When Microsoft launched Windows 10 on the PC, it was just one part of a bigger story, and today Microsoft released a new build of Windows 10 Mobile for phones for people in the Windows Insider program to try out. Windows 10 Mobile has seemed to be quite a bit behind the PC even through the last couple of months of the push to Windows 10’s release on July 29th, but with the last couple of builds we are starting to see some serious progress made towards what will eventually be released as Windows 10 Mobile for the phone and small tablet market.

 

The builds are, much like when Windows 10 was getting ready to launch, mostly bug fixes, but the polish and smoothness known of Windows Phone is now slowly making its way to Windows 10 Mobile. It’s not quite there but it is getting close.

Today’s build brings some new features, fixes a couple of outstanding bugs, and brings some more bugs, as anyone on the Fast Ring should expect.  Features at this point are going to really take a back seat though in order for Microsoft to get the product shipped, but there are a couple of notable ones coming today.

Windows 10 Mobile added a one-handed mode, which anyone that has seen or used the iPhone 6 Plus would recognize. By holding the start button, the top of the display moves down towards the bottom of the phone to make it easier to use with just one hand. Initially this was just on larger phones, but based on the feedback that Microsoft received through the Windows Insider program, the feature is now available on all phones. It’s a small change to make, but I think it shows how useful the Insider program has been to both users and Microsoft alike.

The Photos app also got an update, and specifically for the phone performance should be improved when zooming and panning. Since this is one of the many Universal Windows Apps that are powering Windows 10, these improvements will be coming to the PC as well in an update that should be out soon. Again, it’s a small change, but important at this stage of Windows 10 Mobile’s evolution.

Quite a few bugs were fixed in this build as well. Mobile hotspots work again, as does two-factor authentication with a text message being the second factor. But being a Fast Ring build there are also some new bugs as well such as an erroneous option in the Settings app called zStorage which will cause Settings to crash.

Microsoft has also pointed out that people using the Lumia 1020 will be missing features in the built-in camera app not due to any deprecation in Windows 10 Mobile, but because the Lumia Camera app is required to take full advantage of this 41 MP camera, and it won’t be in the store until later this fall. The Windows 10 Mobile camera app will be gaining most of the features of the Lumia Camera app which is a good thing, but for those with the 1020 they will need to use the dedicated version of the software. I personally hope that a future Lumia phone features this same sensor and optics paired with a much better ISP, even though it would be a low volume device. Time will tell but considering the 1020 will still require the Lumia Camera app when all other Lumia phones will be able to use the built-in camera app, it doesn’t look good.

For those that want to check it out, sign up as a Windows Insider and give it a whirl. I’ve not recommended people run this on their everyday phone, since you generally need that to work, but with each successive build it has gotten closer to the point where a lot of people could run this on their phone they use every day.

Source: Windows Blog

 

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  • kspirit - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    What you said in the last paragraph is crucially needed to bring fresh hardware to the table. WP is starting to look very one-note lately.

    Basically all phones are more or less the same. Even the performance isn't hugely different on S400 vs S800. I know they're going for mainstream success with WP10 but I think they should cater to the niche market. A 1020 successor, a Lumia for audiophiles, a Lumia with a huge battery (like Moto X Play), a Lumia variant of the S6. All those things would create major hype. WP devices are getting bland.
    Reply
  • lilmoe - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Exactly what I'm thinking. It's all about the "hype" nowadays. OEMs could announce a W10M version of their phones with each major flagship/midrange announcement, and blogs can put these same devices (running different OSs) to the test for direct comparisons; where UI performance/smoothness, apps, games and battery life are compared.

    HTC did that with the M8, but the M8 (and HTC) itself wasn't all that popular. However, if the GS6/7, Note 5/6, Xperias and LGs had the same flagships with either Android or W10M, it'll create a HUGE stir of comparison videos and hype for the platform (those vloggers are good at that).

    I just hope the app gap is minimized further by then, or at least the top 100-1000 most popular apps.

    I hope Microsoft's management learned a good lesson. Instead of taking a plunge worth $8 Billion, they should have spent that money for advertising, working with OEMs to release all their flagships with Windows Phone, and PAYING developers to port their apps..........
    Reply
  • kspirit - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    They did a lot of wrong with 8.1... They have probably learned their lesson. They should have sped up development with more resources and launched W10M with W10PC, because the hype was HUGE around it then. Still, launching a SP4 with W10M devices alongside would create headlines, so there's hope for a good Christmas sales season. Hopefully the app gap with close with Islandwood now. I'm not holding my breath for Astoria. iOS apps are generally a better quality anyway, plus they will be UW apps!

    Samsung's Ativ line was the bomb, actually. They shouldn't have renamed them "Ativ" though, it creates confusion. "Galaxy" is a lot more prominent in the eyes of consumers. I seriously wish they court OEMs this time. A Moto X Pure or Xperia Z5 with W10M would be an instabuy for me and a lot of others I'm sure :)
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    One missing feature which keeps me from upgrading to a modern Win Phone is the lack of public eMail API (or so). This means I have no way to synchronize my Thunderbird with Win Phone. BirdieSync, a commercial software which allowed this up to Win Mobile 6.5, can't program for the newer OS' if they don't know the API. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    I mostly really like my Windows Phone 8.1. This is looking better and better, though like with 8, my biggest concern right now is how we get updates... Reply
  • BMNify - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Updates should not be a concern for someone reading Anandtech, Just download the Insider app when the RTM version is released, this is a very good option for someone if they are not using Unlocked International phones. Reply
  • rwei - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Did anyone else have Uber break after update? It's trying to update but always fails and now I can't open it. Reply
  • BMNify - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    This is a beta OS, just uninstall and then reinstall the app. Reply
  • rwei - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Tried, but the option to do that is grayed out. I'm just using the mobile website for now, which I was surprised to find is actually better (more full-featured and faster) than the app...?

    Yay Edge? Boo ecosystem?
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Something broke in a fast-ring release? Gasp you should call and complain. Reply

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