Today’s updates on a forgotten Lumia 720

I have a Lumia 720 Windows Phone, in an almost perfect condition, sitting in a drawer since I got my Lumia 735 as an upgrade. The 720 is now mostly used by my sons as a portable gaming console (though the selection of games has always been restricted in the WP ecosystem).

I woke up early today, and since I had some time to play around, I decided to see how the 720 was doing. Turned on the WiFi and looked for OS updates but, as expected, none was available; it’s Windows 10 OS version has been long stuck at 10.0.10586.682.

Next stop: The Store. The only updates available were the MS Mobile Office ones (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), and they were indeed successfully installed. I am not sure about what they fix, as MS has always been cryptic about the updates of its WP apps.

Last stop: The Maps. It seems that there was a 50+ MB update of the Maps, which I also downloaded successfully.

Then it was time for surfing the Web. I tried to use the Twitter app, but I didn’t manage to connect to the server – then I recalled that Twitter abandoned support for older versions of Windows Mobile so I would have to use the Web version (or to push my luck finding an alternative working app).

The Facebook app also gave me a “You’re not connected to the Internet” message so I could not use it (and had to use the Web version instead) – I guess it was a verification issue due to changed/abandoned protocols. The same error came from a couple of pre-installed Lumia apps like Lumia Highlights but I really didn’t mind.

facebook application icon
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The good thing is that favorite 3rd party apps like 6tag, 4th & the Mayor still work flawlessly and the same goes for core MS apps I would need, such as Outlook, Maps, Edge, OneDrive etc. The phones responsiveness is pretty slow but after all, the same goes for my Samsung A3 (2016) after upgrading to Android Nougat.

All in all, I realized that going back to the 720 in case my 735 bites the dust would hardly be an option. I would have to cope up with limited app availability, crippled functionality and performance issues.

I think I’ll pass and just keep it in the drawer, for my kids to use it as their tablet’s alternative 🙂

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Printing from Windows Mobile? Not exactly…

Printing from Windows Mobile? Not exactly…

I recently purchased a Canon Selphy CP1200 for printing selected photos at home (review and rationale to follow soon). One of its advantages was the option to print directly from a smartphone through WiFi, so skipping the hassle of connecting to a laptop or even a PC.

Printing photos from an Android phone was as simple as installing the dedicated app from Canon; no need for drivers, complex setup etc. I only had to set the printing options, connect the printer to my home wireless network and voila: I got my first set of printed photos. However, my main smartphone is a Windows Mobile one… so would this be a problem?

I connected both my Lumia 735 and the printer to the same wireless network – nothing. I connected my Lumia directly to the printer (yes, it works as an access point) – nothing. I started looking for solutions online – nothing. As regards printing from Windows Mobile, Microsoft announced back in 2015 that it would support most of the available ones and in fact it referred to a list of about 1900 printers already supported through WiFi (no USB connection).

It seems that my printer, being a newer model than 2015, is not supported and will not be supported by Microsoft, as the Windows Mobile platform has been abandoned as a whole.

It is unfortunate that Canon did not develop a dedicated printing app for Windows Mobile, as manufacturers like Samsung and Xerox did; this would probably allow us to print from various Canon printers. At the same time, cheaper, entry-level models like the Epson XP-335 are natively supported and work fine with Windows Mobile.

Windows Phone dead_cross

The more time passes by, the more issues I face with my Lumia as my daily driver…

Lumia 735: Time for a clean update

I kept trying to install one of the last Windows Mobile updates (before MS stops the stream of updates in the near future) since September; despite the fact that I could successfully download it, the installation kept stopping at some point with one of these hard-to-understand Microsoft error codes.

Yesterday I got a notification for a new update (the October one) so I tried installing it, too. It seems that the update required a total of 1.18GB of storage – hard to find that with a total of just 8GB of storage (including system reserved storage). I kept removing apps, offline maps, cleaning the cache. I was still short in space. So I decided that it was about time for the big step.

First I backed (almost) everything up, using the built-in feature of Windows Mobile (my first backup after quite a long time). Then I went for a hard reset, wiping everything from the device and started everything from scratch. After a couple of reboots I managed to install the latest Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary update (Build 10.0.14393.1770) along with all my apps (including the ones that initially shipped with the mobile, totally useless). I only had to enter my credentials, fine tune some settings and everything was there, including the home screen tiles 😉

I was excited to see that despite the hard reset, both the stored WiFi passwords and the Continuum hack was there, fully working as they used to. Overall, it was a process that took me something more than 1,5 hours and now my 735 feels more responsive and with more free storage space.

