Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Mobile preview today. The third build for phones includes major new features, including the Windows Store Beta and support for universal Office apps, as well as four new apps: Xbox, Music, Video, and Camera.
In addition to the 35 devices supported by the second preview (build 10051), this one adds support for a few more: the Lumia 930/Lumia Icon, Lumia 640 and 640XL, and the HTC One (M8) for Windows. The last one is particularly noteworthy as it’s the first non-Lumia phone that a Windows 10 preview build supports.
To get this new release, join the Windows Insider Program if you haven’t yet (registration). Get your phone set up and read the instructions carefully — you could brick your phone. If your handset is already on the Windows 10 Technical Preview, head to the Settings app, tap Update & recovery, then Phone update, and hit “check for updates.”
The Windows Store Beta for phones has a new visual design similar to its PC counterpart (no surprise that it’s built using Universal Windows Platform code). Because it is in beta, app selection and markets are limited. Still, you can browse, search, and download apps, movies, and TV shows. You can even pay with a credit card, gift cards, and PayPal.
As for the universal Office apps, the long wait is finally over. On February 4, Microsoft released its universal Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for Windows 10 in preview, but only for touch-enabled desktops, laptops, and tablets.
Microsoft said at the time that the same apps would arrive on phones (and very small tablets) running Windows 10 “in the coming weeks.” On April 17, Microsoft still had not delivered, and so it updated its plans to say a preview would arrive “by the end of the month.” That also didn’t happen.
Instead, the company merely offered some more context for its universal Office apps:
They’re touch-first, built for tablets and phones, and optimized for viewing, quick edits, notes and mark-up. On a tablet, the Universal apps are fast, fluid, and streamlined for an immersive, hands-on experience. They’re fantastic for reading and perfect for touch- and pen-based content creation. On a phone, the Universal apps adapt to the smaller form factor. Commands and controls are moved to the bottom of the screen so you can triage your work and make edits one-handed with your thumb.
Now Windows 10 users can finally try that context themselves on their own phones.
Build 10080 also includes the following new apps:
- Xbox: This app includes your activity feed, achievements, friends list, activity alerts, and messages, and lets you watch Game DVR clips and even connect to your Xbox One.
- Music: This app lets you access your music collection and play all your music, including songs you have added to OneDrive.
- Video: This app lets you browse and play video files (including MKV files) on your phone, including those you’ve purchased or rented from Xbox Video. You can even start a video on your PC or Xbox and pick up playback right where you left off on your phone.
- Camera: You can make this app the default camera app by going to Settings => System => Photos & Camera.
Windows 10 for phones, or Windows 10 Mobile as we now know it’s called, is behind in terms of features and polish compared to its PC counterpart. Microsoft has more time to improve it, though, as the company plans to launch Windows 10 on PCs first, and then on phones sometime later.
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