Microsoft Puts Windows 10 Mobile Back on Track

With the Windows 10 launch out of the way, Microsoft releases a new preview build of the OS for smartphones.

Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft had its hands full leading up to the official July 29 launch of Windows 10. But now that the operating system has been available for a couple of weeks, the company is turning its attention back to the mobile version of the OS.

"Thanks for your patience waiting for this one, the team was very focused on our Windows 10 release for PCs and tablets, and we needed to do some prep work for Mobile to move to a new branch," wrote Microsoft General Manager Gabriel Aul in a blog post. In good news for users awaiting to see how the Windows 10 experience translates to smartphones, the company is racing toward the finish line.

"I expect the builds to be out more frequently again as we go forward from here," Aul stated. "Our major focus on Windows 10 Mobile right now is on improvements to core quality."

Build 10512 of Windows 10 Mobile eliminates some show-stopping bugs—for example, apps would stop working after a reboot if they were installed on SD cards. Notifications for incoming texts work consistently in the latest update, and owners of certain handsets will notice that their touch screens once again respond to taps and swipes after ending a call.

Microsoft also corrected an issue that caused shutterbugs to miss impromptu moments. Before the latest beta release, the Camera app would often refuse to launch if the phone was locked.

Overall stability and performance have been improved, and Data Sense notifications now more reliably alert users. Data Sense allows users to avoid cellular data overage charges by tracking their data usage, placing restrictions on background data and reducing the impact of browsing the Web by compressing images, blocking ads and fetching Web pages in parts rather than in their entirety.

The Windows 10 Mobile interface has been polished to prevent overlapping text in folder tiles. Users can also now further customize the OS by setting background and lock screen images directly in the Photos app.

Although the mobile OS continues to improve, it's still a work in progress.

Some major features are missing, noted Aul. "Mobile hotspot doesn't work in this build," he said. "When sharing the Internet from your phone using Mobile Hotspot, devices will fail to get a valid IP address from your phone and will show no internet access."

Testers will also have to wait to see how well Windows 10 Mobile handles multifactor authentication with certain Microsoft services. "Two-factor authentication for your MSA [managed service account] with a phone number doesn't work in this build," cautioned Aul. "If you reset your phone and go through the first run experience, you won’t be able to input more than 2 characters for validating phone or text authentication."

Filling up on apps can also lead to problems. "Some phones with a large number of tiles pinned to the Start screen may get stuck in a state where the device shows 'Loading…; the device will need to be reset or rolled back to Windows Phone 8.1 using Windows Phone Recovery Tool," Aul said.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...