Today at Microsoft’s Windows 10 preview event , the company gave us our first look at what Windows 10 will look like when it’s running on small screens. The “standard” Windows 10 experience as demonstrated in the Technical Preview is only for screens 8 inches or above; phones and smaller tablets get their own interface. Though Microsoft simply referred to this as “Windows 10 for phones and small tablets,” this is our first look at the next version of Windows Phone.
The biggest overarching feature of the small-screened version of Windows 10 is better integration with the desktop version of Windows—Microsoft is really pushing the new OS as a “universal platform.” If you’ve got a Windows phone and a Windows laptop or desktop signed into the same Microsoft account, most of your information will be able to sync seamlessly across platforms. If you dismiss or interact with a notification in your Action Center on your phone, for example, the change will be reflected in the Action Center on your laptop so you won’t need to interact with it again. Lists of recent documents in the Office apps will roam between devices, and playlists created in a new music app will sync between devices as well. These are just the applications that Microsoft mentioned, but you can expect all of the first-party Windows apps will support some kind of syncing.
Microsoft is also making more of an effort to make apps on Windows phones, tablets, and touch-enabled PCs look and work the same. A number of “Universal Apps” will lead this charge, including a touch-enabled version of Microsoft Office that will be included with all phones and small tablets.
The bits of the mobile Word and Powerpoint apps that Microsoft showed off look pretty similar to the mobile apps the company has already developed for iOS and Android . This implies that they won’t support the full range of desktop Office editing features, but that they’ll preserve fidelity between platforms and give you most of the basic Office features. The touch versions of Office and the desktop version will continue to be separate software. Microsoft also showed off a universal version of the Outlook e-mail and calendar app that uses the same code, but these versions present a different interface based on the size of the screen you’re on.
Apple and Google have also been making moves to bring their various platforms and services closer together. Apple has Continuity , and Google announced some cross-platform synchronization for Android, Chrome, and Chrome OS at Google I/O. All three companies are trying to incentivize the use of their platforms across all kinds of devices.
While Microsoft’s desktop and mobile platforms will be even more tightly integrated than before, the small-screened version of Windows 10 will be instantly familiar to anyone using Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft has added a microphone button to its mobile software keyboard to facilitate voice dictation, and the messaging app can handle SMS as well as Skype and other IM services. The software keyboard can also be dragged around the screen, useful for larger phones and smaller tablets where having the keyboard at the bottom of the screen may not be desirable.
Windows 10 will be a free update to any phone running Windows Phone 8.1. This implies that it will run on any phone that’s running Windows Phone 8.1 today, but we’ll need to wait for system requirements to be absolutely sure. The first preview build of Windows 10 for phones and small-screened tablets will be available in February.
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Our first look at Windows 10 on phones, and Universal Apps for touchscreens have 627 words, post on arstechnica.com at January 21, 2015. This is cached page on Game Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.