It’s been a long time since the last Windows Insider build of Windows 10 Mobile for phones, and given the low quality of that release, enthusiasts have been clamoring for something new. Today we get it in the form of Windows 10 Mobile build 10136 for phones.
I was expecting to see this build released last week. But Microsoft’s Gabe Aul revealed that there were some issues with the build, and that it would be pushed back to at least this week. Then, on Monday, Aul dropped a bombshell via Twitter: Microsoft wanted feedback about whether it should still deliver this build to testers, given the issue.
The choice was simple: Because of a problem updating the current Insider build, build 10080, to the new build, Microsoft could issue build 10136 to the Fast ring but block it for upgrades, meaning that you would need to downgrade your handset to Windows Phone 8.1 first using the Windows Phone Recovery Tool. Or, it could simply keep working on the problem and hopefully fix it for a release that could be as long out as a week from now.
I voted for the former choice—just ship the damn thing—as did anyone else who actually wants to test this thing, and Aul agreed: He said that Microsoft would deliver build 10136 as an upgrade only to phones on Windows Phone 8.1 (with the Windows Insider app installed and enabled for Fast ring builds). Those with build 10080 simply won’t see the update (yet).
To be clear, if you want the new build, you need to start from a phone that is currently running Windows Phone 8.1.
In preparation for this change, Microsoft pulled build 10080 from the Fast ring so that those with Windows Phone 8.1 who want the new build don’t inadvertently install it and then aren’t able to get to 10136. And then today, build 10136 finally went live.
“[Build] 10136 is considerably better than 10080,” Mr. Aul explained yesterday via Twitter. “Thousands of improvements have gone into code between the two builds.”
Today, we got more specifics. I’m installing the build on multiple handsets—yes, I’m a head case—but here’s what Microsoft says you need to know.
You can only upgrade from Windows Phone 8.1. Again, Microsoft is only offering it to phones that are running Windows Phone 8.1 and opted in to the Windows Insider Fast ring.
Don’t freak out when it freezes up. According to Microsoft, the Lock screen will appear frozen without the date and time for up to 10 minutes at the end of the upgrade process. “Please be patient and let it sit – eventually the date and time will appear and it will allow you to unlock your phone,” the firm notes. “There is a post-upgrade migration status screen missing, which normally would show you that it was making progress. If you get impatient and restart or mess with locking/unlocking your phone, you’ll wind up in a funky state – so just relax and let it do its thing.”
Fit and finish. Microsoft says it has made “tons” of fit and finish updates since the last build, “far too many subtle changes in the UX to cover.” The PIN pad is now transparent and slides up over your Lock screen image instead of displacing it, there are many changes to fonts, icons, layout, and so, and the UX feels more complete than with build 10080.
Cortana. In this build, “Cortana is … now very close to [the] final design. Microsoft has updated the cards in the Cortana homepage and in the hamburger menu, added dark theme colors to Cortana’s UI, and provided a ton of new functionality: flight and package tracking, alerts for going to work, home and the airport, and answers to questions about the weather, currency, stock quotes and more.
Photos. You can now tap on a month to get a list of months so you can quickly jump to photos from any time period. You can now double-tap to zoom on a photo. And there are many performance and reliability improvements.
Camera Beta. If you’re using a Lumia 640, 640 XL, 930, Icon, or 1520, be sure to make the Lumia Camera Beta app your default camera app. This app is the same app as the new Windows 10 Camera app but with additional features that appear only on certain Lumia handsets.
One-handed use. It’s now easier to use a device with a 5-inch or larger screen with one hand: just press and hold the Start button and your screen will slide down so you can reach items at the top of your screen. To slide the screen back up, tap the black space at the top of the screen, or press and hold the Start button again. One-handed use will also time out after several seconds and return to your regular view automatically.
Problems fixed. Microsoft has fixed a number of issues since build 10080, including the infamous MMS bug, an issue where touch would stop responding on the Lock screen, visual glitches in Action Center, an issue with small text in the People app, the Wi-Fi quick action, Start background scaling, and more.
Problems remain. Naturally, there are still issues. You will still see duplicate Search and Phone icons in All Apps. Skype may be broken (and should be uninstalled before upgrading, good to know). And the migration bug that triggers that freeze thing mentioned above. It’s a beta.
Microsoft says it will release Windows 10 Mobile “broadly later this year.” I’m looking forward to playing with the new build to see how close we’re getting. More soon.
Tagged with Windows 10 Mobile