February 12, 2015 11:14 am

Announcing the first build of Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones

By / Corporate Vice President, Engineering Systems Team

Hi everyone,

I’m excited to announce that our first build of Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones is available now for Windows Insiders! The team here has been working hard to get this out to you and we know that you’ve been waiting patiently since we announced that it was coming. This is a long post, but there is a lot of important information so if you want to jump in and install the preview on your phone I really encourage you to read it completely.

Since we’re building Windows 10 to be the same core platform for PCs, tablets and phones, it should be no surprise that participating in the program for phones will work pretty much the same way it has been working for PCs.

  • Join the Windows Insider Program
  • Register your device to receive builds as over the air updates
  • Builds will come to you automatically as they are ready, after being validated by engineers at Microsoft and used on their own phones
  • Use the built-in Windows Feedback app to send us problem reports and suggestions
  • Updates will continue all the way up to the final build that goes out to all customers
  • You can roll your phone back to the previous OS any time you’d like

Since it is a shared codebase, you should expect that builds for PCs, tablets and phones will be generally timed to come out at the same time, but they may not always be the same day or same build number, since sometimes a bug will affect one but not the other and we may take another build to fix it.

The earliest preview we’ve ever done

This is the earliest publicly available preview we’ve ever done for Windows on phones. This preview is still very much under development and you’re going to see some rough edges. We’re sharing it with you so you can be with us at every step, and provide your feedback to help make this the best release ever—because it’s the one made for you. You will encounter bugs. You will see experiences that are clearly just not done yet, and UX that lacks polish at this point. DON’T WORRY! It will improve as we go and new features, stability and performance improvements, and more polished UX will come at each step.

You will likely feel like this first preview build for phones seems “less complete” or “earlier” than the PC. That’s true—it is.  Although Windows 10 is built on shared code that runs on both PCs and phones, keep in mind that Windows 8.1 for PC was finished months earlier than Windows Phone 8.1, so the PC build has had more bake time.  But we’re not worried about getting a great final product out or the progress we’re making.  Much of our work until this point has been on platform development rather than the completeness of the UI, so a lot isn’t immediately visible – like the fact that we have a common OS core and app platform across PC and phones. But those ‘fundamentals’ represent a ton of work and are going to enable a lot of cool things to come, like apps that work seamlessly across devices, consistent manageability of devices, and the ability to run a whole new generation of Office Universal Apps on all of your Windows 10 devices.

Who should try it?

If you’re a Windows Phone customer and love to try the latest stuff before anyone else, or a Developer or IT Pro who works with Windows Phones, joining the Windows Insider program and trying out this build may be right for you. You’ll be getting an insider’s view and getting builds that normally would have only been available to Microsoft engineers in the past.

What’s included

There’s a lot to love about this build, including familiar features and small improvements, as well as some great new capabilities. Take a look at some of the highlights for this first preview build:

  • Full-size Background Image for Start: We believe phones should be intensely personal – so we’ve added another option to customize the start screen with a full-size background image.
  • More Quick Actions in Action Center: We’ve increased the number of quick actions available to you. Windows Phone 8.1 has four programmable quick actions – but with Windows 10 you also get an expanded view that can now have up to three rows.
  • Interactive Notifications: Notifications are now interactive, allowing you to take action directly like dismissing an alarm, or seeing images for maps. For example, for text messages, when the toast pops, you can quickly reply inline via text or voice.
  • Significantly enhanced speech-to-text capability: You can talk to virtually any data field you choose. Your words show up as you speak them – and punctuation appears automatically.  This feature is smart enough to understand when to use ‘two’ – the number — instead of ‘too’ as in ‘also’.
  • More powerful Photos app: From your very first launch, Photos will show the aggregated set of all your local photos and all your OneDrive photos

There are also some things Joe showed that will be coming in future builds.  For example, our Office team has built some great features into new universal apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which work across phones, tablets, and PCs running Windows 10.  Although they are not included in this build, you will see them coming soon.  In upcoming builds we’ll also include the new Mail and Calendar Universal Apps from the Outlook team in Office, as well as IP-based messaging from Skype and others, integrated directly into Messaging experience.

We know that some things will also look like a step back. This includes Cortana. Because of the work we’re doing to converge across PC and phones, Cortana in this build will be limited to US-only and English-only and some of the features you use in Windows Phone 8.1 aren’t yet enabled in this new codebase. Once again, DON’T WORRY! Cortana will be more powerful and capable in Windows 10 than ever before, with more capabilities and language support than ever before. Windows Insiders will see those changes come alive in future builds. You can see more about Cortana in Windows 10 here.

Known issues

This is still an early build and while there are many things that work great, there are also known bugs and things that just don’t work quite right yet. Remember that you’re seeing a work in progress, and a huge goal of the Windows Insider program is to work with a large community of people to provide feedback. Here are the big issues that we think you should know about for this build. In most cases a fix is coming in a future build, but a few have workarounds you can try in the meantime.

