UPDATE: Microsoft says that the first build of Windows 10 for phones will be released in February.
Microsoft has been showing off Windows 10 for a while now, but it hasn’t really offered up much information on how its latest operating system will work on phones. That changed today.
During its Windows 10 event today, Microsoft gave us an early look at Windows 10 for phones and revealed some new features for smartphone users. One of the first things you’ll notice about Windows 10 on smartphones is that you’ll have a full wallpaper that’ll live behind your live tiles. With Windows Phone 8.1, you can select a custom background for your app tiles, but the background of the phone remains black.
Microsoft has also tweaked the Action Center notification panel in Windows 10. The quick settings in the Action Center can now be expanded to show additional buttons, and your Action Center alerts will sync with your PC.
Speaking of actions, Windows 10 on phones includes actionable notifications. This means that you can quickly reply to incoming messages from the alert itself rather than having to open your messaging app and replying from in there.
Microsoft is also adding voice-to-text to its keyboard in Windows 10 for phones. The feature will allow you to speak what you’d like to say and have it translated into text. The feature can recognize names in your contacts and things like hashtags and interpret them correctly.
Continuing on with the input functionality, Microsoft has added a new feature to its Windows 10 software keyboard. You can now adjust the size of the keyboard and move it around the screen, making text input on big devices like the Lumia 1520 easier.
Other tweaks coming to Windows 10 for phones include a refreshed Settings menu, a new “Recently Installed” section in your apps list, and integration for IP messaging apps into the Messaging app. That means that you can jump between things like texting and Skype and keep one conversation going.
Windows 10 looks like a solid improvement over Windows Phone 8.1 so far. Full wallpapers will let you make your phone a bit more personal, compared to backgrounds for Live Tiles that can obscure part of your image. There are a number of usability improvements that sound good, too, like voice-to-text for the keyboard and a new Settings app.
Are there any features that you’d like to see in Windows 10 for phones that Microsoft hasn’t yet announced?