With Microsoft shipping a new build of Windows 10 Insider Preview for phones yesterday—or what we might call Windows 10 Mobile build 10080—I set out to install it on multiple devices. The process went much more smoothly than with some earlier builds, but it’s just as rough and buggy as ever.
Long story short, if you have only one Windows Phone handset, do not install this build on that handset. It’s just not ready yet.
But build 10080 is interesting for a number of reasons, and even if you have to ogle it virtually—no worries about me, I have dozens of handsets on which I could install this build—I think you’ll agree that progress is being made. I discussed Microsoft’s announced changes for this build in Microsoft Ships a New Build of Windows 10 Insider Preview for Phones. Here, I will focus on what I’ve observed.
Store Beta is built-in. The new Store Beta app looks and works like the version on PCs, but it uses a nice hamburger menu to access top-level items like Apps, Games, Music, and Movies & TV. This interface makes plenty of sense on the phone. But best of all, the app works in landscape too. As all apps should.
Many of the new apps need to be installed from the Store. And not just “from the Store,” but from the Store Beta app. This includes the new Office preview apps—Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint—and the new Xbox app too. (If you search for “excel preview” in Store Beta, you’ll find all the Office apps.)
Music and Video Preview app links are built-in … but the apps aren’t. As on the desktop Windows 10 Insider Preview builds, this build includes access to the preview versions of (Xbox) Music and (Xbox) Video, and both are looking pretty slick. But while you do need to install them from Store Beta, links to these new apps are available by default in the All Apps view, which is odd. (There are no updates to the Podcasts or FM Radio apps that I can see.)
Xbox app. This one very closely mimics the PC version of the app, though of course some features aren’t quite there yet. But I really like this design, and as with Store—and Music Preview and Video Preview—it works well across phone, tablet and PC.
The new Camera app is super-basic … but will get better. Meaning it doesn’t yet take advantage of any of the high-end features found in the PureView cameras on devices like the Lumia Icon, 930 or 1520. But this app is modeled after Lumia Camera and shares the same UI—with Auto, Pro and manual modes—and will no doubt be excellent by the time this thing launches.
The move to cute error messages continues. We see this in Windows 8.x and Windows 10 on PCs, too, but Microsoft is trying to lighten the mood when things go wrong. I guess this is OK.
If you can’t take screenshots, do this. Many people who upgraded from previous builds noticed that screenshots weren’t working right. There are two steps to take. First, go into the Photos app ensure that screenshots really aren’t working: Sometimes you’ll see an error message, but it’s still taking shots. If they are not there, tether the phone to a PC, and, on the PC, navigate to the Pictures folder on the phone and then delete the Screenshots folder. Then, reboot the phone. You should be all set.
The animations are pretty terrible. When you tap a tile on the Start screen, it sort of visually flicks away … and then disappears. And then the app loads. I’m sure they’ll fix this. But it seems like you’re deleting the tile, not running the app.
The UI performance is leisurely, even on high-end phones. Related to the previous item, you tap an icon. It animates. It disappears. Then the app loads. Eventually. Zzzzz.
Live tiles may be super-huge on some phones. I noticed on devices with larger screens—like the Lumia Icon, 930 and 1520—that the default tile size on the Start screen is humongous. (Indeed, it resembles Windows Phone 7.) You can fix this by displaying more tiles in Settings. But when you do, you might get a screen like so. Have fun cleaning that up.
MSN apps have not been updated. We’re starting to see the new-design universal app versions of the MSN apps on PCs, but here in Windows 10 Mobile we still get the old versions. So nothing to say beyond that.
Ultimately, for all the changes, I’m most struck by how incomplete this build still is. Windows 10 Mobile is just nowhere near the quality level we’re seeing in the general Windows 10 Insider Preview builds for PCs.
Tagged with Windows 10 Mobile