Cortana in the UK – Developing for Windows Phone and installing Windows Phone Developer Preview

After my excitement last week testing the Windows Technical Preview (aka WIndows 10) it got me to thinking about my phone.

My chosen mobile device is a Nokia Lumia 920 which I’d updated to Lumia Cyan, otherwise known as Windows Phone 8.1. I’ve had the 920 for a little over a year having switched from an iPhone 4s at contract renewal. I am not an avid smart phone user, I have very little time for exploring Apps outside of the built-in and social media Apps you would expect. I had become bored with iOS’s flat, “blank faced” operating system, akin to a Windows desktop full of icons if you will. By contrast the live tiles and bright colours of Windows Phone I found new and exciting, appealing to my desire to be drawn to interact with my phone. I decided I could not reprogram myself to constantly pick up and play with my phone so a phone that tempted and teased me through interactive tiles to play with it, well lets just say I have no desire to go back to iPhone, even iPhone 6.

So I’m running Windows 10 on a laptop with its shiny new start button and I get to thinking about Windows Phone 8.1 and more importantly the features I know our cousins across the pond are enjoying that are currently still to be deployed in the UK and much of the rest of the world. If I can run a beta OS on my computer surely I’m game to do the same on my phone?

So I head to Microsoft’s Developer Site over at dev.windows.com. You’ll want to go to the “Develop” link at the top and then “Downloads”. On the downloads page you’ll want to scroll down to Windows Phone and then under the Windows Phone Preview text follow the “Find out more” link.

If you are not a hardened developer (and I’m not) then the easiest way to dabble in developing for your phone is to look into option 2, “Build Apps using App Studio”. App Studio is a high level “App Creator”, allowing you to create Apps with little or no knowledge of code. This may be something I will visit in a future post but for now we’re interested in the link “Start New Project” in the top right corner of the page.

You will need a Microsoft Account to proceed further but once signed in you are dropped into the App Studio creation page showing you various templates to get started with developing your first app. By all means delve in but for our purposes we need go no further, by simply triggering an App Studio account using our Microsoft Account we have enrolled ourselves as a developer. We can now click “OS Preview” at the top of the page and then go straight to step 3 “Download the App“.

At this point we need to switch to our phone (assuming you’ve come this far on a PC). ‘Preview For Developers’ is an App for your phone which once installed will ask you to sign in with your developer Microsoft Account. Sign in complete, you will be asked if and when you would like updates to be applied to your phone.

Developer Preview App

Word of Caution! At this point there is no going back. You cannot downgrade your phone from a developer preview version you can only stop future updates. If you decide you want to try the developer OS on your Windows Phone then once installed you are committed so be sure!

So there you have it, roughly half and hour of download and update time and your phone will be running the latest preview version of the OS. Say hello to Cortana, the Battery Saver App, and various settings tweaks.

Cortana-Windows-Phone

I have experienced no problems running build 8.10.14176.243 on my Lumia 920. I enjoy using Cortana, it’s a clever piece of AI programming and to my mind more personal than Siri. It’s worth mentioning that one of my other devices is an Apple iPad Mini running iOS 8.0.2 which I enjoy as a device and it helps keep me abreast of Apple’s iOS development.

You follow this article at your own risk, I am purely tempting you by showing the way. I accept no responsibility for anything that happens to your phone be it fools, mishaps, or regret. This is not an official article and you should refer to Microsoft’s own resources before proceeding.

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