Windows 10 on phones, that’s what Microsoft is calling the next version of its mobile operating system. It is the latest attempt by Microsoft to improve Windows Phone’s dwindling market share. At the event in Redmond earlier this week, the company announced several new features for Windows 10 on phones that it hopes will attract more people to use Windows-powered mobile handsets. Here is a pick of the best ones.
It’s no secret that the Windows Phone platform has been plagued by an “app gap” problem, and Microsoft is trying to address it with the universal app support. It allows a developer to quickly turn desktop apps into their mobile counterpart with the least amount of effort. The company also announced that Windows 10 on phones will be able to run all the applications of Windows 10’s desktop variant.
An interesting feature of universal apps is that it quickly and automatically synchronizes changes made to an app on one device with the app installed on other devices. The company announced that all core Windows apps will be using OneDrive for the backend support. For instance, Music app now supports playback for your files stored in OneDrive.
At the event, Microsoft showcased a new web browser. Codenamed “Project Spartan,” it comes with several handy features sporting a new refreshing look. The Spartan has deep integration with Cortana, the digital voice assistant, which will fetch information such as the weather report, traffic, reminder about reservations, among other things right on the browser.
Microsoft says that Spartan is built for the modern age, and hence knows how important it is to facilitate quick sharing option. The browser comes with annotation tools as well that allows you to directly take notes and draw on the web page, and quickly share it with your friends.
Office for Windows 10 on phones
At the event, Microsoft announced that it is bringing full-fledged, touch-enabled Office suite to both mobiles and tablets. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will come with a new user interface that features a formatting ribbon that is currently found in their desktop version. While the applications will maintain a familiar look, they will have better layouts and “reflow mode” which will improve the viewing experience on small-screen devices. In addition, the Office suite for Windows 10 on phones will offer support for Micracast and wireless printing.
Microsoft also announced that Skype is now becoming a part of the mobile operating system. The Windows 10 on phones update will have Skype app built-in. The VoIP app now has integration with the stock SMS app, and all of them will appear in one app called Messaging. There will be a quick option to switch between them as well.
Improved Action Center
Both Windows 10 and Windows 10 on phones now come with an improved version of Action Center. The Action Center on two devices now works harmoniously, so in essence if you were to dismiss a notification on your phone, it will automatically disappear from the PC as well.
In addition to the aforementioned features, there are a plenty of things going on in the background. For instance, the Outlook app has received a major update. It now supports convenient swipe-based gestures to dismiss an email or flag it as important. It also comes with several new Word features.
Similarly, Calendar for Windows 10 on phones has received an update to embrace the Modern UI. Photos app too resembles its desktop counterpart, and can now automatically categorize images and lets users add useful notes to the photos.
Among other features, Windows 10 for phones supports Dictation for messages and features inline replies. To aid one hand usage, the keyboard can be moved around to any part of the screen, and the app now also boasts a virtual precision pointer designed to calibrate keys in response to a user’s typing habit.
Microsoft will be releasing the first preview of Windows 10 on phones in February.