Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system for notebooks, desktops and large tablets has gotten most of the attention lately, but it’s a separate operating system that’s giving users new reasons to get exciting for the coming operating system today. This morning Microsoft released Windows 10 10051, but unlike the other recent previews made available, this one is strictly for the company’s line of iPhone rivals running the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.
Microsoft first revealed a new version of Windows 10 for phones was coming late Thursday, but it wasn’t until today that members of the Windows Insider Program were able to get their hands on the software update and a blog post summarizing changes. Windows 10 for Phones includes tons of new features all designed to give Microsoft’s next-generation of iPhone rivals the software and hardware features they need to be competitive.
Internet Explorer is on its way out on all versions of Windows 10 and that includes Windows 10 for phones. Windows 10 10051 includes the new browser Microsoft plans to replace it with, called Project Spartan. Spartan on notebooks, tablets phones and desktops includes a built-in Reading List for following up on interesting articles and a Reading View for consuming those articles without all the unnecessary fluff. For now, Internet Explorer is still available for those who want it.
We’re living in a strange time when Outlook is not only available on the iPhone, but is a better email client that what Microsoft makes available to its own users. Windows 10 10051 for Phones adds new Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar apps that replace the tired and basic versions in Windows Phone 8.1. Outlook Mail includes the same swipe gestures as Outlook for iPhone and Android, but layers in rich text formatting taken straight from Microsoft’s Word productivity app. Microsoft says Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar support Gmail, Google Calendar, Yahoo, IMAP, POP, Exchange and Office 365. There was previously Microsoft has broken the settings for these apps out into the apps themselves. There are new versions of the People, Messaging, Phone and Maps.
Besides Phone, these apps are what Microsoft now calls simply Windows apps. Windows apps work across Windows 10 for Phones and Windows 10 for everything else. Microsoft is even expected to make some Windows apps easy to add to its Xbox One entertainment console.
Like with other previews available in the Windows Insider Program, it’s a very, very bad idea to go installing the Windows 10 10051 for Phones preview of personal devices. It’s incredibly buggy. During the update some Live tiles could corrupt, forcing you to pin them again. Microsoft says it’s still working on memory management and apps running on Windows Phones with less than 512MB of RAM could crash frequently. Multimedia messaging filtering stops working after update and there’s no way to open a Word document, PowerPoint presentation or OneNote notebook since Microsoft has gone ahead and killed off the old Office Hub for Windows Phone. According to today’s post will see new versions of those apps launch within a few weeks.
Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will launch as a free update for Windows Phone 8.1 users sometime this summer, however it’s unclear if that also means Windows 10 for Phones since it seems to be running two months behind the rest of Windows 10’s release schedule. At the very least, Microsoft should have a smartphone with the operating system ready to take on the iPhone 6 and possible iPhone 6s by the end of the year.
We could see new versions of Windows apps and more Windows 10 for Phones features at Microsoft’s BUILD 2015 event beginning April 29th.