Windows 10 is set to launch next month for Windows PCs. Windows Phone users are facing a longer wait, according to Gabriel Aul, general manager of the Data and Fundamentals unit in Microsoft’s Operating Systems group.
“As July 29th, the availability date of Windows 10 for PCs and tablets approaches, I’ve received questions on the final release date for Windows 10 Mobile,” said Aul in a statement. “While we’re making good progress, we need more time to deliver the optimal experience for mobile devices and you can expect Windows 10 Mobile to release broadly later this year.”
Meanwhile, members of the Windows Insider early-access program can check out some of the progress the company has been making in bringing the highly anticipated OS to smartphones. On June 16, the company released Build 10136 of Windows 10 Mobile, bringing it closer to what users can expect when it is cleared for public consumption.
Cortana, in particular, is “very close” to how Microsoft intends users to experience the virtual assistant.
“We’ve made adjustments to cards in Cortana’s home page and in the hamburger menu,” Aul said. “We listened to feedback from Windows Insiders and added the dark theme colors to Cortana’s UI [user interface] to make our UI more cohesive with the rest of the OS.”
Flight and package tracking has been enabled. When an email containing flight or shipment information lands in a user’s inbox, Cortana will now issue alerts. Users can also now ask questions related to the weather, currencies and stocks, and receive answers inline, Aul added.
New commands have been added to improve one-handed use on 5-inch (and greater) devices. “Press and hold the Start button and your screen will slide down so you can reach items at the top of your screen,” Aul said. “To slide the screen back up, tap the black space at the top of the screen, or press and hold the Start button again.” Windows 10 Mobile returns to the default view after several seconds of inactivity.
The included Photo app gains a new Month view and a double-tap to zoom function, along with performance and stability improvements. A beta version of the Windows 10 Camera app on Lumia 640, 640XL, 930, Icon and 1520 devices offers additional features based on their unique imaging capabilities.
Users should notice an overall improvement to the mobile operating system’s fit and finish. For instance, “the PIN pad is now transparent and slides up over your Lock screen image, instead of displacing it,” said Aul. “You’ll see many changes to fonts, icons, layout, etc., and the UX [user experience] will feel more complete than” in the previous build (10080).
Windows 10 Mobile build 10136 also includes several bug fixes affecting Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) communications and touch input glitch that prevented users from unlocking their phones. The update also banishes an unsightly relic of the operating system’s desktop roots. Now, pressing the back button no longer causes a mouse cursor to appear.