Windows 10 for smartphones is essentially feature complete, says Microsoft, and will make its official debut with a new flagship phone soon.
5 Ways Microsoft Messed Up Mobile
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Windows 10 Day is here for most, but not all, Microsoft devices. Desktops, laptops, and tablets all have access to the latest bits from Microsoft. The one major exception? Smartphones. Windows 10 Mobile for phones is almost ready, but needs a bit more time in the oven, says Microsoft.
Microsoft has been developing Windows 10 Mobile alongside the larger Windows 10 ecosystem, and for good reason. Microsoft claims Windows 10 and the mobile variation thereof will solve once and for all the app gap that has stymied Windows Phone since day one.
Android and iOS devices have five or six times as many apps available in their respective storefronts. Microsoft is confident Windows 10's universal apps will help plug the holes in its mobile offering.
Thanks to the shared codebase, developers can truly create apps that run on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
"We have one common operating system for all the device types that we are making. Our strategic belief is, if we have a big audience of people, then developers will put apps in that store because there will be demand," said Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore in an interview with The Verge. Microsoft is not being shy about its ambitions. It firmly believes Windows 10 will surpass 1 billion installs worldwide.
Smartphones will help it do that -- once Windows 10 Mobile is ready.
Microsoft has updated the Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview fairly often, but it still remains somewhat buggy and unusable, even from a beta standpoint. Microsoft's Belfiore says all the tent poles are in place, however, and the major features are more or less intact.
The company expects to bring at least one flagship-quality device to the market before the end of the year. When prodded for more specific details on the timing, Microsoft said its new handset will appear after the IFA trade show, which is scheduled to run in early September.
That means Microsoft's first Windows 10 Mobile handsets won't appear until later in September, if not October.
"The phone is significantly feature complete, but we'll continue to polish and tweak and iterate the things that still need to work," said Belfiore. "We'll put features in right up near the end. But in general, the broad feature set is set."
Continuum is the key.
Continuum adds support for a keyboard, mouse, and external monitor to Windows 10 Mobile. It allows handsets to function as full PCs when hooked up to the right set of accessories. Microsoft is clearly excited about the potential of this feature, which could become the default computing style for road warriors.
Windows 10 Mobile will be ready soon. I, for one, am excited to see if Microsoft's latest mobile platform will finally have what it needs to take on Android and iOS.
Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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