Despite a month-long wait for this latest build, Windows 10 Mobile has been rushing towards completion for quite some time, and recent builds had focused on fit and finish work, not new features. And so it is with build 10512, which introduces a few temporary issues, sure, but also provides our most cohesive look yet at Windows 10 Mobile.
This was, perhaps, predictable. But despite clear indications from Microsoft that this build included only minor changes related to fit-and-finish, well. Hope springs eternal and all that.
But this isn’t bad news. Build 10512 seems fast and stable for the most part, though I will need to bring it out in the world, which I’ll do today, to become surer of that. It is more cohesive looking, certainly, with fewer of the weird visual glitches were text and graphics overlap in strange ways. (Many still exist, however.)
More nebulously, in using this build I’m again reminded of why—and how—I love Windows phones so much. On my current trip—we’re entering week three of a three-week home swap in Lyon, France—I have been using my iPhone 6 Plus a bit more than my Windows Phone 8.1-based Lumia 930, mostly for picture taking. And it’s … fine. It’s not totally objectionable, mostly because I’m not using it as a phone, I’m using it as a camera. But where Windows 10 Mobile, like Windows Phone OS before it, really shines is in the day-to-day. The ability to fill the screen with meaningful, informational tiles in the layout that makes the most sense for you. And, in this latest OS rendition, the comforting consistency of the app experiences.
Of course, I’m not really using Windows 10 Mobile day-to-day yet. And this build can’t change that, as there are just too many things still wrong with it, temporary though each issue may be. Microsoft has promised to step up the build output yet again. And while I’m naturally inclined to treat that promise cynically, it’s understandable that the massive Windows 10 launch that not coincidentally landed exactly in the middle of the previous and current Windows 10 Mobile builds probably impacted the team’s ability to think about anything else. So I’ll look forward to more and more frequent builds. But today, all I can do is look at build 10512.
And it’s good. It’s the first build of Windows 10 Mobile that didn’t cause me to immediately reset my devices after upgrading and that alone should have been listed as the number one new feature. As Microsoft’s Gabe Aul noted on Twitter post-release, the firm has actually fixed over 2,000 bugs since the previous Insider build.
There are still bugs. The lock screen still features that odd lag before the gorgeous new PIN input screen arrives, and that performance issue has been dogging me for so long I’m getting worried that Microsoft won’t fix it. On the Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 I’ve upgraded so far—I brought a few more devices, including a Lumia 1520 and a second Lumia 930—performance is otherwise acceptable, and I use these mid-level devices as the personal threshold for what’s minimally acceptable in phone hardware circa mid-2015. That said, some apps only slowly, with an annoying “Loading…” screen lingering onscreen before anything happens.
If you are familiar with Windows Phone, you get the basic gist of this system. It features an enhanced version of the Start screen and live tiles, and an enhanced version of the All Apps screen. Action Center and notifications are consistent with Windows Phone 8.1 and with Windows 10. Settings is now consistent with Windows 10 for PCs and tablets, with the same layout and searching capability. And the built-in apps are now, for the most part, universal apps and where possible—Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Groove Music, Movies & TV, Maps, and many others—look and work as identically as makes sense with their desktop siblings.
This is, I think, the central selling point for Windows 10 Mobile: consistency with the very well-received Windows 10. In other words, people are going to love Windows 10. And if they do, they will love Windows 10 Mobile. I certainly do.
I should probably clean install this build—again, by upgrading and then resetting—to get a more complete look at the progress. In fact, I will do so. But even fresh off the upgrade, build 10512 is clearly the cleanest, most complete look at Windows 10 Mobile yet. And I like what I’m seeing here.
The trick, of course, is going to be waking up the rest of the world.
Tagged with Windows 10 Mobile