Hougaard.com – Applied Hacking

Windows 10 Mobile and Bluetooth – Why is this hard?

As a #WindowsInsiders, I’m still using a Windows 10 Mobile device. I’m using the Microsoft Lumia 950XL – In many ways a great phone, it is on the fast ring.

My phone is my primary media device for music and audio books. Spotify, Groove and Audible are my three musketeers in mobile entertainment. When using wired headphones everything is rock solid, there are never interruptions in the audio stream, I can do anything at the same time on the phone, playing games, browsing, emails – anything.

But Bluetooth is a whole other universe!

So a naive thought would be that replacing the minijack and audio wire with Bluetooth would give the exact same result, but no. There are so many problems with Bluetooth on Windows 10 Mobile that it’s hard to know where to begin.

So let’s begin with connecting. I use Bluetooth to connect my phone to my cars, note the plural. Due to the way our daily schedule is, I often drive one car to and from work and another car to drive to activities, transport kids, bikes, skies etc.

Car #1 is running the Ford/Microsoft Sync – latest firmware from Ford
Car #2 is running an Android-based in-car (Not Android Auto) system

Both cars are working fine with non-Windows 10 phones.

Quite often (currently around 10 times a week) when entering a car, three things can happen (instead of the phone just working)

  • The phone will not connect to the car
  • The phone connects briefly, then reboots
  • The phone connects for voice but not for music

The solution to this problem can be to disable/enable Bluetooth in the settings app, this will solve the issues 25% of the times. Otherwise, I have to reboot the phone (Hold power – watching “Goodbye” for several minutes) to make the connection.

If I’m lucky enough to get a connection with audio, the “sound quality” issues start. There several different issues here:

  • If something else is going on, aka. multitasking, even the simplest operation will create skips in the audio stream.
  • Some operations can switch the audio stream into a “low bandwidth” sounding setting, in lack of a better term, sounding just like when compressing voice through an 8kbit GSM compression
  • Other operations will cause static noise and stutter.

And the last group of issues, I’ll call “external interference”, driving in certain areas always gives different audio issues – This is hard to describe, but driving on a specific piece of road will ALWAYS interrupt the audio stream, even when running audio from an app like audible where everything is  streamed from the device.

Microsoft, how can I help you, so we can fix this? Reporting in Feedback Hub does not seem to have any effect, I’ll also hear from several other people whom all have similar issues.

Update: No improvements in Build 15014

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