After rumors surfaced late last week Microsoft has now confirmed that the expected third major update to Windows 10, commonly referred to as Redstone 2, will not become available until early next year.
According to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet’s All About Microsoft blog, the delay is tied to a new cycle of Windows 10 related hardware that is expected in 2017.
Prior to this delay it was widely expected that Redstone 2 would arrive in the fall of this year following the Redstone 1 release which is still expected this summer.
This delay means the second major update to Windows 10, the first after the November Update, will arrive in and around the one-year anniversary of Windows 10’s release on 29 July 2015.
This also does not mean OEMs will not be continuing to release new hardware for the remainder of 2016 and especially taking into account the lead up to a new school year. Those devices will have the benefit of the Redstone 1 update as well when they arrive on retail shelves.
Currently we have Windows 10 Version 1511 (OS Build 10586.122) available for PCs which is the production build of Windows 10. It is not an Insider build or pre-release software.
That is not the case on Windows 10 Mobile. When Microsoft released the new Lumia 550, 950 and 950 XL they arrived with a pre-release build of Windows 10 Mobile. Now granted, it was not an Insider build but more like what Microsoft would call a Slow or Preview Ring build these days.
As of today Windows 10 Mobile is on build number 10586.107 which was a Fast Ring build about a month ago and 10586.122 is currently in the Windows Insider Slow and Preview Ring for Windows 10 Mobile for what should be final testing.
So over the last 4 or 5 months new retail devices with Windows 10 Mobile have been and are still running a pre-release version of the mobile operating system and that has not gone terribly well for users with the widely reported stability and reliability issues.
Since we learned from MJF that Redstone 2 is likely connected to new collection of Windows 10 hardware Microsoft certainly wants the latest production build of Windows 10 available ahead of the hardware’s release.
By choosing to delay Redstone 2 until early 2017, Microsoft should be able to finish development of the third major update to Windows 10 in time for a final public release that ties into the new hardware.
On top of that, they will also want to have time to work on preventing a repeat of the first five months of power and sleep issues that dogged Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book after their release. Although, now that these issues are finally fixed owners are happy but may want to now think twice about being Insiders with those devices.
So looking ahead what devices might we be seeing from Microsoft in that early 2017 timeframe? I would speculate that maybe the long rumored and talked about Surface Phone could be in the mix along with Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2.
Keeping an eye in this year we would also see Surface 4 at some point this summer around the release of Redstone 1 so that it is available for the back to school push.
An even bigger looming question is when does Windows 10 Mobile retail devices and eligible Windows Phone 8.1 handsets get a production build of Windows 10 Mobile?