Microsoft has announced Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 10136, which comes with some major improvements on the previous build.
It’s available now for anyone who is; signed up to the Windows Insider Programme, owns a compatible smartphone, is part of the Fast Ring and has Windows 8.1 installed. You can find instructions on how to be part of the Insider Programme here. But be warned, this is a preview and therefore an unfinished version of Windows 10 Mobile, so expect bugs.
So what’s new? Aside from general UI improvements, three major upgrades make up the bulk of build 10136…
The photos app now organises your images in a much tidier fashion, listing them under the month and year they were taken. So if you want to quickly jump to pictures taken last January, you can. A small, but incredibly useful solution.
Microsoft is also recommending that users download the Lumia Camera Beta app (provided you own the 640, 640XL, 930, Icon, or 1520). This is the same as the Windows 10 camera app, but with some additional features including the ability to take stills from video you’ve recorded, and adjust the flash after a picture has been taken (so you can decide how bright the you want the image to be).
Cortana gets an IQ upgrade and can now present you with information on flights you’re about to take, and track packages you’re about to receive. It gleans this information from your emails, so long as they have come from a “supported provider”, but it’s not clear who those providers are yet. This means Cortana will prompt you with automatic updates on your package or flight information as and when the situation changes. Travel alerts have also been enabled alongside some UI improvements that bring Cortana in-line with the rest of OS.
No more thumb stretching
You can now shrink the screen size to something more manageable for one-handed use by pressing and holding the Start button. You can then quickly return to normal size by tapping on the black space at the top of the screen.
Remember when I said these previews come with some bugs? Microsoft lists a few that you might come across after installation. Notably, Skype might not work, which means you’ll have to uninstall it before you upgrade and reinstall after. Also, if you have too many unsuccessful PIN unlock attempts, and you’re presented with the PIN reset prompt (it will ask you to enter “A1B2C3”), the PIN pad might disappear. To get around this you’ll need to press emergency call after entering the code, then press back and you’ll be able to enter your PIN.