Last Friday, Microsoft released the second preview build for the new Windows 10 for phones. Although this got off to a rough start, the new phones supported in this new build weren’t provisioned correctly causing Microsoft to shut down the service to update the provisioning data for some 5100 phone POPs. Microsoft was able to get the update server back up and running in about 2 hours.
For those of you who were brave enough to install the new build, you might have noticed that Microsoft’s Project Spartan is now included in this build. Spartan is the new browser that will be available for all devices running Windows 10. Now that I have had a few days to really play around with it, here is a look at Microsoft’s mobile iteration of the browser.
While the browser is still in its early form, things are starting to converge. If you are running the desktop version, you will now see that features such as: Reading List, Reading Mode, favorites, sharing, and multiple tab support are now available in this build. As with the desktop version of Windows 10, if a website you are browsing supports Reading Mode, you will notice a small book icon appear in the URL bar. By tapping on that book icon, which appears to have a small area of tap recognition, will open Reading Mode. Spartan for phones has the same reading themes as does the desktop version.
As with the mobile version of Internet Explorer, tapping on the ellipses icon in the bottom right hand corner, brings up an options menu. Spartan’s options menu is a bit different than that of mobile IE. Once you open the menu, you can add items to your browser’s favorites, add articles to your Reading List, access Spartan’s settings, and send feedback to Microsoft. New in Spartan for phones are three icons in the options menu. The three new icons allow you to see you open tabs, open the hub (where you can find your favorites, reading list items, and browsing history), and share the page you are on.
While testing out Spartan for phones, there does seem to be bug in which the grey bar continues to be present after viewing the settings. Now of course this is an unfinished OS so these things are expected.
With that aside, Spartan feels quick and have yet to run into a major issues. As with the desktop version, the phone version feels like a great browser and we are looking forward to seeing it mature.
Check out the gallery for the Spartan browser on Windows Phone build 10051.