When it comes to Windows 10, I’ve had moments of doubt, but I’ve also seen moments of greatness. And with the July 29 launch date creeping ever nearer, I’m evaluating new builds of the OS with an eye towards that finish line. Will Windows 10 really be ready? The answer, quite clearly, is yes.
I base this assertion, oddly enough, on the most recently leaked build of Windows 10, though I suspect we’ll see a public Fast ring release of this or a similar build in the next few days. Build 10147 may not include any major new features per se, but it’s chock full of change, and emerges as a very complete vision for this OS on PCs, 2-in-1s, and full-sized tablets.
And since we’re having this conversation, allow me to turn your attention to the recent public release of Windows 10 Mobile for Phones build 10136 as well. This build represents a major surge in quality too, and while part of that leap is because the previous build was so terrible, it’s fair to say that this is the first version of Windows 10 Mobile that is actually usable and, as important, fairly represents what we’ll see in the final product.
This is exciting.
I deal with a fairly regular barrage of complaints about my negative attitude, but the tone of what I communicate is dictated by events not my mood. Point being, I just try to be fair. As I’ve said to more than a few people via email or Twitter, I’m not a cheerleader, and I’m not going to try to dredge good news out of bad just to soothe a perceived audience. Things are either good or they’re not.
Windows 10 is one of those things I’ve felt good about generally for quite some time. But, yes, I’ve been worried about Microsoft’s ability to pull this thing together in what I would argue is a historically short period of time. I’ve felt that Windows 10 would be a killer release on the desktop in particular, that the tablet interface is going to disappoint those who actually grew to understand and like Windows 8 on such devices, and that phone … well. Phone needs some help on a number of levels.
The way Microsoft does things doesn’t always help. The firm can’t communicate the simplest of topics in a clear manner. Since announcing Windows 10 last October, the firm has seesawed between releasing builds reasonably fast and doing so painfully slowly. It has let Windows 10 Mobile for phones fall by the wayside repeatedly, and has never allowed us to test this system on small tablets. It has over-promised on HoloLens and then really delivered on Surface Hub and Xbox One. It has only released a single Windows 10 IoT Core build, I think, and has never really explained why we should care more about it than we ever did about previous embedded Windows versions.
Whatever. For me, it’s all about the products. The quality of the products, the state of the products, the reliability and usability and day-to-dayness of the products. And if that doesn’t explain what you perceive to be my mood over the past few months or so, I’m not sure what else to say. Because the quality of these products—of Windows 10 on PCs, 2-in-1s and tablets, and on phones and phablets in particular, since this is what we can easily test—has not been good overall.
Until, of course, it was.
As noted, this is exciting.
I could go into the details of what each build changes. Of what the phone build, in particular, still gets wrong. But the simple message here is that things are going well, and that despite all evidence to the contrary from as recently as a week or two ago, Windows 10 is going to be pretty great in time for the July 29 launch on PCs, 2-in-1s and tablets.
So take heart, folks. If I can feel good about this, anyone can.