If there were any doubts in your mind about Microsoft’s commitment to the mobile space, today’s Windows 10 event should have but those to rest. Not only did we get some insights into what Windows 10 will look like and now it will function on a smartphone, we also got a commitment to a new flagship Windows phone in 2015.
There are a couple of important aspects to consider when it comes to Microsoft’s view of Windows 10 on the smartphone. I pointed out in my post earlier today about Windows 10 becoming a service, Microsoft is telling the developer community that no matter the device, their universal apps will work. This is a big deal for the developer community as they code once and they are done across all Windows devices. This will set the platform apart from everything in the market and paves the ways for Internet of Things devices to seamlessly work in the Windows experience.
Secondly, they want this seamless flow between any device to actually be a reality. Windows 10 on a smartphone will have a key of several important features that will make this happen. Take the new Action Center as an example. In Windows 10 you can dismiss individual items but your Action Center will sync across all of your Windows devices. No more repeated updates. This is driving to this “One Windows” concept.
Other things we learned about Windows 10 for phone today was that the Action Center will allow you to reply to messages from it and dismiss individual items. The virtual keyboard can be moved around and isn’t just attached to the bottom of the display on a Windows Phone. Messaging services such as Skype will be integrated into the Messaging Hub and dictation for messages will be coming to the platform. As I expected and stated in my What to Expect post a couple of days ago, Windows 10 on the smartphone looks very similar to the Windows Phone 8.1 experience. Frankly I see this as a good thing as it will be one less thing you will have to adapt to and learn. You know Windows Phone 8.1 so you’ll know Windows 10.
Speaking of Windows Phone 8.1, the big news is that the upgrade to Windows 10 will be free and will not require you to upgrade your hardware. In fact today’s demo of Windows 10 on a smartphone was on a Lumia 1520, the current flagship Windows Phone. Microsoft has made it clear that if your device can run Windows Phone 8.1 it will run Windows 10. This is a big step forward from the upgrade from Windows Phone 7 to 8 which required new hardware.
And speaking of hardware… a new flagship Windows Phone will be coming in 2015. About time….
Windows 10 should be available on smartphones in February for those in the Windows Insider program.