Exploring Win10 Technical Preview for phones

Woody Leonhard

While there’s been a lot of discussion about Windows 10 Technical Preview, there’s another Windows on a parallel development track — Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones.

Its similarities with Windows 10 for PCs might make you reconsider which phone you get next — or maybe not.

What Windows 10 looks like on a phone

If you expect Windows 10 for phones to look like Windows 10 for PCs, you’re going to be surprised. Perhaps in a good way.

My Jan. 29 Top Story about the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview for PCs — build 9926 — shows how the desktop/laptop/large-tablet version of Windows 10 is shaping up. In that story, I noted the new start menu with live tiles, the resizable Universal apps, the Notification Center (slaying the abominable Charms menu), Cortana melded into the search function, the new “Spartan” browser, and various smaller changes (and additional questions).

Moving from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 on PCs will involve a major — and, in my opinion, welcome — change in the way you use Windows. It’ll be far less of a change for Windows Phone users.

If you’ve ever used or even seen a Windows 8.1 phone (I know there’re at least a dozen of you out there), the Windows 10 Technical Preview (Win10 Preview) start screen on phones won’t come as much of a shock, as you can see in Figure 1.

Win10 Phone Start screen

Figure 1. For Win8 for phone users, the Win10 Preview start screen will look familiar. But there are subtle improvements.

In the Win10 Preview for phones, Microsoft’s ever-changing, live tiles float on a background of your choosing. There are several new tile sizes, including the double-tall People tile shown above in Figure 1. Tiles can be grouped, and groups can be named. You can even shrink a group of tiles down to the size of one normal tile. Not all tiles are live, and not all tiles can be resized. But you get the idea.

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Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.