back to article Windows Phone 10: Less stuff that does more – plus IE-killer Project Spartan

Microsoft recently released its Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, build 10051, as part of its Windows Insider series. This is by no means a stable build, especially on a low-end phone like our Lumia 635. The built-in apps crash from time to time and sometimes the entire OS freezes. Another common problem is chopped-off …

  1. MrWibble

    "A top left menu is in the worst possible place, unless you are left handed, since you have to stretch all the way across the screen to reach it."

    Does a swipe in from the left edge work to get the menu, as it does in Android?

  2. SecretSonOfHG

    Spartan is not an IE killer

    Windows 8.1 will be supported until 2023. So at best, IE 11 will have a 8 year long agony and then replaced with Spartan.

    It is better to simply say that IE will be the legacy browser for the next decade and all new features will land on Spartan. But Microsoft will keep patching IE for the next 8 years. And Spartan.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spartan is not an IE killer

      IE has always been a legacy browser, and Spartan is merely a re-branding.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Spartan is not an IE killer

      "Windows 8.1 will be supported until 2023."

      Don't bet on it. I would expect that Win8.1 will not be supported for those customers who are offered a free upgrade to Win10. Remember that Win8.0 originally had a 10-year life-cycle but is now going to expire in 2016 simply because 8.1 is offered free.

    3. Steve Knox Silver badge

      Re: Spartan is not an IE killer

      The duration of the death is not really relevant to whether something is a killer.

    4. Code For Broke

      Re: Spartan is not an IE killer

      I think it's time to have another look at the word 'pedantic' in the dictionary.

  3. Sandtitz Silver badge

    Reading mode

    "Reading Mode in Project Spartan is great at making web pages readable"

    I agree. Makes El Reg look nice and tidy once again.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Reading mode

      The IE on WinPhone 8.1 also has reading mode, and very useful it is too, especially as you can adjust the text size and colour etc.

      I would like them to try to adjust the UI libraries in the phone version to render as close as possible to the current UI - they may have a small market share but the users they do have tend to like it.

      Still, as is often the case, they can buy my loyalty to change with other things, slicker OS, better battery, more app compatibility, as well as more apps as expected.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: Reading mode

        Just tried the reading mode. I wasn't aware of it before but will be trying it again.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. moiety

    It better bloody well be compatible with the standards that everybody else on the net is using. My days of doing one site for IE and one site for everything else are over. They don't have the market share for those kind of shenanigans these days.

    1. Tcat

      Spartin Reflects the new MS

      While its early results I think they have been clear about following clear industry standards without the old games. You can see this across the board, including giving developers the best tools, regardless of platform.

      This is actually very shrewd on Redmond's part.

      They do build tools better than anyone else and 'get' dev heads better than others. By having the best tools regardless of platform, developers will have small barrier to porting to the Windows world as well.

      The new not Windows stuff looks very impressive.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Spartin Reflects the new MS

        I did a test of several browser I have installed on my Linux box. All are current. With a maximum possible score of 555 the only browsers that scored over 500 were:

        Chrome and Chromium at 523

        Opera at 517

        Vivaldi at 516

        Others tested included Midori, PaleMoon, SeaMonkey, Firefox. Qupzilla.

        MS needs to improve browser performance since there are browsers that are much more standards compliant.

  6. Bassey

    Smaller screens

    My wife has the Lumia 620, one of the very few remaining 3.5" screened phones. It is on the list of phones receiving the update but I'm going to look for a way to disable updates if possible. This just looks like bad news. The reason I recommended Windows Phone to her was the ease of use. This looks like a whole series of headaches (for me - of course) waiting to happen. If you take away Windows Phones ease of use and simple elegance then you might as well get an Android device and just install one of the stripped back launchers.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Smaller screens

      Agreed. I don't want more features. It does what I want very nicely already. And I like it because it is simple, efficient and clean to use. WP8 follows, in a way, the UNIX philosophy of "do one thing and do it well". At least as far as interface and apps go. Now it looks like it's throwing that out in favour of the usual headless chicken approach.

      Will reserve judgement, but not optimistic.

      1. yowl00

        Re: Smaller screens

        I do want more features, at least I want built in FLAC support which I understand it's getting.

