Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL announced: "Windows Phone is back" (The Verge)

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Lumia 950 and 950 XL hands-on: Windows Phone is back

Microsoft is rebooting Windows Phone again. After years in purgatory and a Nokia acquisition that didn't exactly lead to anything major, we now have two Lumia phones that are trying it all again: the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Both were oft-leaked devices — so much so that we came into this event already knowing the big points. They're running a version of Windows 10, which Microsoft is betting will help jump-start their third-party app ecosystems. They have the same basic specs we've seen on a lot of phones lately: Qualcomm Snapdragon processors of varying strength depending on the phone size, plenty of RAM, 32GB of storage, USB Type-C, and your choice of two pretty large screens. Hell, Microsoft even says that they're liquid cooled, which is crazy.

But since this is actually an all-new phone platform (that, admittedly, looks really similar to Windows Phone 8 before it), digging into the internal specs is a little beside the point. You never know what those internals mean on a whole new OS until you try it — so we tried it. The result: Windows Phone is just as snappy and fluid as it was before. Even though it has something like the full power of Windows behind it (so much so that you can actually hook up a full-sized monitor and use it as a mini computer), it still feels like the stripped-down and fast UI we've seen before.

Official 950/950XL video
Official Microsoft page

Key features/changes
  • Run Windows 10 Mobile
  • Windows Hello Beta: Unlock your phone with your face
  • Liquid cooling (???) for processors
  • USB-C charging
  • Continuum support: Use your phone as a Windows 10 computer (watch this, it looks fantastic); this isn't like an x86 OS replacement, but rather it can run any Windows Universal app like it's a desktop app. Just watch the video.
  • Support for Glance!
Lumia 950 specs
  • 5.2" Quad HD AMOLED 2560x1440 (564ppi) gorilla glass 3 screen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 1.8 GHz hexa-core w/liquid cooling
  • 20 MP camera sensor with Zeiss optics, triple-LED flash, advanced Optical Image Stabilization, and 4K video capture
  • 5 MP FFC camera
  • Wireless charging support
  • 3000 mAh / USB-C Fast Charging (get up to 50% capacity with ~30 min charge)
  • 32GB internal storage with microSD support
  • Available in November for $549

Lumia 950 XL specs
  • 5.7" Quad HD AMOLED 2560x1440 (518ppi) gorilla glass 3 screen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 2.0 GHz octa-core w/liquid cooling
  • 20 MP camera sensor with Zeiss optics, triple-LED flash, advanced Optical Image Stabilization, and 4K video capture
  • 5 MP FFC camera
  • Wireless charging support
  • 3340 mAh / USB-C Fast Charging (get up to 50% capacity with ~30 min charge)
  • 32GB internal storage with microSD support
  • Available in November for $649

On Continuum:

As part of its reveal of the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, Microsoft has announced the Display Dock, a hardware adapter that lets you use your phone like a desktop Windows PC with keyboard, mice, and a large display. Originally known as the Continuum dock, the new hardware has three USB ports, including USB Type-C, and both HDMI and DisplayPort. You can also plug in a USB drive.

So how does Continuum look? A lot like Windows 10 PC, in fact, but the taskbar is slightly tweaked and there's a signal bar at the top along with battery and time information. Microsoft showed off the Windows Hello beta run from a new Lumia — that is to say, it's not the full PC experience, but it's PC-esque and runs universal Windows 10 apps.

CONTINUUM IS SURPRISINGLY GOOD
You hook up to an external display using a heavy little dock that Microsoft is selling. You can have a different app running on the display than you do on your phone, which means it's slightly more powerful than what you'll get with Apple's AirPlay or Google's Chromecast features. Actually, you can have several apps running at once. Continuum can't do full windowing with those apps, but I had four of them open and could switch between them fast enough to know they weren't getting put to sleep in the background (Outlook, Edge, Groove Music, and Powerpoint, for the record).


Display Dock information here.
 

Amory

Member
I didn't see the phone portion of the conference...why is this expected to jump-start the app scene? Just because it's one app shared between all of Windows 10? Because I don't think that means all of a sudden developers are going to make a Windows app.
 

hwalker84

Member
I didn't see the phone portion of the conference...why is this expected to jump-start the app scene? Just because it's one app shared between all of Windows 10? Because I don't think that means all of a sudden developers are going to make a Windows app.

Windows Mobile 10 can run iOS and Android apps in their native code with minor changes. That's what Microsoft is hoping will jump start their app issue.
 
I didn't see the phone portion of the conference...why is this expected to jump-start the app scene? Just because it's one app shared between all of Windows 10? Because I don't think that means all of a sudden developers are going to make a Windows app.

I'm jaded enough to think that nothing will kickstart the Windows mobile app scene, but I think the idea is that a universal app is automatically (well, kinda) usable on mobile, desktop, and (potentially) X1, once that moves to W10.

Instead of developing 2-3 separate apps for these platforms, you can develop one and gain the benefit of exposure on all the other platforms, and fairly easily, as well.
 
I'm of two minds when it comes to Microsoft's W10 phone strategy:

  1. Wowie, I'm getting N900 flashbacks in a good way.
  2. Wowie, no one is going to make Windows Universal apps making the whole thing useless.
 

Funky Papa

FUNK-Y-PPA-4
As I said, after seeing the dawn of the Panos Era, I'll be skipping the 950 XL and wait for the first Surface smartphone. I keep my phones for years, so there's no reason for me to upgrade yet.

I mean, those are fine devices, but it's all but assured that we will get a veritable Surface Jesus Phone around the same time next year. And it is going to be insane.
 

