Windows 10 build 14251 fixes gaming bugs, but the roadmap for older phones is unclear
Call this a calm before the storm, as Microsoft tries to sync desktop and mobile Windows before further upgrades.
Windows Insiders who skipped the build 11102 of Windows 10 because of game-related bugs finally have some good news: Build 14251, released today, fixes those.
What Microsoft hasn't fixed on, though, is a timetable for deploying Windows 10 to older phones. For now, the company says it's focusing on its recent flagship devices.
The substantial jump in build numbers from 11102 to 14251 also doesn’t signify a dramatic leap ahead in terms of features or the quality of the code. It simply means that Microsoft has now synchronized its preview build versions with the mobile team, Microsoft vice president of the engineering systems team, Gabe Aul, said in a blog post. And it does shift the collection of features that Microsoft added to the Xbox One Preview program—better visibility into Parties, an improved Gamerscore Leaderboard, and the like—to the Xbox Beta app within Windows 10.
(Note that all of this applies only to Windows Insiders, who participate in its beta program. If you’re a vanilla Windows 10 user who’s not part of the Insider program, none of this applies to you.)
Why this matters: Microsoft’s in a bit of a holding pattern at present. Instead of rolling out new features, it’s busy working on the shared OneCore platform underlying the PC, mobile, Xbox, and HoloLens platforms. But the company is also preparing to begin its next “Redstone” cycle of Windows 10 features, which means teams will begin checking in lots of new code. That means more code, but also more bugs. Expect a faster pace of preview releases.
No news on Windows 10 Mobile
According to AdDuplex, which released its January 2016 report on the state of the Windows 10 mobile market on Tuesday night, about 77.1 percent of the world’s Windows phones still run Windows Phone 8.1; 9.5 percent run Windows 10 Mobile. And that isn’t expected to change anytime soon.
Microsoft is overdue to begin shifting the installed base of Windows 8.1 phones over to Windows 10. Aul said that Insider builds would continue to focus on its flagship devices like the Lumia 950, Lumia 950XL, and Lumia 550—while it works to make the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade process as easy as possible for existing users.
“The team is working now by looking at data and reports from Insiders who have upgraded their devices to preview builds, and ensuring that we deliver a great upgrade experience to customers,” Aul wrote. “We’re excited about making the upgrade available, and will share new information with you just as soon as we can on how the rollout will happen.”