Another intense week has ended with a series of updates in the tech sphere. Microsoft has been really busy with its Windows 10 Tech Preview for phones with specific projects like tweaking the OS to support Lumia series, Spartan browser, Android apps on Windows, etc. If you have missed them, here’s the comprehensive coverage of the overflowing news about Windows 10 this week.
Windows 10 build 10041 available through the Slow ring
After a short span of time, Microsoft pushed Windows 10 build 10041 to the Slow ring, as well as released three updates (KB3050279, KB3050284, and KB3046049). At the same time, Microsoft also served both 32-bit and 64-bit ISOs of the OS for the Windows Insiders’ convenience. Hence, many can deploy the OS on offline systems by making bootable DVDs or USB sticks. In addition to the Chinese, European Insiders can also talk to Cortana in their languages (French, British, German, Italian and Spanish) by installing build 10041 with those ISOs instead of upgrading to the newer build and installing some language pack first.
As for updates, KB3050279 and KB3050284 address some crashing problems and improve the stability of the platform while KB3046049 resolves the FREAK vulnerability. Hence, all patches are recommended and need to install on the top of build 10041 because neither the Fast and Slow rings nor ISOs contain these fixes.
OneDrive in Windows 10
Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul also shared, on Twitter, the future of OneDrive with Windows 10. OneDrive will no longer be an app in the platform and will be showed up “as a drive in File Explorer.” It clearly indicates the cloud storage service will be an integral part of the OS when it launches this summer.
Windows 10 developer tooling preview
With the advent of Windows 10 to the Slow ring, Microsoft had welcome developers and released a pre-release version of SDKs for Windows 10 Tech Preview. The SDKs are aimed to develop Universal apps for the new platform, which can leverage key features of the OS such as Cortana, OneDrive and more.
These tools include Visual Studio 2016 CTP 6 and are only available through Windows Insider program, so developers will also need to enroll in the program first. To help and encourage developers, the Redmond developers have shared some code samples (Universal apps) and also published 13 hands-on videos on Channel 9, which illustrate some changes in Windows 10 programming.
The new Universal apps will run across all form factors, from desktops to phones, from Xbox One to IoTs. In fact, Microsoft had started forking the platform to unify the core of the operating system last year. So, there would be a singleton Store for all apps, and you can try out the new Store (Beta) app in build 10041.
New tech preview of Windows 10 for phones on almost all Lumia phones
The first technical preview of Windows 10 for phones was released on February 12th, but for limited number of Lumia phones as Nokia didn’t configure sufficient system partition sizes to in-place upgrade the phones. To solve the problem, the Windows maker is developing a tool called ‘partition stitching,’ which allows to change the OS partition dynamically during the installation process.
Finally, Microsoft has solved the problem, and the next technical preview of Windows 10 will be available on more Lumia phones. The list of support Lumia smartphones includes almost all Windows Phone 8/8.1 devices.
However, we don’t have any specific date for the release, but Gabriel has added that the partition stitching feature is now the part of main code branch, and we likely to see new build for phones in the ‘coming weeks.’
Project Spartan is the future
On Wednesday, Microsoft has shared some facts about Project Spartan development. The company touted that they were focusing on Project Spartan solely to put aside Internet Explorer in Windows 10. In a detailed blog post, the Redmond developers cleared that Project Spartan, as the default web browser, will only be using new rendering engine called ‘Edge,’ and Internet Explorer 11 with Trident will remain same as in Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1.
On Windows 10, developers increasingly prefer to use ‘Edge’, and its compatibility issues seem minimal to date. And, the strategic change is the result of usage of new rendering engine.
Additionally, Microsoft has also announced that Adobe Inc. has been contributing to the development of Project Spartan to optimize new ‘Edge’ engine. The announcement signals that Microsoft is collaborating with third-parties to make the new browser much more flexible and open. Certainly, it is good news as Internet Explorer has been infamous for its stiffness and the lack of openness to open-standards. Lately, Adobe Systems has been working to optimize some specific areas of the browser such as layout, graphics design and more.
Although, Project Spartan hasn’t been released for testing yet, but its rendering engine can be tested on Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10 Tech Preview builds. The first tech preview of Project Spartan is expected to arrive next month. For a quick note, Project Spartan will not the final name of the browser of Windows 10, in fact, the company is looking for new brand name to distance itself from the bad stains of Internet Explorer.
Android apps on Windows 10
There have been rumors about the ‘Plan B’ of Microsoft, which will facilitate users to install and run Android apps – much like BlackBerry’s side loading of Android apps – on Windows 10 devices. Some close sources of Neowin confirmed that the Redmond Company has been doing such kind of experiment.
Reportedly, the Plan B has been put on hold in the wake of Universal apps, now simply identified as Windows apps that will work on any Windows device. If the Plan A fails, Microsoft could execute the Plan B.
Besides, there are two more reasons that might trigger the Plan B. The first, Microsoft receives royalties for their patents on Android devices. So, it’s completely illegal, and Google will have an opportunity to take revenge by filing a lawsuit against Microsoft. Second, it’s all about developers. If the company brings Android apps on Windows devices, native Windows apps will be failed and the platform may set back.