How I've Made My Android Phone Feel Very "Microsoft" / Windows 10 Mobile

Bleser

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Thanks for the post. You have gotten closer than many others I have seen to having the Windows experience on Android. Have you figured out a good and reliable way to have text messages read to you automatically as they come in? It is hard for me to walk away from that feature.

No, and this is sorely missed. I really enjoyed Cortana asking if she should read or ignore texts as they came in while driving, but I'm getting used to not having this anymore. Textra does light up the screen when locked with the text which helps (stock SMS app didn't do this), but it isn't as good and still a step backwards both in convenience and safety.
 

xandros9

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No, and this is sorely missed. I really enjoyed Cortana asking if she should read or ignore texts as they came in while driving, but I'm getting used to not having this anymore. Textra does light up the screen when locked with the text which helps (stock SMS app didn't do this), but it isn't as good and still a step backwards both in convenience and safety.

Generally you have to ask the phone to read your messages first and also set your voice as a trusted voice so it can go ahead and do things without prompting for the passcode.

I don't know about all the phones, but while my Nexus and BlackBerry didn't have an automatic text readout function, I found my Moto does have that functionality added by Lenovo/Motorola as part of their additions to Android.
 

Bleser

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Moto Voice functionality has the Moto Z Play on my short list. Will Moto Voice interrupt the radio or a CD to announce a new text message? (Yes, I still have a few CDs in my car.) I noticed on the AndroidCentral Forums that some users claim they only get text message announcements when they are actively using Bluetooth audio.

I posted about this a bit ago as the main feature I'm missing from W10M. I think as you mention the big difference between Cortana and the others is the fact that Siri/Google require the media/BT connection to be the active source in your car to be useful, and Cortana never did; just use her quick-dial number no matter what you are doing and you're on your way.
 

jeffchapik

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This was one of my biggest complaints about Android. Not only for messages, but turn-by-turn driving directions also required your phone to be the current audio source. How backwards is that? Having not used anything but WP/WM for years, I took a lot for granted.
 

xandros9

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Moto Voice functionality has the Moto Z Play on my short list. Will Moto Voice interrupt the radio or a CD to announce a new text message? (Yes, I still have a few CDs in my car.) I noticed on the AndroidCentral Forums that some users claim they only get text message announcements when they are actively using Bluetooth audio.

I have no clue as I haven't used it with a Bluetooth car system seriously yet and I'm actually surprised that was a Windows Phone option - I never realized that.
 

Bleser

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I have no clue as I haven't used it with a Bluetooth car system seriously yet and I'm actually surprised that was a Windows Phone option - I never realized that.

Yep. The brilliance of Cortana integration via Bluetooth in a car is that it is a phone conversation with Cortana. So, Windows Phone automatically takes advantage of your car's systems that pause/mute whatever audio input you're using in your car to allow you to have the "phone conversation" (just like it would if it was actually someone calling you) and then resumes when you're done.

Google does this too but only if you're actively using the Bluetooth input on your car's audio system. If you're on FM radio or something, you have to switch over to BT first to do anything.
 

PuckCowboy

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So after having been on my ATIV SE forever on Verizon, I'm playing around with an LG G6 to see if I can get it to mimic W10M as best as possible (or else I'm just going to wait it out for the HP ELite X3 which is in CDMA certification testing for Verizon).

I've found Launcher 10 on Android to be the closest look and feel, but have a few quick questions.

1) I'm using Nine Email as suggested, however I'm curious if there is a way to pin contacts to the Home Screen like in W10M? What about pinning different account boxes like in Outlook on W10M? Can the Calendar be pinned separately? Right now, when I create shortcuts through the app, all the tiles show the same email info, regardless if its a link to the Calendar or not.

2) Also, does anyone have any experience with Launcher 10 getting the Live Tiles working for Weather?

Im not going to lie, in combination with loss of read/dictate texts with Cortana over bluetooth and the clunkiness of trying to get all my contacts/emails/calendar setup, Android is still as crappy as I remember it, and even messier to boot! I'm even thinking of switching carriers just so I can get a 950 or XL or X3 on AT&T/T-Mobile just to avoid it.

Anyways, all info and help is truly appreciated!

Thank you in advance
 
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xandros9

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So after having been on my ATIV SE forever on Verizon, I'm playing around with an LG G6 to see if I can get it to mimic W10M as best as possible (or else I'm just going to wait it out for the HP ELite X3 which is in CDMA certification testing for Verizon).

I've found Launcher 10 on Android to be the closest look and feel, but have a few quick questions.

1) I'm using Nine Email as suggested, however I'm curious if there is a way to pin contacts to the Home Screen like in W10M? What about pinning different account boxes like in Outlook on W10M? Can the Calendar be pinned separately? Right now, when I create shortcuts through the app, all the tiles show the same email info, regardless if its a link to the Calendar or not.

2) Also, does anyone have any experience with Launcher 10 getting the Live Tiles working for Weather?

