Naturally, there’s a lot of excitement around the first-ever Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 release for Phones. But there’s also a lot of disappointment: This first release only works on a handful of devices, and it come with some serious issues. So to set your expectations, here’s what you can expect from Windows Technical 10 Preview 2 for Phones.
First, a quick editorial: It is absolutely inexcusable for Microsoft to have not communicated at least the list of phones that would work with this first external build. For the past month, Windows Phone fans—the few, the proud, the dwindling—have been pining away to check out Windows 10 on their handsets. And Microsoft has sat there silently, knowing full well that most of us would be disappointed. I am just amazed and depressed by this. If you waited for this release, as I did, what can I say: I’m sorry. Microsoft—the Windows team—should all collectively be ashamed of themselves for this.
But it is what it is. So. What’s happening?
If you do have one of the few supported phones—Lumia 630, 635, 636, 638, 730 or 830—and are using it via supported carrier—Microsoft says only that it support configurations from almost all mobile operators around the world, excluding China—then you can grab Windows Technical 10 Preview 2 for Phones now.
If you don’t, you’re screwed. Microsoft says only that support for more phones will be phased in with each new build, and that it will announce which devices are being added when the build comes out. “Expect the list to grow slowly at first but expand comprehensively over time,” the software giant explains.
Those lucky few who are able to install Windows Technical 10 Preview 2 for Phones can expect to see some new features, compared to Windows Phone 8.1.1. Microsoft calls out the following:
Full-size background image for Start. You have the option to customize the Start screen with a full-size background image.
More quick actions in Action Center. With Windows Phone 8.1, you have four customizable quick actions in Action Center, but with Windows 10 you also get an expanded view that can now have up to three rows of quick actions. (So 12 quick actions, I guess. But of course, you can have five quick actions on the Lumia 1520.)
Interactive notifications. As with iOS 8, notifications are now interactive, so you can do things like dismiss an alarm without leaving the app you’re currently using. For example, for text messages, when the toast notification appears, you can quickly reply inline via text or voice.
Significantly enhanced speech-to-text capability. With Windows 10, Microsoft says you can “talk to virtually any data field you choose … Your words show up as you speak them – and punctuation appears automatically. This feature is smart enough to understand when to use ‘two’ – the number — instead of ‘too’ as in ‘also’.”
Photos app. As with WTP2 for PCs, the Phone version features the new Photos app, showing you an aggregated set of all your local and OneDrive photos.
Sadly, Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones also has some missing features that will appear later. Office for Windows 10, the new Mail and Calendar universal apps, IP-based messaging from Skype and more are all missing in action in this build.
There are also regressions, like Cortana, which no longer works outside of the confines of the US-only/English-only world. And all kinds of bugs. Indeed, Microsoft even lists some workarounds for common bugs which you can read for yourself in the Microsoft blog post about this catastrophe.
So. There you go. What a mess.