1. Microsoft Releases First Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones
2/14/2015 10:44:52 AM
Microsoft Releases First Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones
UX,Windows 10,UI,Windows Insider Program,Cortana,OS
App Developer Magazine

Microsoft Releases First Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones

Stuart Parkerson Stuart Parkerson in Windows Mobile Saturday, February 14, 2015

Microsoft has announced its first build of Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones is now available for Windows Insiders. Windows 10 has the same core platform for PCs, tablets and phones, and participating in the program for phones will work much in the same way it has been working for PCs.

Microsoft’s Gabe Aul says that this is the earliest publicly available preview they have ever done for Windows on phones. In his blog post he emphasized that it is very much under development and you’re going to see some rough edges. As he mentions, “We’re sharing it with you so you can be with us at every step, and provide your feedback to help make this the best release ever - because it’s the one made for you. You will encounter bugs. You will see experiences that are clearly just not done yet, and UX that lacks polish at this point. DON’T WORRY! It will improve as we go and new features, stability and performance improvements, and more polished UX will come at each step. This first preview build for phones is “less complete” or “earlier” than the PC. While the Windows 10 is built on shared code that runs on both PCs and phones, Windows 8.1 for PC was finished months earlier than Windows Phone 8.1, so the PC build has had more bake time. ”

As Aul explains, “But we’re not worried about getting a great final product out or the progress we’re making. Much of our work until this point has been on platform development rather than the completeness of the UI, so a lot isn’t immediately visible – like the fact that we have a common OS core and app platform across PC and phones. But those ‘fundamentals’ represent a ton of work and are going to enable a lot of cool things to come, like apps that work seamlessly across devices, consistent manageability of devices, and the ability to run a whole new generation of Office Universal Apps on all of your Windows 10 devices.”

To get started:

- Join the Windows Insider Program

- Register your device to receive builds as over the air updates

- Builds will come to you automatically as they are ready, after being validated by engineers at Microsoft and used on their own phones

- Use the built-in Windows Feedback app to send us problem reports and suggestions

- Updates will continue all the way up to the final build that goes out to all customers

- You can roll your phone back to the previous OS any time you’d like

What’s included in the preview build:

- Full-size Background Image for Start: Microsoft has added another option to customize the start screen with a full-size background image.

- More Quick Actions in Action Center: The number of quick actions available has been increased. Windows Phone 8.1 has four programmable quick actions – but with Windows 10 you also get an expanded view that can now have up to three rows.

- Interactive Notifications: Notifications are now interactive, allowing you to take action directly like dismissing an alarm, or seeing images for maps. For example, for text messages, when the toast pops, you can quickly reply inline via text or voice.

- Significantly enhanced speech-to-text capability: You can talk to virtually any data field you choose. Your words show up as you speak them – and punctuation appears automatically.  This feature is smart enough to understand when to use ‘two’ – the number — instead of ‘too’ as in ‘also’.

- More powerful Photos app: From your very first launch, Photos will show the aggregated set of all your local photos and all your OneDrive photos.

Aul explains, “We know that some things will also look like a step back. This includes Cortana. Because of the work we’re doing to converge across PC and phones, Cortana in this build will be limited to US-only and English-only and some of the features you use in Windows Phone 8.1 aren’t yet enabled in this new codebase. Once again, DON’T WORRY! Cortana will be more powerful and capable in Windows 10 than ever before, with more capabilities and language support than ever before. Windows Insiders will see those changes come alive in future builds.”

Known Issues

As Aul points out, this is still an early build and while there are many things that work great, there are also known bugs and things that just don’t work quite right yet. It is a work in progress. In most cases a fix is coming in a future build, but a few have workarounds you can try in the meantime are available in Aul’s blog post.

Aul states, “The most important thing for us is that we want to make sure that anyone who tries this early preview has a way to get back to their prior OS if something goes wrong. So we’re only supporting phones for the preview that have a recovery image available. We created a new tool called the Windows Phone Recovery Tool that will restore that image if necessary. We haven’t bricked a single phone during all of our internal testing, but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE, so you should be aware that there is some potential risk for you. In addition, bugs could prevent access to important features for you, including phone dialing and other core functionality.”

Microsoft is starting with a limited set of devices supported for this first preview. The majority of Lumia phones, from the most advanced to the most affordable, can be upgraded to Windows 10. For this specific technical preview, Microsoft is starting with a small subset of devices in order to isolate OS issues from hardware or board support package issues to stabilize the platform. As Aul points out, “This is a normal part of the engineering process, but you would not have seen it in the past because we haven’t done a public preview before—so those builds were Microsoft only. (In the first 4-6 months of development, our team would typically focus on only one specific device—then we’d broaden.)”

Support for more phones will be phased in with each new build, and Microsoft will announce which devices are being added when the build comes out. Expect the list to grow slowly at first but expand comprehensively over time. For this first preview build these are the devices supported: Lumia 630, Lumia 638, Lumia 635, Lumia 730, Lumia 636 and Lumia 830. For these devices Microsoft will support configurations from almost all mobile operators around the world, the most notable exception is China which isn’t yet supported for the first preview.

Says Aul, “Some context on why we chose these and not higher end phones like the 930/Icon or 1520: We have a feature that will be coming soon called ‘partition stitching’ which will allow us to adjust the OS partition dynamically to create room for the install process to be able to update the OS in-place. Until this comes in, we needed devices which were configured by mobile operators with sufficiently sized OS partitions to allow the in-place upgrade, and many of the bigger phones have very tight OS partitions. Note that this doesn’t mean that Windows 10 will take more disk space than Windows Phone 8.1, it’s just a function of the upgrade process at this point. Once the partition stitching feature is completed, many more devices will be supported.”

There are a number of languages supported in the preview including: Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Catalan (Spain), Czech (Czech Republic), Dutch (Netherlands), English (UK), English (US), Finnish (Finland), French (Canada), French (France), German (Germany), Hindi (India), Italian (Italy), Japanese (Japan), Korean (Korea), Polish (Poland), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian (Russia), Simplified Chinese (China), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico/LatAm), Swedish (Sweden), Thai (Thailand), Traditional Chinese (Taiwan), Turkish (Turkey), and Vietnamese (Vietnam).

More insight on the new Windows 10 Technical Preview is available here.

Read more: http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/02/1...