Sesuadra

Unconfirmed Member
close to what I have been dreaming of since the iphone launch.

make the smartphone your pc. buy a laptop with a slot. put the smartphone in the slot and it switches to a fullscreen mac OS/windows..inside the laptop there is only an 'HDD and a battery..

so the whole docking station thing sounds like something at least a little close to it.
 
As I said, after seeing the dawn of the Panos Era, I'll be skipping the 950 XL and wait for the first Surface smartphone. I keep my phones for years, so there's no reason for me to upgrade yet.

I mean, those are fine devices, but it's all but assured that we will get a veritable Surface Jesus Phone around the same time next year. And it is going to be insane.

I'll be switching because I'm tired of my 830, but I agree. Panos blew it away today and in him I trust.
 

Pejo

Member
As soon as they prove they're getting app support, I'm jumping back to Windows Phone asap. Still the best mobile OS i've ever used.

I haven't been able to keep an eye on this hardware event, but did they talk at all about those app porting platforms to get android/IOS stuff on Windows Phone easily?
 

Dabanton

Member
I love my lumia phone. But MS is going to have to go all in with apps that's what draws users. It has improved but more of a push is needed. But I'm sure they know that already. It seems with today announcements MS is playing serious hardball on all fronts.

I'm definitely very interested in these phones, maybe not the XL that's a bit too big for my day to day use. But the standard 950 is looking like a get for me.
 

Funky Papa

FUNK-Y-PPA-4
Talking about apps, I almost flipped shit when they announced that Facebook was developing Facebook, Messenger and Instagram universal apps.

It's that terribad.
 
Another year; another Windows phone under repackaged OS name; another attempt at trying to make "universal app" run on both desktop and phone since WinCE.
 

KissVibes

Banned
Will Windows 10 on Lumia actually get app support now? Want to go back to WP but I need apps like instagram and Snapchat, because that's what I and my circle of friends use.

I have a Moto X and I am looking desperately to dump this piece of garbage. Would love to get out of Android for good too; but with options like the Nexus 5X and 6P plus the app support I need, it isn't easy.
 

Mindlog

Member
As soon as they prove they're getting app support, I'm jumping back to Windows Phone asap. Still the best mobile OS i've ever used.
I bought some random Windows Phone for MP3 player/'I don't care about this device'/Experimenting purposes. It has really surprised me how much I've taken to the OS. After years of Android and a few stints with iOS my only problem with WP is the app support. I hope it can become competitive because I wouldn't mind picking up a proper high-end model as my next phone.
 
They announced like 4-5 new universal apps and didn't even touch on the development tools to port apps over to Windows 10. It seems like they're ignoring the issue and I have to wonder if most developers just aren't bothering porting.
 
I didn't see the phone portion of the conference...why is this expected to jump-start the app scene? Just because it's one app shared between all of Windows 10? Because I don't think that means all of a sudden developers are going to make a Windows app.

Ms did a very good groundwork to make it happen:

- Universal apps that run on any platform with minimal changes. It's great because the platform with most success (desktop) can get developers to support the phone.

- Bridges from everywhere. You can easily port existing apps from web (javascript/html5), desktop apps, Silverlight and previous winrt/phone apps, android and ios apps. Some of those bridges require almost no code change from the developer, they just need to hook up some extra bits to access windows specific functionality.

- The app platform is now way more powerful.

Not of that ensures success of course, but I would say ms has done everything on their power other than making the apps themselves or paying developers to support the platform.
 
Wasn't there a phone a couple years ago that did something similar? You could plug it into a monitor and acted like a little computer?
 
I'm of two minds when it comes to Microsoft's W10 phone strategy:

  1. Wowie, I'm getting N900 flashbacks in a good way.
  2. Wowie, no one is going to make Windows Universal apps making the whole thing useless.
What n900 flashbacks? That was the greatest phone of all time and I'm curious as to what you mean about this?
 
how does this compare to the 6S and the Galaxy phones?

i wanna upgrade but i cant decide if i should wait on this or just get the Note 5
 
So fucking excited to buy/own one of these phones. I'm leaning more towards the 950 because it has the perfect screen size.

Hopefully I'm able to use the 950 on Verizon.

I really hope developers start porting their apps over to Windows 10..
Especially Snapchat..

Let's all work together... https://support.snapchat.com/co/other-feedback

Is it difficult/expensive for developers to make apps for Windows Phones or something?
 

Dabanton

Member
So fucking excited to buy/own one of these phones. I'm leaning more towards the 950 because it has the perfect screen size.

Hopefully I'm able to use the 950 on Verizon.

I really hope developers start porting their apps over to Windows 10..
Especially Snapchat..

Let's all work together... https://support.snapchat.com/co/other-feedback

Is it difficult/expensive for developers to make apps for Windows Phones or something?


Is it true that the creator of Snapchat has a problem with MS?

As it otherwise makes no sense why Snapchat is not on windows phone. Every other big social media app is there...
 
Is it difficult/expensive for developers to make apps for Windows Phones or something?

Given the tools we get, its actually super easy to make Windows apps, from my own experience, even more so than iOS or Android. Developer Fee is a one time admin fee of $15

Is it true that the creator of Snapchat has a problem with MS?

As it otherwise makes no sense why Snapchat is not on windows phone. Every other big social media app is there...
I'm pretty sure your thinking of Pebble Smart Watch. Going off of the reports, their CEO apparently hates Microsoft with a burning passion.

Microsoft was working with them, made them a demo app to show them how it would work, the Pebble team liked it and Microsoft made the actual Pebble app for them, then the CEO stepped in before it was finished and shut the whole thing down and burned bridges for no reason.
 
Looks great. If I wasn't so invested in the Apple ecosystem and apps, I'd probably get this. I've had a soft spot for Windows Phone ever since my Samsung Focus days. Oh well!
 
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