Windows 10 for Phones Details Could Disappoint

Owners of smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system still don’t have a Windows 10 for Phones Preview to test on their own, but company representatives are revealing more details ahead of the upgrade’s anticipated arrival. Over the weekend Microsoft revealed that the Windows 10 for Phones will come to devices with 512MB with one big caveat.


Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore shared more details about the coming Windows 10 update for smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 recently on Twitter. Most of the new information is great. For example, Microsoft has confirmed that devices with 512MB of RAM, like the Lumia 520, will get Windows Phone 8.1.


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Read: Windows 10 for Phones Revealed

“We are working on Win10 [Windows 10] for 512MB, including 520.  Our ambition is to make #Win10 available for these devices but features may vary,” a message on Belfiore’s Twitter profile reads. For most, this is good news, but it cuts both ways when you consider Belfiore’s statement in detail.



With the iPhone and devices running Google’s Android operating system dominating high-end handsets, Nokia – now Microsoft Mobile focused almost exclusively on delivering cheaper iPhone rivals to countries that would be more responsive to them. This is why we haven’t seen a decent high-end Windows Phone from Microsoft Mobile in almost a year. To get low cost devices on store shelves, Microsoft Mobile delivered some pretty barebones devices. The Lumia 520 only has 512MB of RAM, a pretty basic 4-inch display and a 5 megapixel camera without flash. Even still, it’s the most popular Windows Phone device ever sold.

The Lumia 520 was a great handset when it arrived, but only having 512MB of RAM definitely held it back. The worry was that any Windows Phone with just 512MB wouldn’t be able to run Windows 10 for Phones. Now it’s worth noting that even now Microsoft is warning owners of 512MB Windows Phones to not expect all of the features Windows 10 for phones will provide. In effect, Microsoft is already saying that its largest swath of users won’t be getting the best experience with Windows 10 on their devices.

Besides lowering expectations, Belfiore also confirmed some Windows 10 for phones preview release date details. According to Belfiore, Microsoft is still on track to deliver the Windows 10 for Phones Preview during the month of “February.” To be clear, this isn’t a new release date window, Microsoft said it would release the Windows 10 for phones preview in February during its Windows 10 Media Briefing in mid-January. Belfiore did confirm that the operating system is actually still in internal testing.

It seems that when the Windows 10 for Phones Preview does arrive, it won’t be available for everyone. Belfiore said that, “timing for various phones may be variable as well.” When the Windows 10 for Phones Preview does arrive only some users will be able to install it on their devices. At some point later Microsoft will roll out new versions to its Insider Program that’ll include support for different devices. Belfiore didn’t provide a timetable for how long it will take Microsoft to add support for additional devices. Presumably, Microsoft plans to roll out updates to the Windows 10 for Phones Preview monthly, just like its main Windows 10 Preview for Desktops, notebooks and tablets.

Windows 10 for Phones will complete Windows Phone’s transformation into a Windows companion. Users will be able to purchase apps that work across notebooks, smartphones, desktops and tablets. Additionally, Microsoft is refreshing the Start Screen design. Windows 10 for phones drops the Internet Explorer web browser in favor of Spartan, a new web browser that’ll include extensions similar to Google’s Chrome web browser.

Microsoft hopes to roll out Windows 10 for Phones as a free update for most Windows Phone 8.1 users later this year.