Yesterday, I offered up some first impressions of Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones. But now that I’ve been able to spend some more time with this preview, I have some more observations about how Microsoft is making Windows Phone even better in this release.
Just a few items of interest so far…
Cursor placement on the virtual keyboard. Long-time Windows Phone users know that Microsoft really got cursor placement right back in Windows Phone 7.x but then really mucked it up with Windows Phone 8. So with Windows 10 for Phones, they’re back with a new idea: A cursor placement widget in the lower-leftof the keyboard. To see how it works, I loaded up a big Word document in the soon-to-EOL Office hub and … it’s a bit ponderous but it works. It’s sort of like a virtual controller stick in a touch-based game where you place your thumb on the widget and then press up, down, left or right to move the cursor.
New tile sizes. If you’re familiar with Windows Phone, you know that it supports small (square), medium (square) and wide (landscape rectangular) tile sizes. But in Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones, there are two new sizes, though they appear to be available only on a few apps in this build: large (square) and tall (portrait rectangular). Large tiles debuted in (big) Windows 8, but tall is totally new.
Reminder on shutdown. This one is cute: If you shutdown your phone and have a pending appointment, Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones will display a reminder before the screen goes dark. Nice!
Notification expansion. I wrote in Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones: A Quick Visual Overview that Action Center-based notifications could be individually removed. But some of them can also be expanded inline as well. For example, with an email message, you can tap the little expand widget on the right to see more of the message. (Toast notifications can also be expanded, but we already knew that.)
Phone app. I mentioned yesterday that the Phone app hadn’t changed, but it did receiver a minor UI update to the new universal app style (and away from the pivot control used before). But the options are all the same as before, from what I can tell, with just a slightly new look in places.