  7. marekt77

    For those that are complaining about the Windows Phone UI losing it "Metro" styling, I think what has happend here is that the market has spoken for better or worse, and the market has chosen Android/iOS vs. Windows Phone. Microsoft is trying to make the phone look and feel more like Android and iOS because that is what people are used too. This has been my experience thus far:

    Seeing as feature phones are getting hard to come by, many of my older family members have been getting smartphones. I almost always recommend Windows Phone because out of all of the platforms it seems easiest to use. For example, I make icons on the main screen as big as possible, and only show core functionality: Phone, Contacts, SMS, Weather, maybe Email. That is it, and everyone that I have setup in this way love it! Icons are big and easy to select. Other functionality is hidden away, to be discovered once they get more profecient in using the handset. Some do which is great, the rest, they are fine too because they have the 4 things they need right there in four big and easy icons. Show them an iPhone or Android with a home screen filled with smaller icons and they get lost. Remember these are usually 50+ people I am talking about. So Windows Phone 8.1, Great for OLD people!

    For most everyone else, the story is similar: Why does the menu screen seem so wierd? Where are the rest of my apps? I don't like the layout of this app. Where is the menu? Why can't I have a grid of icons, etc... I've gotten some to adapt and they do like it, but mostly the dismiss the phone as not being like their old or current Androids/iOS. And lets be honest, while they do have their differences, both offer home screens with grid icons. Apps have the Hamburger Menu, etc... They may look a little different, but the core UI concepts are pretty similar.

    While Microsoft with Metro may have tried something different, new, and dare I say innovative, for whatever the reason at least on the Phone, the market did not respond in kind. So they can continue to go against the grain completely or they can adapt a bit to the market and make their platform a little more like the other guys. Which is a bit sad, because say what you want about MS, the UI for Windows Phone 7 - 8.1 was a radical departure from what others were doing, and in many ways was a lot more effecient and easier to use. One of the few times MS did something innovative and different.

    1. Irongut

      So easy to use...

      you had to set it up for them.

      My 82 year old father bought an Android phone last year and I haven't had to touch it.

      That said, Google and Android are annoying me these days. I use my Win8.1 tablet more than my Android tablet, I'm overdue a phone upgrade and I'm seriously considering a different OS because the S6 doesn't have a removable battery.

    2. David Roberts Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      50+ = OLD

      Hence the down vote

      Patronising little git.

  8. SVV Silver badge

    So, after trying to put a phone UI on the desktop.....

    They're now putting a desktop UI on a phone?

    And who on earth is going to do any serious work in Word or Excel on a phone? Dsktop OS for PCs, touchscreen OS for tablets and phones is the only way for me personally. And many other people too I expect.

    1. Bruce Ordway

      Re: So, after trying to put a phone UI on the desktop.....

      >>Desktop OS for PCs,

      >> touchscreen OS for tablets and phones is the only way for me personally.

      >>And many other people too I expect.

      I'm not sure how many others but I'm with you.

      All kinds of business reasons for MS to justify a universal system, leverage everything they can

      At what point will users get something new that they want?

      So far, the newer UIs are a been a downgrade and Windows 7 rules at every business I work with.

      When working, I need a full sized computer with multiple displays that packs a lot of info.

      Phone are important too but... only for performing a limited number of tasks in my case.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: So, after trying to put a phone UI on the desktop.....

        The key is actual usage not MS' fuzzy thinking. Most use smartphones and tablets for information consumption and texting. They do not use them for heavy duty work but use a laptop or desktop for such. For their ideas to be reasonable, the usage of all devices should be fairly similar and they are not.

  9. W. Anderson

    Fluff and Gee-Whiz distractions

    With all the articles on new aesthetic features of Windows 10, why does Microsoft not place considerably more emphasis on required significant improvements to Windows in "security", reliabiliy and adherence to Open, Internet and International standards as a priority rather than piece-meal reactionary approach.

    Today, April 18th 2015, Windows Operating Systems (OS) are the only mainstream OS that cannot work without substantial anti-virus/trojan/worm bloatware that provide only about 60 percent improvement in keepin out malware.

    The venerable NTFS file system still has no "viable" replacement - ReSFS remain experimental in capability - that is comparable to any worthwhile degree for robustness, functionality and scalability to ZFS, XFS or btrfs file systems on *NIX that are esential for any level of reliable computing in 21st century.

    Gee-Whiz!! visual fluff just wont cut it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fluff and Gee-Whiz distractions

      All valid complaints, W. Anderson, but Windows is a consumer OS - and Gee-whiz fluff generates more sales.

      If you require a solid system, then use a more appropriate OS.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    smaller text.... great!!!!

    Seriously, the massive Segoe font may look lovely in Windows Phone but it's completely unproductive.

    I don't need a big banner saying "People" or "Favourites", I know what page I'm on, I selected the frigging option..

    There is so much wasted screen real estate my contacts page shows 7 names at a time. 7, out of God knows how many hundred.. It's crazy.

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