It’s been a rocky week for Microsoft, with its new Lumia 950 flagship handset receiving a frosty reception, the November Update for Windows 10 being pulled, and a stable but still somewhat buggy ‘RTM’ release of Windows 10 Mobile for Insiders.
The Lumia 950 went on sale in the US at the end of last week and the reviews have started to trickle in, not least from Petri’s own Paul Thurrott and Brad Sams: Microsoft Lumia 950 First Impressions and Review: Microsoft’s Lumia 950, More Future Than Past. I’ve yet to lay my hands on a Lumia 950, but the reviews have revealed what I feared, that Windows Hello is more of a novelty differentiator that users will disable because it doesn’t work reliably enough. It’s worth remembering however that Windows Hello is still in beta on Windows 10 Mobile, so a future update could improve reliability and performance, although I doubt an iris scanner can ever be as convenient as a fingerprint reader.
While I believe in Continuum, see Deep Dive: Microsoft’s Continuum For Windows 10 Mobile on Petri for the lowdown, this is the future and not something many people are likely to use on a regular basis until it can support more than one active app and portable displays become more widely available. And finally, the RTM build of Windows 10 Mobile (build 10586), while fluid and stable, leaves too many bugs for me to be convinced that I should run out and purchase an overpriced Lumia 950 right now. I’m going to take the ‘wait and see’ approach.
I’ll have a more detailed review of Windows 10 Mobile sometime in the near future, but for now I want to give Microsoft a chance to update the core apps, which it does on an almost daily basis, and provide a refresh to the RTM build before it starts rolling out to existing Lumia handsets in December and January.
Windows 10 November Update
If you’re still catching up with the news today, Microsoft pulled the November Update for Windows 10 from its servers over the weekend. Although the official reason hasn’t been revealed, I’ve had to roll back to build 10240 on one of my devices because of issues recognizing a USB device that I rely on. Nonetheless, if you already updated your devices to build 1511 last week, or downloaded the Media Creation Tool, then there’s not too much to worry about unless you’re experiencing a specific problem.
Microsoft intends to make the November Update available gradually using Windows Update, and that’s probably a wise move as it allows Microsoft to delay rollout to devices with known problematic hardware, software or other configuration. MSDN subscribers can still grab the ISO files, and at the time of writing you can get the Media Creation Tool for the November Update using this hidden link.
It’s nice to receive updates as soon as they’re available, but the reality seems to be that either Microsoft’s quality control isn’t up to par, which let’s face it is quite likely considering some of the bloopers the company’s made recently, or that the sheer size of the Windows ecosystem will always prove a headache, especially when distributing updates that include major reengineering efforts such as in build 1511.
Remember that in comparison Android isn’t easily updated, unless the manufacturer of your device decides to undertake the necessary testing to make sure you have a smooth experience or you root the device, and the Apple hardware ecosystem is limited to devices made by the manufacturer, so neither of these OSes face the challenges confronted by Microsoft when it comes to updating Windows.