During its Mobile World Congress press conference Monday morning in Barcelona, Microsoft showed off a few features in Windows 10 for Mobile for the first time. There’s nothing unexpected here, but it’s always interesting to see things we’ve heard about actually working for a change.
It’s not clear yet when Microsoft will release a second build of Windows 10 for Mobile: you may recall that the first preview release was limited to a very small selection of low-end Lumias only, including the Lumia 630, 635, 638, 730 and 830. During today’s demo, Microsoft used both the Lumia 930 (still the premier Lumia) and a Lumia 630 to show off some Windows 10 for Mobile features for the first time.
To be clear, there’s nothing truly new here, and a big part of the demo was done on a Surface Pro 3 as well, basically to show that so many new Windows 10 features are delivered via universal apps that run across phones and phablets, tablets of all sizes, 2-in-1s and other transforming PCs, and traditional PCs. But here is the handful of new phone features they did demonstrate.
Project Spartan. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer replacement will feature a clean design on the phone as well, and there we can see that now-standard universal app toolbar on phone.
Read Mode and Reading List. As with IE, Spartan will provide a great reading experience courtesy of a customizable Read Mode feature and a separate Reading List app from which you can access saved articles.
Maps. This universal app is already available in the PC-based Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 release, but was shown on Phone for the first time. It syncs location searches between devices (PC, tablet, phone), so you can start a search at home or work on your PC and then use your phone to get there.
Cortana. Microsoft’s personal digital assistant is already available across devices in the preview, but Microsoft showed off how you can sync reminders, favorites and other items between those devices.
So again, nothing major. But some steps forward.
I’m expecting a new build of Windows Technical Preview 2 for PCs/tablets this week. Not sure about the version for phones. But in the meantime, you can watch the entire Microsoft Mobile World Congress presentation on the Lumia Conversations web site.