to criticise them for accepting the app gap and using the platform they want....i guess you guys have a, "Gap in comprehension instead of apps"!
  • Forgot to say that I, myself, am a happy user of a Lumia 950XL, not an Android user, nor an iOS user...
  • Fed up with this continuing App stuff - I like you R3mis I have 950XL and survive quite well with the Apps I need. I suspect like my son people go on about the App Gap but how many do they actually use. What is the point of having a library of hundreds or thousands of similar Apps.
    Most of us on here are quite happy with what we got so why keep harping on - go and play with your Crapple or Android phones.
  • That being said, we look forward to not hearing from you again in the future as you will be dead shortly.
  • Dead? Why?
  • Cause he is the terminator man.
  • If Microsoft, in 201, is just talking about feature parity with its own software, regarding W10M's comparative standing next to iOS and Android, then it clearly still needs stated. MS hasn't figured it out yet, so why should we drop it?
  • Don't use apps made by other companies as an example (Outlook).
  • I suppose we will have to reiterate the app thing till its no longer an issue. Personally I like Win ten mobile as it is. But I still can't recommend it to a friend. Because of the app thing
  • Neither can I. I think Win10M is a great Mobile OS and I to am happy with how it's matured but the lack of many mainstream apps doesn't make it a viable solution for most general users.
  • Ha!  This is a laugh.  If anything, this article is proof that the entire world has been swindled by Steve Jobs.  He basically made everyone move away from a single centrally programmed interface that would work anywhere (web sites) to apps designed on a per platform basis to provide you the same content, only Apple got a 30% cut of the profits while companies had to increase their overhead 10 fold to support _another_ platform.  Touche Steve Jobs and Apple, brilliant marketing move.   This is not to say that custom mobile apps don't have their place, as they do, but they typically only have their place on apps that are used off-line.  What I really think is going to happen is that more companies are going to realize they're tird of paying their Apple tax and are going to start ditching their custom iOS and Android apps and start to move back to web pages for those areas where you are basically just consuming content.  It will take some time, but trust me, this will happen.  It's the way of IT, constantly overshooting and then pulling back.  Mobile app development was a massive overshoot that did nothing but line the pockets of Apple.
  • This^ You can also see how Microsoft's strategy fits into this.
  • This is the first time I've seen someone making this opinion. To be honest, I never ever thought about 'apps vs web situation' this way. And now I can't agree with you more.
  • I'm pretty sure there was a similar in-depth WC article about exactly that a little while ago
  • Don't, it's idiotic... The app model was created in a time when most of the internet was painful as a mobile consumable... Web content just didn't for for mobile and web traffic was made mostly on a PC... The app was created to take what was on the PC and dial it down to mobile's inferior (at the time) tech... Oh my, how the tables have turned... Anyways, don't you see how the app model will be obsolete with the rise of AI's and bots? Technology just races on at a faster pace
  • LOL. And all the applications and Software that we install on our PCs are not necessary also? We can just go on a browser instead of using them?  Apps have their place. Your premise is laughable. People have gone past the days of going home to log on to a PC just to browse and get things done. People have computers in the palm of their hands. A well built app can make or break a company. I have a fantastic Bank of America app on my iPhone. I don't bother with going on my PC to do anything. The app gives a more intuitive experience. Open - Finger scan - Done. Less than 10 secs and I am done. This is the future. Scratch that. This is the now. Companies that want me to open up a web wrapper that is not tied to the OS will miss the mark.  "Companies are going to ... start ditching their custom iOS and Android apps and start to move back to web pages". Are you serious?! I am not even going to bother with this one. Sure, whatever you say!  By the way, Microsoft has some of the best apps developed out there. They clearly get where the future is heading... something you either fail to grasp or just in denial because it is not one of the strengths of WMobile.
  • THIS ^
    To say MS's abject failure in mobile is some how part of the grand plan and people will ditch apps to go back to browsers is beyond ridiculous.
  • It's totally like this. But as people in MS know, this is ending. And a new, more open paradigm will arise.
  • Right you are. If we lived in a world with five equal telephone os's there would be no apps and all companies would have made a decent scaleable html5 website. After all, building apps for all the different os's and different versions of those os's is a big waste of resources. I can't think of anything more inefficient.
