Thursday, August 27, 2015

Camera comparison Nokia Lumia Icon and Microsoft Lumia 640XL

Lumia 640XL which is a little larger and a little thinner than Lumia Icon has better camera than the more recent cheap smart phones. Nokia is Verizon exclusive while 640XL is AT&T.

One of the most frequent applications I use is the camera whether getting some shots for my blogs or photographing or videoing. I have found Nokia Icon an excellent camera on the smart phones I have used.

It appears that as selfies have become very popular 640XL has a front-facing camera which has 5MP while Icon had only a 1.2MP.  As built-in software, Nokia Icon had more features than 640XL just looking at advertised full features and that means perhaps some features are not fully documented.

What I have in these two images in the post is a comparison of feature sets as found in Microsoft sites. Nokia had more out-of-the box apps than 640XL but perhaps you can always go to Windows Store and install new apps.

One thing  I am not sure is when Nokia Icon will get its Windows 10.   I suppose 640XL will get its Windows 10 earlier without hassles.

Nokia Icon
Microsoft Lumia 640XL


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Settings is better organized in Windows 10 Mobile - WM101

This is about the Windows 10 Technical Preview (simply Preview in this post) for phones which will become eventually Windows 10 Mobile if naming is not changed before the General Availability(GA).

In Windows Phone 8.1, there were a number of items without any sort of organization although there were interrrelated items.

Here is the overview of the Settings menu in the preview


This is the Systems submenu


This one is for Devices


This is for Network & Wireless


This is for Personalization

This one for Accounts

This one for Time and Language


This is for Ease of Access


This is for Privacy


This is for Update & security


This is for Extras


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Finally succeeded installing Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones

What should have been easy and routine did not work that way. It needed a lot of preparation before installing the Technical Preview using the Windows Insider app from Windows Store.

The major steps were:

1. Resting the Windows Phone 8.1 to its factory setting which required using the Windows Phone Recovery Tool
2. Using the Windows Insider app to download and install the Technical Preview.
3. Soft resetting the phone a number of times

Windows 10 Technical Preview can be installed on a large number of Nokia/Microsoft phones and each may present some kind of problem or another. It took nearly 3 to 4 days to complete the task.
However, if one were to start from a clean start (as they probably did while testing the Windows Insider app), it should take no more than 2 to 3 hours depending on the Wi-Fi connection.
After it is installed the phone gets switched off. When you switch on the phone you will be greeted by this:

The About setting displays this:

More details in the following links:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recovering a failed Windows Phone 8.1

This is about one scenario where you may need to go back to the factory installed settings for your phone. There could be many other cases where you may need to restore the original image of the phone's OS. The Windows Phone Recovery Tool did fix the problem. This post is about restoring the phone to the original state.

This is about a Nokia Icon, a Verizon specific phone. It had Windows 8.0 when purchased and later a Windows Phone 8.1 preview was installed. When finally Verizon rolled out Windows Phone 8.1, Nokia Icon was upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1.

Recently Windows 10 Technical Preview for Windows Phone became available. (

This post here describes the step-by-step procedure to download and install the preview.

However it became apparent that the update/install process did not work even after dozens of trials including soft reset etc. The process would start and go through the process of installing at the end of which the error is displayed.

Interested readers may want to follow this link on the Insider's forum:
I seem to satisfy all requirements but I get 0x80070070 error installing Windows Phone 10 Technical Preview on Nokia Icon

The upgrade to Window 10 Technical preview would now involve two steps:
  • Recover the original Windows Phone 8.1 to the state it was in when upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1
  • Upgrade the phone to the new version namely, Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones (most likely Windows 10 RTM for Nokia Icon may not be available well into 2016, if lucky)
The rest of what follows deals with restoring the phone to its original state, the first step.

After dozens of trials it was decided to restore the Windows Phone to its original state using the Settings/backup on the Windows Phone which will backup
2. text messages, and

After backing up as above the Settings | About| Reset your phone button was clicked. The Windows Phone displayed the usual warnings about a reset operation and went into a series of screen changes which involved the usual screen with 'gears' and sometimes flash of Windows Icon and sometimes just NOKIA in the center of screen. The reset operation did not succeed although the Windows Phone was left connected to the AC mains with the USB cable. After some 14 hours in this state of 'limbo'.
 it was decided to use the 'Windows Phone recovery tool' to recover the Windows Phone to the original settings.

The Windows Phone recovery tool was downloaded from here to the laptop:

Click Download button on this page to display

Click on External mirror1 and save the file to the laptop or PC.

