A lot of big, positive changes were made between Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8. Even more positive changes were made between Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1. Still, despite all of the positive changes made to the platform, Windows Phone still lags quite a bit behind the likes of Android and iOS in terms of popularity and adoption.
Fortunately that doesn’t mean Microsoft has to give up. Instead, Microsoft will revamp Windows Phone once again, this time in a unified fashion with the rest of its software to form Windows 10, which will allegedly launch this summer in 190 countries.
We’re not totally left in the dark when it comes to what Windows 10 will be like. Microsoft recently released Windows 10 Technical Preview for certain Windows Phone devices, one of which I just recently purchased for myself. One of the first things I did was log in to the Windows Insider app and install Windows 10 Technical Preview on my device.
After my phone rebooted and was running the Technical Preview, the first thing I noticed was that I actually didn’t really notice anything. Nothing was all kapow! In your face about the fact that this was a different operating system, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m actually rather fond of the absolute minimalism that Windows Phone exhibits – it’s what allowed me to purchase this nice phone at such a cheap price in the first place.
A little further investigation showed me where a couple of changes were made, and that was to the Action Center and the lists of applications and settings.
Action Center now allows you to expand on the amount of quick settings you can access by sliding the menu down from the notification bar. Before this you could only have four settings in your Action Center. Now there are 12, including a button to access all of your phone’s settings. You can still change the four settings you initially see when pulling down the menu as well, just in case the default don’t quite tickle your fancy.
The Settings menu has also undergone a massive clean-up, which is awesome. Previously one would have to scroll for what seemed like forever to see the entire list of settings, but now the list is much more informative and clean. I really like this change.
I’m also happy that Microsoft seemed to have made menu options smaller, because before everything seemed entirely too big. Now everything seems to flow a bit better.
The revamped photos applications is also a welcome change, albeit a bit buggy right now. I like where they went with it, though. The one thing I don’t like is how some of the menu options are in the upper right hand corner of the device, which is an awkward spot for them to be placed. They’re easy to reach on the Lumia 635, though.
Finally, I’m glad that the ability to take quick actions on notifications will be implemented as well. This is something that was missing in iOS for far too long, and the same can be said for Windows Phone. I absolutely love being able to reply to a text message right away without having to leave whatever application I’m already using.
There are more changes to come with Windows 10, but these are some of the most notable changes currently. There’s no reason to be too critical of everything as it is very clearly a “preview”, meaning that there are bound to be things that need to be fixed. It’s nice that we are able to get a sneak peek at what to expect, though. These subtle changes are very nice so far, and I look forward to seeing more in future previews.
The question still remains whether Windows 10 will be able to make Windows Phone as popular as anybody could hope for it to be. Given what we’ve seen thus far, I can’t say that I think these changes will be the ones to win people over – but they certainly don’t hurt. I still have faith that Windows Phone (or Windows 10 now) has the ability to become something great, but it’s going to take some more work yet in order to get it there.