Im not going to lie, in combination with loss of read/dictate texts with Cortana over bluetooth and the clunkiness of trying to get all my contacts/emails/calendar setup, Android is still as crappy as I remember it, and even messier to boot! I'm even thinking of switching carriers just so I can get a 950 or XL or X3 on AT&T/T-Mobile just to avoid it.

Anyways, all info and help is truly appreciated!

Thank you in advance

1. Personally I prefer BlackBerry's Hub Suite of PIM apps but I'm just throwing that out there.

You can pin contacts to the home screen by using the contacts app. As for different email accounts I'm not too familiar with that, I know that the Hub lets me add individual accounts to the home screen but I don't use it.

2. The Live Tiles in custom launchers are typically hit-and-miss.

3. My Moto has automatic text readouts if you so desire. I'm not sure about the G6.

For email and other things, I just added my MS account as an exchange account in my phone settings and it worked swimmingly.
 

Bleser

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So after having been on my ATIV SE forever on Verizon, I'm playing around with an LG G6 to see if I can get it to mimic W10M as best as possible (or else I'm just going to wait it out for the HP ELite X3 which is in CDMA certification testing for Verizon).

I've found Launcher 10 on Android to be the closest look and feel, but have a few quick questions.

1) I'm using Nine Email as suggested, however I'm curious if there is a way to pin contacts to the Home Screen like in W10M? What about pinning different account boxes like in Outlook on W10M? Can the Calendar be pinned separately? Right now, when I create shortcuts through the app, all the tiles show the same email info, regardless if its a link to the Calendar or not.

2) Also, does anyone have any experience with Launcher 10 getting the Live Tiles working for Weather?

Im not going to lie, in combination with loss of read/dictate texts with Cortana over bluetooth and the clunkiness of trying to get all my contacts/emails/calendar setup, Android is still as crappy as I remember it, and even messier to boot! I'm even thinking of switching carriers just so I can get a 950 or XL or X3 on AT&T/T-Mobile just to avoid it.

Anyways, all info and help is truly appreciated!

Thank you in advance

I think pinning contacts to the home launcher is launcher-specific, as SquareHome 2 allows you to create tiles to direct dial specific contacts or start up your SMS app with a specific contact which is great. I have a few of mine setup like this, but I'm not using Launcher 10.

The way I created a separate live tile for the calendar was using the Nine Mail calendar widget (see my screen shot above). The widget is interactive and if you tap it it opens the calendar directly, which is perfect.

Again, I use widgets for live tiles, so for me I'm using WeatherUnderground widgets as 'live tiles' on SquareHome 2.

For contact management I have sound the simplest thing is to just not add your MS account to anything but Nine Mail; it sets up everything else automatically and it has been working flawlessly. Well, as flawlessly as Android can be. :)

Good luck.
 

Keith White Jr

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I have been putting some thought into buying a Nokia 6 and using this setup to keep a W10M feel...

Is there any way to make the lock screen look like W10M?
 

vhl71

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Thanks for the write up
Unfortunately i broke the screen of my beloved 950 and it's almost 200 dollars to replace the screen with a delay or 2 weeks to get it shipped!!

So I'm planning to buy a Pixel. And i dont like the android UI. SO might ens up doing this

One question. The start screen looks like old WM8..is there.a way to have transparent tiles with this launcher that resembles my WM10?

Sent from mTalk
 

Bleser

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I have been putting some thought into buying a Nokia 6 and using this setup to keep a W10M feel...

Is there any way to make the lock screen look like W10M?

Hi Keith - I have not found a good lock screen to make it look like W10M yet, but the stock lock screen on my Xperia XA1 Ultra with a custom picture is fairly close in its simplicity.

Don't use Microsoft's "Next" lock screen, though... that thing sucked my battery life like crazy and offered very little in terms of functionality that I found useful.
 

Bleser

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Thanks for the write up
Unfortunately i broke the screen of my beloved 950 and it's almost 200 dollars to replace the screen with a delay or 2 weeks to get it shipped!!

So I'm planning to buy a Pixel. And i dont like the android UI. SO might ens up doing this

One question. The start screen looks like old WM8..is there.a way to have transparent tiles with this launcher that resembles my WM10?

Sent from mTalk

No problem.

SquareHome 2 does offer transparent tiles, and actually two or three variations of them in the way they are implemented. You can do exactly what you want.

I prefer the old-school WP8 look and thus that is why you see that in my screen shot.
 

Keith White Jr

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No, and this is sorely missed. I really enjoyed Cortana asking if she should read or ignore texts as they came in while driving, but I'm getting used to not having this anymore. Textra does light up the screen when locked with the text which helps (stock SMS app didn't do this), but it isn't as good and still a step backwards both in convenience and safety.

Can Cortana on android be set to read text messages as they come in?
 

Keith White Jr

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Has anyone seen this??


