A video recorded this past October provides a brief, but crucial glimpse at changes that could be coming to Windows Phones like the Lumia 830 when Windows 10 arrives for smartphones sometime next year.
To be clear, this isn’t a new video from a recent appearance. Instead, the video is a recording of Windows lead Joe Belfiore addressing technology professionals at Microsoft’s annual Tech Ed Europe Conference.
In the video, we see a Nokia Lumia Icon running what can only be an early version of Windows 10. A simple picture of a flower is used as a background on the device, sitting behind the device’s Live Tiles. The apps on the screen are separated into two different categories. This upgraded Start Screen, and what appears to be a slightly upgraded OneNote app are about the only big changes we see in the video.
That makes sense, as Tech Ed Europe was held back in October and Belfiore was focusing on features business with large IT departments can expect with the new release. The small reveal actually comes during a demonstration of Group Policy changes that’ll give businesses more control over what workers can and can’t do with their Windows devices. Throughout the video a flag sits in the top right corner, reminding viewers that what they are seeing is not necessarily indicative of what the company actually plans to launch.
If what’s shown in the video is indeed what makes it into Windows 10 for phones, users should definitely be excited though.
What Microsoft has today is a giant Metro Design Language mess. Flat tiles with straight edges that update with relevant information made their début in Windows Phone 7. Since then, Microsoft has used the Metro Design across dozens of products. Today, it’s on everything from the Xbox One to Outlook.com. 2012’s Windows 8 release included updating Live Tiles and a flat, color-filled Start Screen.
The Windows 8 version of Start Screen includes some key upgrades over the Windows Phone 8 version. For starters, backgrounds aren’t something that show up inside Live Tiles. Instead, a background sits behind the Live Tiles, the way a user might expect it to. The majority of the background is covered, but it fills user’s screens with color. Black or white still dominates the Windows Phone 8 Start Screen, even with a background.
Windows Phone users couldn’t add a background to their Start Screen at all until the Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade that arrived earlier this year for most.
The Start Screen shown in this Windows 10 video also has Live Tiles organized into categories. Today, Windows Phone users can reorganize Live Tiles, change their sizes and put them into folders. They can’t organize them on their Start Screen in the same way Windows 8 users can.
What’s in this video isn’t indicative of what users will get necessarily, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make sense. Windows 10 is all about marrying the different versions of Windows into one thing that makes sense. We don’t know what’s in Windows 10 for phones yet, but we do know that Windows 10 for notebooks, desktops and tablets has picked up dozens of features that made their début in past versions of Windows Phone. Cortana, Windows Phone’s personal assistant, shows up in the latest Windows 10 leaks. Storage Sense and Battery Saver are both available in Windows 10 too.
Windows 10 will run on Windows notebooks, desktops, 2-in-1s, tablets and phones. Linking all of these different versions together will be Continuum, an adaptive interface that’ll play to each form factor’s strengths. A unified Store will offer up apps compatible with all Windows 10 devices.
Read: What is Windows 10?
Microsoft plans to talk more about Windows 10 at an event on January 21st. Presumably, we’ll see whether the Start Screen shown off in this video will make it to users at that event.