What should you be most excited about in Windows 10, and what makes the Lumia 950 such a compelling option? We talk to Microsoft's James Guion for the answers...
With the Lumia 950 landing at Vodafone UK, it’s time to get excited about Windows 10 for smartphones. We’ve written before about what you can expect from the next generation mobile operating system, but it’s always better to get your facts straight from the source, which is why we’ve been catching up with Microsoft’s James Guion.
What should you be most excited about in Windows 10, and what makes the Lumia 950 such a compelling option? Read on to find out…
The next evolution
“Millions of people in the UK have Windows 10 on their computers now,” says James, explaining the appeal behind Microsoft’s unified approach to its newest OS, “and the Lumia 950 lets them have that same experience on their phone.
“You get the same great experiences like Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser and the Windows store across your devices.”
“Windows 10 on Microsoft Lumia 950 works in exactly the same way, so apps, settings and menus all look the same on PC and phone, and you can keep things like photos and documents in sync between devices really easily. That means you get the same great experiences like Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser and the Windows store across your devices. And because the Microsoft Lumia 950 has been designed from the outset with Windows 10 in mind, we’ve been able to bake some amazing new features like Continuum for phones right into it.”
But before we go into some of those new features, let’s start with the basics: in day-to-day use, how does Windows 10 for phones differ from Windows Phone 8?
“You have a similar start screen and you still swipe left to see your list of apps,” James says. “You can still pin apps and personalise your start screen by holding down your finger on the screen. But there are subtle design changes. The settings menu has been redesigned, for instance, and that now features the same list as your Windows 10 PC, letting you find things faster on both. There are also more shortcut options visible in the action centre when you pull down from the top of the screen.
“But the main differences will be within the new Windows 10 applications from Microsoft and developers,” he reveals, “as they have been redesigned to work and look the same as they do on your Windows 10 PC.”
That means that you can download new Windows 10 apps on your PC and then download them to your phone, if you shrink the Windows 10 app on your PC desktop into a narrow column you’ll see how it will look on your phone. And that’s helped Microsoft bring some amazing new tech to its latest Lumias.
A PC in your pocket
Now that we’ve covered the minor changes, the really cool stuff begins:
“Connect your Microsoft Lumia 950 to a monitor, a keyboard and mouse with a Microsoft Display Dock, and Windows 10 will appear on your big screen with the familiar start menu and search icons in the bottom left hand corner. Just like on your Windows 10 PC.”
We’ve discussed this idea of convergence – where your phone can also be your computer – a few times in the past on Vodafone Social, but now Microsoft is making it a reality, thanks to the ground-breaking feature it calls Continuum.
“Office apps like Word, as well as Outlook, Maps, Movies, Photos, Music and other new Windows 10 apps scale up to create a 1080p full HD big screen-optimised environment,” says James, “all running at 60 frames per second. It’s a Windows 10 PC-like experience that’s powered by your phone.”
And the best bit? You don’t have to sacrifice your Lumia while using it as a PC:
“You can also keep using your phone as normal while it’s plugged in and charging, to answer phone calls, send text messages and open other apps without interrupting what’s on the big screen.”
It’s a futuristic concept, but it’s one that Microsoft is banking on in a big way. And thankfully, app developers who see the potential of Windows 10 are really getting on board with the idea, as well as seeing the potential of having two platform audiences for the price of one:
“Developers seem to be responding to the massive increase in market opportunity thanks to Windows 10,” James tells us, “as they can create one application that will work on any Windows 10 device, there’s a huge audience out there. To give you some idea of what that means, Windows Store for Windows 10 has seen six times more app downloads per device than Windows 8.”
“The future is for people to be able to travel light and to experience the best of Windows 10…”
It all sounds really intriguing to us, but James insists that Continuum and its unified app approach is far more than just a proof of concept – he believes that this kind of convergence is the future, and that we’ll soon have the option to leave our laptops at home or at work while our phones let us get things done on the go with everything syncing to the cloud using OneDrive:
“The future is for people to be able to travel light,” he says in closing, “and to experience the best of Windows 10 they enjoy on their PC on their Lumia, in whatever situation they find themselves in. And we can’t wait for people to start doing just that.”