Hello all,

I switched to Android from Windows 10 Mobile in May of 2017. I have been running some version of Windows Phone since 2012 (along with my wife, Mother, Mother-in-Law, and so on). My wife is still using her Lumia 950 and loves it (especially for the camera - still one of the best). I was forced to move on by my employer who essentially said I can either enroll in their Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) program with Android/iOS or carry around a work-issued iPhone. So, I decided to let this be the last straw that pushed me to try Android for the first time since 2011.

In doing so I wanted to use as many Microsoft services as possible and make it still feel like Windows 10 Mobile. To that end I think I've succeeded and wanted to share what I've done in case others want to try.

Phone: Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
I wanted a phone that resembles the design of the Nokia devices like the Lumia 1520. Sony's current design language resembles this with their squared-off looks yet they are modern with their near edge-to-edge displays. The XA1 Ultra is not a top of the line performer according to the spec sheet but I find performance to be outstanding (I don't play games on my phone). The screen quality is excellent, build quality is top notch, battery life gets me a full two days and the cameras are above average if not as good as the 950. I almost got the XA1 (non-Ultra) which is a 5" device but thought I'd go big since it is relatively narrow - and I'm pleased that I did. It is much more comfortable to use than either the 1520 or 950 XL since it is narrower than both.

I've really been nothing but pleased beyond video quality, which is quite muddy, but I knew this going into it. Check out the review on gsmarena.com for more info on this phone.

Launcher: SquareHome 2
This is what has really done it for me. I discovered SquareHome 2 from Windows Central comments to Zac's article "Using Android on the Microsoft Ecosystem". Many of these Windows Phone style launchers are bugged and gimmicky, but commenters pointed out that this one was not only high quality but more customizable than even Windows Phone itself. It's true. You can make it look exactly like your current Windows 10 Mobile device and even do things you simply can't with W10M. It also has the basics of a W10M home screen like the photo preview live tile and it does a great job at this. It takes some patience and tweaking to get it setup but it is the main reason I've become "happy" with Android.

Screen Shot: (keep in mind I'm using the old-school styling here but you can do transparent/blur/etc. as well)
https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4306/35784680360_dbd0095eca_b.jpg

Icon Pack: Whicons
This is recommended by the SquareHome 2 launcher to make it all really look like W10M. SquareHome 2 can look a bit odd/silly with stock icons. Using this icon pack suddenly makes it all look like Windows Phone, and you can even put your own icons on any tile to suit your taste.

Screen Shot: See above. :)

Email/Calendar/Contacts: Nine Mail
If you use any kind of Microsoft-based account, this is the app to have. I find it very odd that Microsoft's own Outlook app isn't as good. Nine Mail syncs everything perfectly and all within the Android system so other apps/widgets can see your calendar and contacts like they should. The Outlook app had limitations; the calendar was only "in the app" and nothing else was aware of your appointments within the OS. If you edited a contact, it wouldn't' sync with your account and was pointless. I *think* they have since addressed the contact issue but I'm loving Nine Mail so much now that I won't go back.

Beyond the functionality, Nine Mail allows complete look/feel customization - again, true black/dark mode and color theming down to the hex code of your choice. Customization is endless and it is really a superb app that looks/feels like Outlook on W10M. With their calendar widget on one of my tiles in transparent mode I've got a far better live tile calendar than I ever did with W10M.

Screen Shots:
https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4319/36008517522_4c76a5ea07_b.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4303/36008517462_235d582834_b.jpg

Texting/SMS: Textra
This is really just a customizable SMS app. You can set the background to full dark/black mode and match the colors (mostly) to your SquareHome 2 color scheme. Makes the SMS app feel more "connected" to the rest of the device. It also lights up the screen when you receive a text message, something many stock SMS apps don't do and I really missed.

Screen Shot:
https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4317/35784679900_64a7ebcc1f_b.jpg

Sounds: All Lumia
This is simple but helps complete the emulation. I've loaded MP3 files that are the Lumia calendar, email, notification and so on and set them for each on my device. It not only looks like but sounds like my 950 now too.

The rest of it is fairly standard Microsoft setup - OneDrive to access my files and upload my camera roll, OneNote/Word/Excel for my documents, Groove for my music, Cortana as my voice assistant and so on. I've also disabled everything I possibly can that is Google-based except the Google App itself (you need this for text-to-speech functionality within the keyboard) and Google Maps.

I hope this provides some value to some of you. Ultimately I'm saddened to be using an Android device but being able to emulate the things about W10M that I loved is a plus and something you'll never be able to do on an iPhone.

Cheers!


Do you know what the difference between the XA1 Ultra and XA Ultra is? The XA Ultra is selling for a great price at the moment
 
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fatclue_98

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The XA1 is the newer version. It has double the storage of the XA and a slightly better rear camera. Otherwise, it is very similar.
Having had both I can tell you it's more than just a spec bump. The camera is much better, the CPU is exponentially better and the battery life is lights out. Unfortunately, neither are worth the money they command. You're paying for a Lexus and getting a Corolla. A newer Corolla with a bigger engine, but still a Corolla.

Sent from my Acer Liquid Jade Primo on mTalk
 

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