Release date details for the next major update to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system are pouring in, but so far there’s still nothing remotely available about Windows 10 for Lumia smartphones and devices already running Windows Phone 8.1
To be clear, Microsoft hasn’t formally said much about its Windows 10 release plans, but that hasn’t stopped leaked code from appearing online and more. All About Microsoft, a publication that’s provided accurate information about the company’s plans in the past, has some new information from its sources about the update.
The outlet’s sources seem firm on the company’s future Windows 10 plans, but Windows 10 for phones seems to be somewhat in flux. Apparently, we’ll hear and see Windows 10 for phones at a late January event but that’s about it. Typically, Microsoft’s Windows team tests software internally before making it available through something like its Windows Phone Developers Program. That testing doesn’t seem to be happening yet, meaning it could be a while before users can download Windows 10 for phones to their Windows Phones to test ahead of the final release. When it does arrive Microsoft, reportedly, has plans to update it on a monthly basis like it’s doing with the Windows 10 Technical Preview today.
Instead of running on just phones, Windows 10 mobile, or what we’re referring to as Windows 10 for phones, will run on small tablets too. This Windows 10 mobile would effectively replace Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1. Windows RT 8.1 is the version of Windows that runs on devices similar to Apple’s iPad. For example, those with a Surface or Surface 2 are running Windows RT. That’s why users can’t add more apps to the Desktop interface. Reportedly, Windows 10 mobile will run on ARM processors like the ones in the Surface 2 and on Intel processors also designed for iPad competitors.
Allegedly, Microsoft is still planning on releasing a Consumer Preview of Windows 10, though it’ll be called the January Technical Preview instead. It’s the publication’s assertion that Microsoft still plans to debut the Continuum interface and maybe even its Cortana personal assistant in the release. Continuum will effectively change how Windows looks and behaves based on whether users have a keyboard and mouse or just touch.
Microsoft has to nail Windows 10 on all fronts. It seems to be using a three-pronged approach to fixing its troubles in the consumer space.
Read: What is Windows 10?
In some areas Microsoft has to clean up the mess it made with Windows 8. That first version of the operating system confused users. The company made up for it by giving notebook and desktop users more options, adding customization options and tutorials in Windows 8.1, but it has to get those users back into the fold.
In the places that that Windows 8 made sense, Microsoft has to deliver more upgrades. The Windows Store was and is great, but needs to offer those who prefer the Desktop something too. Windows 10 will. Continuum is an evolution of the Start Screen, a bridge that’ll make sense for those with the convertibles that Windows 8 powered. Many of Windows Phones big features, like Cortana and options for monitoring data and storage are coming in full Windows in Windows 10 too.
Finally, Microsoft has to merge its different ecosystems into something usable. Today it offers Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, Windows RT 8.1 and an Xbox One dashboard built on top of Windows. Three different digital stores exist today. With Windows 10 Microsoft will use Windows 10 across all of its different form factors and offer one single app store in between them. If Microsoft can pull it off than, it’ll easily be its greatest accomplishment in the past few years. It’ll also give Windows users another reason to pick up a Windows Phone, something they don’t necessarily have a lot of today.
A final version of Windows 10 should arrive sometime in 2015.