Windows Phone Recovery Tool 2.1.1 details:
2.1.1 **
- Bug fixes
** 2.1.0 **
- SW recovery improvements for Lumia Phones that are not detected.
- Bug fixes
** 2.0.3 **
- Support for HTC One Windows Phones.
** 1.2.4 **
- Bug fixes and small improvements.
** 1.1.0 **
- Tool is now localized in 40 different languages.
- Several bug fixes.
** 1.0.6 **
- Bug fixes
** 1.0.4 **
- Bug fixes
** 1.0.3 **
- This is the first official release of the new Windows Phone

Software Recovery Tool. Tool currently supports all WP8 Microsoft
Lumia phones and later also other brands.
- Software recovery allows you to get the phone to latest available

software version. All user data will be erased in the process.
 Double click the tool in its saved location.

Connect your phone to the PC (in this case a laptop) with the USB Cable. Do not disconnect or mess with phone till the process is complete. You may need to push the Volume Low and Power buttons on the Windows Phone together till it vibrates.

The recovery tool properties for Nokia Lumia.
Click on Lumia icon.

The program is waiting for the phone to be connected. You should really get the phone to connect by pressing the Volume down and Power down/up button till you feel the vibrations.

Click on the Install Software button. Another warning and a disclaimer.

Click Continue. A package will be downloaded and it is a hefty file (1.6GB). This takes quite a bit of time depending on your Internet connection speed.

It is better to start with fully charged battery.

Click Next.

The package installation process begins. The phone selection page is displayed. If it does not you ma have to press hard the Volume down and Power buttons together till you feel the vibration.

Click on Lumia 929 (this is Lumia model number for the Nokia Icon).

The program will try to read the phone information.

By this time your phone starts up with Verizon and Windows splash screens and you will asked to customize. The phone is now restored to the Windows Phone 8.1 Original.

The restore agent will pop-up and guides you through restoring the app settings etc. Your apps, alarms, contacts will all be recovered. The photos/videos are all gone, perhaps uploaded to the OneDrive. If it was uploaded to OneDrive, I am not sure which named location it was uploaded to. Fortunately I had copied all the photos/videos to a 1TB drive.

The version of Windows Phone 8.1 restored was the following:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Windows Store (afterr Windows 10 debut) open for business in 190 countries

There is a single Windows Store and you can have apps for all of these:
  • PC
  • Tablet
  • Phone
  • IoT-in the works
  • Console
  • Holographic
Windows 10 makes user experience device agnostic (no matter what the device is).
Windows 10 Universal Platform allows developers to reuse code and bring apps to Windows platform from other platforms.

Simply put,
  • Windows Store is One Store for all digital content
  • Customers can have 40 million songs from Grove, TV shows and innumerbale movies and well over 670000 Windows apps and Games
  • Windows Store is bult on Univesal Platform that supports frequent updates
  • Store has media-rich content, curated collections, recommendatons and more and the store organization is development in progress
  • Store supports debit/credit cards, PayPal, Alipay, app gifting, gift cards and even Bitcoin(only in US)
  • Enhanced App discoverability-Outside of the Store
Soon Windows SDK with go-live license will be available and will accept Windows 10 App submissions-both new and updated.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Make Phone OS independant of the carrier

Actually this was my question to one of Microsoft's forum.

Verizon is my carrier and the carrier is slow in rolling out updates (more interested in quick sells). It took a year for Verizon to go from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 8.1 after Window Phone 8.1 went RTM.

Here is my question:
Regarding tying OS with Carrier:
I think this is very a bad decision.
I bought my Nokia Icon and I was not aware at that time that it was Verizon Specific. When the Operating System was upgraded to 8.1, Verizon took one year to roll out while they were busy selling the Androids and Apples which were the major phones (in terms of sales) after many writing and complaining."

This is the answer from the forum:

Your question on Microsoft Community has received a reply from TomBrad95.

Carriers need to do their own testing before releasing it to the public, most of the carriers in the U.S. take their time with windows phone and some even put it off, there was a discussion from Microsoft saying that they will no longer be required carrier testing and instead releasing straight to users, however I'm unsure whether this is still true or not since there hasn't been an OS release since, we'll find out when windows 10 mobile is released.

Read this reply on Microsoft Community.

Windows 10 Technical Preview for phone does not install

Nokia Icon is supported
The Windows Phone 8.1 has the correct version number: Version 8.10.14219.341
There is enough space on the phone 15.2 GB free
It goes through the motion of updating and the phone gets restarted but always ends up with the 0x80070070 error. I have tried 7 times in the last 28 hours or so.

I am not sure if this is happening while downloading or updating.

Perhaps Microsoft should verify the three requirements of updating shown in bold.