Lots of small changes on display as Microsoft unifies its platforms.
I am looking for to Windows 10 but I will never own a Windows phone...
Assuming Microsoft does not stick to its "after the Seahawks win the Superbowl" deadline, some time this month we should be getting a preview release of Windows 10 for phones. We had a brief glimpse at the new version of the company's phone operating system last month, but we haven't seen much of the new system so far.
Dozens of leaked screenshots posted on Chinese site IT Home give us a much clearer look at what's going to be in the preview release when it eventually materializes.
The first big thing is the branding: the operating system calls itself Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview. We have already seen that Microsoft has resurrected the Mobile label for its smartphone and small tablet version of Windows, but we're not altogether pleased to see it visible to users. If feelings toward the Windows and Windows Phone brands are mixed, those toward the Windows Mobile brand are almost universally negative.
Of course, the problem is that it's a descriptive enough name; this is the Windows version for mobile devices, a category that's broader than just phones. The logic is understandable. But the historic association is quite undesirable.
In our first look last month, we saw the new cursor keys on the soft keyboard, along with the microphone icon for voice input. The new pictures also show off two new keyboards designed for large-screen phones; a right-aligned one and a left-aligned one. These make the keyboard a little smaller and push it over to the right or left side of the screen, with the idea being to make the whole keyboard reachable with your thumb even on large-screen phones. That kind of reach is particularly important with the "shape typing" Swype-like feature introduced in Windows Phone 8.1
Other parts of the operating system bring it more in line with Windows 10. The notification pane with its quick access buttons can now have more than a single row of buttons, just like the desktop operating system. The settings app is now a miniature version of the new Windows 10 settings app. The Start screen can now have a background picture.
Similarly, the operating system's apps are aligned with their Windows 10 versions, with a new look to the Alarms app and a new sound recorder app.
We still don't know when exactly the preview will be available, and while we assume it will be available for most existing Windows Phone 8/8.1 devices, we're not sure if it will be available for all of them. One thing that has been confirmed is that 512MB devices will be supported. 512MB phones are currently abundant thanks to the popularity of the Lumia 520 and similar models, and omitting them would have left out a lot of Windows Phone users.