Issue Workaround
Existing alarms will not be migrated to Windows 10 Reset alarms after upgrade
Wi-Fi settings don’t roam when phone is upgraded to Windows 10 Manually set Wi-Fi settings when on Windows 10
VPN not available in current Windows 10 builds. Setting will fail to launch. Coming in a future update
Additional language keyboards may not be present and may not be able to install on US builds after upgrading to Windows 10 Reopen the Windows Insider app and re-select Insider Fast/Slow again. The download of keyboard packages will then work
Photos app will fail to launch periodically when attempting to add a photo attachment to an email, OneNote or Facebook item. Try again. Succeeds after a few attempts.
Quiet Hours is missing the automatic rule that enables Quiet hours during calendar appointments marked busy. Also the setting “Anyone breaks through if they call 2 times in 3 minutes” us unchecked but enabled.
Apps are not displayed in Battery saver after the upgrade.
Access Point Names (APNs) in recovery images can fall out of date. For some phones/networks, this will block the cellular data and MMS capabilities of a phone when recovering back to the base image. Before using the Windows Mobile Recovery Tool to recover, record the specific APN settings on your phone.  Set manually once phone restored
Cellular data not working while roaming, despite enabling data roaming The setting doesn’t work the first time it’s enabled. Turning off and then turning on again will enable data while roaming
Using a Bluetooth headset while playing back video results in low frame rate for video, due to a bug in the interaction between video playback and Bluetooth. Use wired headset for listening to audio when playing videos.
Sync to Microsoft Band doesn’t work after updating to Windows 10. If you have your phone synced to Microsoft band, it will not pair after the update to Windows 10. After upgrade to Windows 10, go to Bluetooth settings, un-pair the Microsoft Band device and re-pair it.
DataSense resets data use history on upgrade to Windows 10. No workaround. Will calculate correctly after the reset.
Trying to set lock screen picture will fail at times Re-attempt the operation.
After upgrade, tapping on “Playlist” from start screen or from within Music App fails to play music. Playlists are greyed out.
Cortana tile and settings are missing on the start screen after upgrade Go to app list and re-pin the tile

Eligibility

The most important thing for us is that we want to make sure that anyone who tries this early preview has a way to get back to their prior OS if something goes wrong. So we’re only supporting phones for the preview that have a recovery image available. We created a new tool called the Windows Phone Recovery Tool that will restore that image if necessary.

We haven’t bricked a single phone during all of our internal testing, but it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE, so you should be aware that there is some potential risk for you. In addition, bugs could prevent access to important features for you, including phone dialing and other core functionality.

We are starting with a limited set of devices supported for this first preview. Windows 10 will drive innovation across screens of all sizes and we will have new hardware from Microsoft and our partners, including new flagship phones. The majority of Lumia phones, from our most advanced to the most affordable, can be upgraded to Windows 10.  That said, for this technical preview, we need to start with a small subset of devices in order to isolate OS issues from hardware or board support package issues so we can stabilize the platform. This is a normal part of the engineering process, but you would not have seen it in the past because we haven’t done a public preview before—so those builds were Microsoft only. (In the first 4-6 months of development, our team would typically focus on only one specific device—then we’d broaden.)

Support for more phones will be phased in with each new build, and we’ll announce which devices are being added when the build comes out. Expect the list to grow slowly at first but expand comprehensively over time. For this first preview build these are the devices supported:

Lumia 630 Lumia 638
Lumia 635 Lumia 730
Lumia 636 Lumia 830

For these devices we support configurations from almost all mobile operators around the world, the most notable exception is China which isn’t yet supported for the first preview.

Some context on why we chose these and not higher end phones like the 930/Icon or 1520: We have a feature that will be coming soon called “partition stitching” which will allow us to adjust the OS partition dynamically to create room for the install process to be able to update the OS in-place. Until this comes in, we needed devices which were configured by mobile operators with sufficiently sized OS partitions to allow the in-place upgrade, and many of the bigger phones have very tight OS partitions.

Note that this doesn’t mean that Windows 10 will take more disk space than Windows Phone 8.1, it’s just a function of the upgrade process at this point. Once the partition stitching feature is completed, many more devices will be supported.

The Windows Insider Program is an international program and we’re excited to have support for the following languages for this preview:

Arabic (Saudi Arabia)

Catalan (Spain)

Czech (Czech Republic)

Dutch (Netherlands)

English (UK)

English (US)

Finnish (Finland)

French (Canada)

French (France)

German (Germany)

Hindi (India)

Italian (Italy)

Japanese (Japan)

Korean (Korea)

Polish (Poland)

Portuguese (Brazil)

Russian (Russia)

Simplified Chinese (China)

Spanish (Spain)

Spanish (Mexico/LatAm)

Swedish (Sweden)

Thai (Thailand)

Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)

Turkish (Turkey)

Vietnamese (Vietnam)

How to get started

Instructions on how to join the Windows Insider program and get your phone set up are available on the Windows Insider website at http://insider.windows.com. As with this post, I recommend that you read the instructions carefully so you can upgrade easily and comfortably.

Share your feedback!

Once you’re up and running, use the Feedback app to send us reports on any problems you hit as well as suggestions for things that you think we should add or change. If you’re using Windows 10 on your PC this app will look super familiar to you, since as a Universal App it’s the exact same code you’ve been using already.

You can launch the app from the tile, but the easiest way to access it is simply to press and release the power + volume down buttons to launch it from anywhere.

The Windows Insider Community forum at http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider is a great way to connect with others, get tips and advice, and help solving problems.

Thank you!

We continue to be humbled and excited about the passion that we’ve seen from our Windows Insiders since we launched the program. Your feedback is helping us make better products with your needs and desires in mind. We’re incredibly excited to expand the program to Windows 10 for phones, and deeply appreciate your involvement and support as we build Windows 10.

Stay tuned to the Windows Blog for announcements on forthcoming builds for phones and PCs, and follow me on Twitter @gabeaul for more news and tips.

Thanks,

g