The release date for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is far from near, but Windows 10 10049 finally adds one of the crucial features Microsoft needs to have users test before launch. The new version of the operating system rolling out this week for notebooks, desktops, tablets and 2-in-1s includes the new Project Spartan Web Browser the company promised last year.
Microsoft announced Windows 10 10049 in a post on its Blogging Windows site late yesterday. Like the previous versions of Windows 10 released to members of the Windows Insider Program, Windows 10 10049 is a more complete look at what Microsoft plans to make available to Windows 8 and Windows 7 users for free later this year. Right now, the version is only available to members of the program in what’s called the “Fast Ring.” Windows 10 10049 has some bugs that Microsoft needs to iron out before it becomes available to everyone later on in the “Slow Ring.”
At its Windows 10 Media Briefing back in January, Microsoft confirmed that it had a new web browser in the works. This new browser would essentially do the same things as Internet Explorer, but do them in a modern way. A new rendering engine like what’s in Google Chrome would ensure that websites wouldn’t break. Microsoft also said that built-in support for marking up web pages with a digital pen and integration with its Cortana personal assistant would give it the momentum it needs to get more people using its built-in browser instead of downloading another. That browser is one of the few new features in this version of Windows 10.
Project Spartan mostly matches the look and feel of other Windows 10 apps we’ve seen already. Tabs for selecting individual apps sit above the address bar like they do in Chrome instead of beside the address bar like in Internet Explorer. Buttons for favorites and taking notes on the website in question sit off to the far right. Like Chrome, Project Spartan supports browser extensions too. This allows web developers to add features to Project Spartan themselves.
Beyond Project Spartan, Windows 10 10049 only addresses some bugs noticed in previous versions. The Photos app won’t crash suddenly when users open the collection of pictures they’ve already taken. Microsoft also says that it’s addressing an issue with the Start Screen that had Desktop and Windows Store apps surfacing behind tiles on the Start Screen and Task View. After the update users shouldn’t find themselves locked out of their PC when they hit a specific key combination during the setup process.
To be clear, the operating system also includes a few bugs too. Outlook search is broken and users won’t see any new mail surface in their search results after upgrading to Windows 10 10049. Microsoft is encouraging those making apps to stick to the Slow Ring too. Windows 10 10049 completely breaks parts of Visual Studio 2015. Visual Studio is the software that lets developers create their own apps and programs.
Windows 10 is more than just Project Spartan. When it’s finished Microsoft will have revamped the Start Screen to make it more touch-friendly and easier to use, put the Desktop back at the forefront of the notebook and desktop PC experience and added a way for 2-in-1s to automatically switch between the two when certain conditions are met. A few weeks ago Microsoft announced that it was integrated fingerprint readers and scanners directly into Windows 10, making it easier than ever for users to login with things like the Touch-ID fingerprint reader included in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Although we know Microsoft plans to “launch” Windows 10 as a free update for Windows 8 and Windows 7 users, we do know exactly when. So far, Microsoft has only confirmed it’s coming to everyone eligible sometime this “summer.”