The Surface Duo 2 continues to dominate headspace at All About Towers, with major improvements arriving today, with a feature-packed January 2022 update hitting the folding communicator over-the-air. So whether you've only just finished reading about its faux-Continuum mode or its Lumia-like image processing or my Bumpers review, this update is well worth taking note of since it's yet another software step forwards for this somewhat ground-breaking device.
Recent News - Services
In this privacy-paranoid world people are often looking for ways to avoid Big Brother, and one of the latter is Google, it seems. "/e/ OS" (odd and problematic name, see below for a quote) is a fork of AOSP (Android Open Source Project) that deliberately strips out anything to do with Google, at all levels, enabling (in theory) a more private phone experience. See below for some news from 'All About' favourite Fairphone regarding their new '4' coming with /e/ OS if you like. Personally? I think it's all poppycock. Read on.
The story so far... Telegram is a popular worldwide messaging system for smartphones, though Windows 10 Mobile phones had to make do with the third party Unigram Mobile UWP. Then the developer stopped compiling for Mobile and this was forked by another developer to create Unigram Mobile Messenger UWP (keep up at the back!) As of December 1st, Telegram itself changed its login architecture to force adverts on all users on iOS and Android (to help pay for the service), stopping Unigram Mobile Messenger from being able to log in and (soon) to stop working altogether. Happily, thanks to an active developer, we now have an update that works around the changes.
A slightly niche news post, but one that's important to anyone who accesses Twitter on Windows 10 Mobile or under any desktop browser. So perhaps that's more people than I'd at first have thought. For years, Twitter has been cropping (e.g. 4:3 and 16:9) photos to a 'letter box' (often the 'wrong' way) or square aspect ratio to try and keep people's timelines tidier - but it seems that users would rather see the whole of a posted image rather than just part of it, so Twitter has now dropped cropping in its web/PWA code. Which directly feeds into the Windows 10 Mobile Twitter app, of course.
Last covered back in March, PitlaneOne is a great UWP application for Windows. Including Windows 10 Mobile, for Lumias, etc. In fact, it's insanely great, which is why I thought I'd round up some of 2021's updates and highlight a few more of its features. In short, it's just about the best (free) way to keep track of the end of 2021's Formula 1 racing season. And did I mention that it's also available these days for iOS and Android?
With the launch of iOS 15, the promised major enhancements to Apple Maps are available to the general public for the first time. Admittedly, quite a bit is only for major cities around the world, but this will expand and you can have fun exploring your own closest capital. Or just spinning the virtual globe and having run zooming in, rotating, tilting, and so on. Below I take a lot of this for a spin on my iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Another day, another new UWP title, at least during Launch 21. This time it's CryptoTracker, offering graphical and numeric analyses on up to 800 cryptocurrencies, along with portfolio tracking. Add in a choice of light and dark themes, plus it works on everything from a Lumia to a Windows 11 2-in-1. Top notch, and well done to the developer for letting 'ye olde' Lumias join in the fun.
Not a smartphone but very mobile, the diminutive Surface Go has been a mainstay of my computing setup for three years now*. A Start screen and full Windows in landscape or portrait modes, and useable as laptop, tablet, or - in an emergency - as a phone with the LTE edition. Why this news post? Because Microsoft just issued a raft of low level system firmware patches, great to see its hardware fully up to date.
Twitter UWP has been a shining light in the world of Windows 10 Mobile, a PWA* that worked across all platforms and even (mostly) under Edge on Windows 10 Mobile. The cool thing was that this was packaged neatly, available in the Microsoft Store on W10M phones, and ran independently of a browser window/furniture. Sadly, Twitter's development has moved on beyond the highest build number that Windows 10 Mobile achieved, so can't be installed (or re-installed) from the Store anymore. Mercifully, the PWA itself still works in Edge - but it's all starting to feel a little awkward and shabby, mid-August 2021.
Announced back in June, Microsoft's popular OneDrive has finally gained full photo editing facilities - these went live server-side today, a few hours ago, for both OneDrive's Web interfaces and also for the Android client (the iOS client is presumably being worked on). Some screenshot proof below. Yes, yes, I know we're all drowning in photo editing utilities and services, but something official from what is many peoples' primary file/photo backup service isn't to be sniffed att.