  • That Beam works so well in a web browser--on a PC, on a tablet, on a phone, and even on Xbox One where it beautifully makes use of Snap mode by letting you flip back and forth between the stream and the chat--only serves to reinforce the reality that apps are overrated and unnecessary: 99% of apps should be optimized websites.
  • Actually there is a beam app on android and ios
  • You are correct. I was unaware because I didn't see them advertised on their website (but I see them buried at the bottom now). That said, the important point is that the quality of Beam's website, across all devices, shows how unnecessary those Beam apps (and most apps, for that matter) are.  
  • We all know about the app gap the reason why people stayed away from windows phone 8 or 8.1 is it was slow to evolve more than the any app gap problem
  • In these cases I like to use App it! to pin pages to start. It opens pages in full screen like a real app and even shows a splash screen. The only bad thing is that it needs to reload the page each time you rotate the screen (or resize the window on PC) which may be a problem for watching videos...
  • Make it a hosted web app with Windows App Studio than ;) :D
  • No app for a service owned by Microsoft. Typical!
  • They only purchased this company a few weeks ago. Making an app takes much longer.
  • And what about LinkedIN app?
  • Not sure LinkedIn will be an app since they're building it into Office and the OS.
  • But what does THAT even mean?  Office IS just a collection of apps.  Doesn't even come close to being a Hub (in the WP7 & WP8 sense).  And, certainly, building it into the OS would make me think they're trying to integrate it somehow---which, we all know, they gave up any real integration with WP8.1.  So, I really don't believe we're going to see anything like that.  That's no longer their trend.
  • So, it'll be integrated into people app or something? Or will it be tightly integrated as an app like other Microsoft ones?
  • Probably a tightly integrated app. The reason they did so with the others was so they could update said apps without having to send out a full OS update. So I'd imagine fully integrated would not be likely compared to a updated-via-store app
  • So why that old app on the store?
  • Because otherwise you would complain there is no app?
  • Lol you are awesome ;)
  • I don't think they own it yet. I takes a while for this stuff to happen, I recall hearing Febuary as the date it should go through.
  • Re: max-ecs,
    What about the LinkedIN app? Yes, there is one in the app store. I use it on WP 8.1.
  • Dude really? They only JUST bought the company. What do you expect, the dist hasn't even settled. Sounds like you just wanted to come out with a "clever" complaint.
  • I They just purchased it.
  • Hey guys, this is off topic, but can the Lumia 1520 do USB otg? That thing where you plug a micro USB flash drive and it pops up in file explorer. It doesn't work on mine. Thanks in advance.
  • Nope, the USB port doesn't support bidirectional data transfer
  • No, and please use our forums. Posting 'off topic' is not an excuse to post off topic, thank you.
  • Sorry I didn't know you guys had a forum.
  • No worries. Lots of people in there and resources to give you assistance. Cheers.
  • Thanks man. I'll be sure to check it out.
  • You were too kind on the fellow.
    You must be losing your touch.
    Usually you just bash and delete
  • Lol
  • Don't believe their statement.
  • This is awesome actually. I really do like this concept. In fact, I find it refreshing that you guys wrote an article on what it is like using it on Edge, because a lot of the time, we are just told to "use the browser" but the experience is so varied so it can be good or bad. Beam looks really good and Twitch just looks...busted like a good amount of these mobile sites do. lol.
  • But who streams there if they can use twitch? :/
  • It's like asking who uses Vimeo when you can use YouTube, there are always people who would want to use a different service for various reasons.
  • Same reason you use a Windows Phone when everyone else doesn't. Preference.
  • Beam has sub-second latency, quality options available for all streamers, interactive integrations for games, built in polls, giveaways, etc...! 
  • Better quality, lower latency, more streamer interaction abilities, better ui. Why use twitch now that beam is so good?
  • Because noone know it even exists therefore there is noone that can watch you ?
  • Watched a bit of the Friday session on my 950XL. As you say, the video is really good.
  • Just tried the site, extremely slow. I could click into a video but it would never start.
  • That was the Twitch site ;-)
  • I see! MSFT wants us to go back to the web browser as our main web/internet tool. So that's Edge vs the App World! Reason why app developers are pulling out.