Upgrade day

Today was a day full of upgrades for my hardware:

  • I woke up only to see that my Lumia 735 had the latest Windows Insider build (10.0.14977.1000) waiting to be downloaded and installed. I took some time to download it before I left home and then let it do the installation while I was offline. The process worked great, for once more.
  • After I got home, I upgraded my newly-purchased TP-Link TD-W8960N V7 modem/router to the latest firmware version (v.160614 Rel.41323). If I find some time, I may give the OpenWRT firmware a try as well.
  • Then, it was time for my (also newly-purchased Samsung BD-J4500R Blu-Ray Player. I upgraded its firmware from v1008.1 to v.1011.0.

If you ask me, I have no idea about what the new firmwares bring to my devices. I rest assured that they will operate better in some aspects. 🙂

 

Windows Mobile 10: Η πτώση?

Διάβασα πρόσφατα ένα άρθρο που μιλούσε για την πτώση των πωλήσεων των smartphones με λειτουργικό Windows Phone/Mobile. Προφανώς φαίνεται ότι υπήρχαν πολλές προσδοκίες σχετικά με τα (επίσημα) Windows Mobile 10, όπως το ότι θα αναβαθμιστούν όλες οι παλιές συσκευές σε WM10, ότι θα υπάρξει στενότερη σχέση ανάμεσα σε διαφορετικές συσκευές (π.χ. ότι θα περνάς εύκολα περιεχόμενο από την μία συσκευή Windows 10 σε άλλη), ότι το Continuum θα παίξει και σε παλιότερες συσκευές κλπ.

Δυστυχώς το λειτουργικό:
1) άργησε πολύ να ετοιμαστεί χάνοντας διάφορες προθεσμίες που ανέφερε η ίδια η Microsoft,
2) τελικά βγήκε αλλά δεν ήταν έτοιμο (ακόμα τρέχουμε με διάφορα bugs που λύνονται και επανέρχονται κατά καιρούς),
3) δεν έγινε διαθέσιμο σε όλες τις συσκευές (άρα όπως την πατήσαμε από τα Windows 6.5 που δεν αναβαθμίστηκαν πλέον, την πατήσαμε στο μεταξύ και με τα Windows Phone 7 που έφτασαν μέχρι την 7.8) και τώρα με τα Windows Phone 8 που έφτασαν μέχρι την 8.1 με πλήρη ασυμβατότητα μεταξύ των διαφορετικών εκδόσεων) και τελικά τα νέα features είτε δεν ενθουσίασαν είτε είναι διαθέσιμα μόνο σε ναυαρχίδες (βλέπε Continuum)
4) Official εφαρμογές που περίμενε ο κόσμος είτε άργησαν πολύ να εμφανιστούν (βλέπε Instagram που ήταν ανενεργό 3 χρόνια, Google Apps), είτε δεν υπήρξαν ποτέ.
5) Ακόμη και οι ναυαρχίδες δεν ήταν έτοιμες όταν κυκλοφόρησαν (βλέπε προβλήματα στο διαδίκτυο με 950/950XL.

Όσο για τους κατασκευαστές, ελάχιστα μεγάλα ονόματα κατάφερε να πείσει για το νέο αυτό εγχείρημα, οπότε δελέασε κατά κύριο λόγο Ινδούς κατασκευαστές (εντελώς low-end συσκευών) και διαφόρους μικρούς που έψαχναν την τύχη τους. Κάτι premium συσκευές από HP με docks κλπ θα τις βλέπουμε μόνο σαν collector’s items σε περιοδικά, αφού δεν θα κυκλοφορήσουν ευρέως.

Και να σας πω και κάτι απλό – προσωπική εμπειρία που δείχνει την απομόνωση και ασυμβατότητα των Windows Mobile 10 σε σχέση με τις υπόλοιπες συσκευές: Μπήκαμε πρόσφατα μια παρέα σε ένα Toyota Aygo και παίζαμε με τη multimedia console που έχει (και υποστηρίζει MirrorLink). Λοιπόν, η μόνη συσκευή που δεν κατάφερε να γίνει pair μέσω bluetooth με το console ηταν το δικό μου Lumia 735 με Windows Mobile 10. Μετά ψάχνοντας έμαθα ότι παρότι η Microsoft είναι μέλος στο consortium που σχεδιάζει και υλοποιεί το MirrorLink, δεν έχει προσθέσει ακόμη την υποστήριξη στις φορητές συσκευές της (και μιλάμε για ιστορία που έχει ξεκινήσει από το 2012 – ίσως και νωρίτερα). Τα ίδια και χειρότερα για υποστήριξη USB OTG, που θεωρείται ακόμη ένα εξωτικό feature για τα Windows Phones.

Την ίδια στιγμή ασχολούμαστε ακόμη με το αν ο email client (Outlook) για το κινητό θα υποστηρίζει μαύρο background και πότε επιτέλους θα έρθει η υποστήριξη για HTML signatures στα emails (που χρειάζεται για σοβαρούς σκοπούς), ακόμη και στην desktop έκδοση της εφαρμογής.

Καληνύχτα σας Windows Phones.