Windows 10 Mobile Rumbles Back to Life as Windows 10 for Phones

Posted on August 10, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Windows 10 Mobile Rumbles Back to Life as Windows 10 for Phones

As you may recall, Microsoft shipped Windows 10 version 1607 earlier this month for PCs and tablets, HoloLens, and IoT, and it shipped a related Summer Update for Xbox One. Windows 10 Mobile? Not so much.

But now Microsoft is jumpstarting its Windows 10 Mobile development efforts and it still plans to ship a “final” version of what it’s now calling Windows 10 for Phones sometime later this month. (Update: Not exactly. As usual, Microsoft’s inconsistent naming practices are suggesting a change that most likely isn’t happening. –Paul)

There’s been some hedging about the actual date of that release: You may recall that a now deleted Microsoft tweet claimed that Windows 10 Mobile 1067 would be “available on August 9, 2016,” though that date has passed. To me, the bigger issue is that Microsoft wanted to align the development of Windows 10 Mobile with its broader Windows 10 efforts, since the previous milestone, 1511, was so far behind. And this naming change for the product to Windows 10 for Phones—Microsoft actually writes it as “Windows 10 for phones,” with a small “p”—is indicative, I think, of this continued desire. (And of the lessened importance of Windows 10 on phones; don’t think of this thing as “Windows phone,” Microsoft seems to be telegraphing. It’s just Windows 10. For phones.”

Anyway. Microsoft announced via the Feedback Hub in Windows 10—the least transparent way imaginable of announcing such things—that a new cumulative update its available for Windows Insiders on both PC/tablet and phone. This update will presumably head out to public PC users in the next few days, but since Windows 10 Mobile 1067 isn’t “finished,” I’m most curious about what’s happening there.

Cumulative Update KB3176931 includes the following minor changes:

  • Battery life fixes. This update addresses an issue that causes significantly reduced battery life on Windows phone when using Bluetooth with “Hey Cortana.”
  • OOBE issue. This update addresses an issue that prevents users from completing the out-of-box experience (OOBE) with a local account while using Korean characters.

The Microsoft Support page for KB3176931 does not exist yet, but in this case that’s OK since this update is only available in pre-release form to Windows Insiders.

Also, because we’re talking Windows 10 Mobile here, there’s an added wrinkle: While Windows 10 for PCs/tablets has been served by four cumulative updates since Microsoft finalized Windows 10 version 1607, Windows 10 for phones has only received two cumulative updates (and of course has not been “finalized” yet.) Before last night, the current build number was 10.14393.5. This new update brings that up to build 10.14393.67, but since these updates are cumulative, that means this update will also add the following change, which appeared in a previous update that Microsoft never shipped to Insiders:

  • Bluetooth crash. This update addresses an issue that may cause Windows 10 Mobile devices to hang after turning Bluetooth on and off very quickly.

So. What’s the schedule for Windows 10 for phones?

Well, we know that the product is on build 10.14393.x just like other Windows 10 versions, and we can reasonably assume that Microsoft will again messily “finish” Windows 10 for phones version 1607 sometime this month. That just-kidding August 9 date came and went without a release, of course, but I still think sometime in August is doable.

A related post to the Feedback Hub in Windows 10 sheds some light as well, since it discusses how development of Windows 10 “Redstone 2” (the successor to version 1607) will proceed.

“We will start off by releasing PC builds from our Development Branch first and then start releasing Mobile builds a few weeks after,” the post notes.

So Microsoft will begin posting Windows 10 for phone “Redstone 2” builds “in a few weeks.” Perhaps Windows 10 for phone version 1607 will be finalized before then, and will begin shipping to non-Insiders (and via carriers, God willing).

Those first Redstone 2 builds, by the way, will focus on structural improvements to the shared OS core used across PC, tablet, phone, IoT, Hololens and Xbox. But that, of course, is the subject for another post.

Hang tight, Windows phone fans. It looks like we’ll be trued up soon enough.


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