New build of Windows 10 mobile brings Cortana, camera improvements

The slightly tricky upgrade also adds performance improvements and UI tweaks

Windows 10 Mobile

Windows 10 Mobile

Windows Phone users who have been testing the upcoming version of Windows 10 for smartphones have a new build to play with.

Microsoft just released build 10136 of Windows 10 Mobile to beta testers in the Windows Insider Program. It brings a bunch of improvements to the new mobile OS, including design changes to Cortana, the virtual assistant that was first released with Windows Phone 8.1.

Alerts about flights, package tracking and trips to certain destinations have also been enabled. In addition, Cortana will now answer questions about things like currency, stock tickers and weather.

The update also includes a feature designed to make one-handed use easier. People who have phones with screens that are 5 inches or larger can press and hold the Start button to have the screen slide down so they can more easily reach controls that would normally sit at the top of the display. It's similar to the Reachability feature Apple added to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last year.

Smartphone photographers will get a boost from the update, too. The Photos app received performance and reliability improvements, along with a change that lets people zoom in on photos by double-tapping them. Microsoft is also launching a revised Lumia Camera Beta app, which offers additional features based on Lumia phones' capabilities.

Build 10136 also brings a bunch of much-needed stability improvements, which is a good sign for people who want to use the new operating system on phones they carry regularly. Users will now receive MMS messages normally, their Start screen backgrounds will scale correctly and Microsoft has fixed a bug that caused touch input to stop responding on the lock screen.

Upgrading to Build 10136 takes a bit of work for people who are already running the most recent version of Windows 10 on their phones. Because of a bug, people who have build 10080 installed on their phones will have to first use the Windows Phone Restore Tool to downgrade to Windows 8.1 and then re-install the Windows Insider Program app. Once that's done, they need to opt back in to Fast ring builds in order to get the new update.

In addition, people who install the build should be aware that there's a status screen missing at the end of the upgrade process, which means that the phone's lock screen "will appear frozen without the date and time for up to 10 minutes." According to a post by Gabe Aul, a general manager in Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, it's important that users let their phone sit and work through the process without fiddling with it.

Those users who don't want to go through the whole rigamarole of downgrading and then upgrading will be brought along with the next version of Windows 10 Mobile that Microsoft releases to testers. The next build that makes it through the company's internal testing rings will be capable of updating from 10080, but the company wanted to get this build out the door and in the hands of users before then.

Aul went on to say that Microsoft plans to have Windows 10 Mobile in the hands of consumers by the end of the year. He didn't give a concrete answer for when that would be, but said that it won't take place until after Windows 10 is released to PCs and tablets on July 29.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftMobile OSesmobileWindows Phone

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?