  • No
  • Lol boy leave it.
  • There is a bug that won't let your login with your twitter in edge. But I'm able to on chrome. Been doing for about a month now.
  • Call me when it has MS account access. I'm not touching or watrching Beam if it mean I need ANOTHER digital identity. Twitch is still a better platform, as both stand today. MS should work quickly to make Beam part of its network, because its fans have no incentive to pick it over Twitch until then (that includes W10 UWA, XB1 integration like Twitch, MS account access, and everything Twitch can do).
  • Don't you need a separate digital identity to use Twitch? And Beam is objectively better than Twitch in every sense besides content, and arguably it has better content as the community is small, tightly knit, and there's far less trolls and toxic behaviour flying around.
  • "objectively better than Twitch in every sense" If that were so, you'd be on it for the weekend giveaways, no? I thought it was mentioned there was a technical issue with Beam preventing that switch (which, I'd bail on the weekend viewings if that happened anyway). At the minimum, don't be so objectively lazy as to make a statement that comes off as to offer exactly 0 reasons to defend the "objective" point. When you work for a company with a clear interest in the platform you are touting, that kind of argument is just bad optics. The major difference is Twitch was there first. I made an identity to do something different. Beam means going under the MS umbrella to someday get software support for its own OS. I'd have to make a redundant digital identity, having two "game streming" accounts. There's a major difference in having to make a new account for something specialized. I've got an account for watching, commenting on, and streaming games. Why make another, just because there's something different that is so amazing and not having an app on my phone or PC, while adding the great support of nothing on my console? "Objectively better in every sense besides content," and mobility, and availability.
  •   Windows Central does their weekly, Friday-night Minecraft streams on Beam. ​You don't need an account to watch, just to stream or chat. Perhaps when the Beam app comes to Windows 10 and Xbox One this December, it will let you sign in with your Microsoft account or Xbox gamertag. ​The things Beam is better at = low latency streaming, interactive streaming, more feature-rich website (e.g. ability to undock and resize chat).    
  • I have no interest in the Friday streams, I don't like what they do. I am referring to the Saturday ones Paul has going.
  • Paul's streams are up to Paul. If he wants to stay on Twitch then that's his decision to make.
  • Dude I have been on beam for a while. People find me faster. I like beam. If you dont want another well get use to it. i dont think ms account will ever be part of beam. you can join the future or stay talking 30 sec behind a broadcaster waiting 30 seconds for a reply. I like a reply in less then 5 seconds.
  • If MS can't bother to integrate itself to its software, then I have no faith in them to do anything else right. Funny you sell response time after selling not being an account...unless you want those replies. Self-contradictory, and nothing that appealed to me there.
  • We're still super early on when it comes to integrations, but we're definitely listening to feedback here. We announced that a UWA is coming this Winter too! 
  • I spend more time in the browser than any single app. I actually hate that I have to open a different app for everything. Most of the apps on my phone don't get used much. The only mobile game that makes sense to me is Pokémon Go. Games should be played on platforms with a controller. but that's just me.
  • Yeah... I find it laughable that some people need to install an app to do something. The other day I heard a discussion on the tube between two teens where one person couldn't solve a problem because some app wasn't available... It was a math problem. Which could be solved by the calculator... But there was no division app.
  • Hehe nice
  • Beam is great.
  • Im forseeing a UWP third party app that costs around 2-7 USD.  
  • Sorry but for me and a few friends, browsing Beam through edge mobile is terrible. It's really unresponsive. We need an app and not an "optimised for mobiles" site. I would respect it if you (developers) told us "you know, for the next x months/years we will not bother in making a win mobile app". I would accept it. But I hate when we ask for an app and the answer to us is "It's ok, we are improving our site for use through mobile browsers". Then why you bothered making an Android / iOS app and didn't give those users only a browser experience? Anyway, as with most official apps, the only thing we can do is wait and be patient. I still have hope...
  • Geez, you people. They just bought the company, and you already want a app. Developing a app takes time.
  • It never works properly on mobile for me. Pages take long to load or often get stuck, After a few seconds of watching a stream, it freezes and never resumes.