Microsoft Drops A New Windows 10 Mobile Build, Finalizing Cortana And Smoothing The UI

Microsoft announced a new Windows 10 Mobile build today. Windows Insider fast ring users can download it now, provided that their phones are running Windows Phone 8.1. Due to a migration bug, users running the previous fast ring build (10080) will need to reset their phones to 8.1 using the Windows Phone Recovery Tool before moving to the fresh code.

The new build addresses a few Windows Insider concerns from the last public preview that was released just over a month ago. Build 10136 focuses heavily on subtle design improvements and refining core features like Cortana and the Photos app.

Finalizing Cortana

The most pronounced changes in this preview appear reserved for Cortana, which Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul said in a blog post was “very close” to its final design thanks to a number of interface adjustments made to improve its cohesiveness with the rest of the operating system.

Cortana has also now been enabled to track flights and packages whenever users receive emails with specific details regarding them, and will be able to pull up the information and alert users. A number of other features have also been enabled again for 10136, including getting answers for questions, weather, currency information and stock quotes directly inline.

Refining Phablet Usability

In the new build, Microsoft is also including a couple of tricks to keep all of Windows 10’s UI elements in the reach of users operating their phablet devices with one hand. The blog noted that users toting devices with screens five inches and larger can now “press and hold the Start button and your screen will slide down so you can reach items at the top of your screen.”

In action it should feel similar to how iOS 8 functions on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handle smaller hands and larger screens.

Improving Photos app
In addition to the Photos app boasting a number of “performance and reliability improvements,” the team at Windows noted that it was refining how users could quickly access their past photos. The blog post said that users could “tap on a month to get a list of months so you can quickly “jump” to photos you may have taken a while ago.”
Finessing UX

Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul said in a blog post that 10136 boasts a number of subtle UX changes that will really make the build feel “more complete” than 10080. Aul went on to note that the team was “doing a lot of refinement to the UX right now,” and that users “should see more of that work in the next build we flight.”

With the July 29 release of Windows 10 for PCs and tablets approaching, there has yet to be a firm date established for Windows 10 Mobile’s release. For now, Microsoft is still holding to the goal of releasing it broadly “later this year.”