Today is the 11 month mark since Microsoft's initial release of their latest operating system - Windows 10.
That means we are just a little more than one month away from the expected release of the second major update for Windows 10 which, according to an inadvertent headline that showed up on the Microsoft News Center website this week, is apparently scheduled for 02 August 2016.
Whether the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is released on 29 July or 02 August, the Windows team is deep into their final days of preparing this release for general availability.
Yesterday there were four builds released to different rings for Windows Insiders.
Windows 10 Build 14372, which arrived on the fast ring for testers just six days ago, has been pushed out to testers in the Insider slow ring for PCs and Mobile devices. It should arrive on ISO for download in the next couple of weeks as all slow ring builds eventually do. In my own experience this build was very solid and is a great slow ring candidate.
For Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring, Windows 10 Build 14376 was released for PCs and Mobile devices yesterday. They are the 12th and 13th builds released in the month of June alone for Anniversary Update testing. Just last week I wrote about how The Hustle is Real Leading up to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and it continues this week as we close in on the end of this development cycle with these new builds.
There were no new features included in Build 14376 for either PCs or Mobile devices but there were plenty of fixes.
According to Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program, almost 1,800 fixes were checked in for this build that should help with stability, performance and of course getting rid of bugs in general.
This is the first build in my recollection that had no known issues for PC testers and the list of issues on the mobile side is fairly short at just five entries.
However, it was the section labeled Other items of note that caused the most consternation among Windows Insiders and it had to do with the removal of the popular Messaging Everywhere feature that allowed you to send texts from your Windows 10 PC through your Windows 10 Mobile device.
Here is how Sarkar broke the news to Insiders:
"We have been testing with Windows Insiders a preview of the “Messaging everywhere” feature that allows you to receive and send text messages from your Windows 10 phone directly to and from your Windows 10 PC. The experience was well-received by Insiders however we believe we can deliver an even better experience through the Skype app. Because of this, we decided not to release this feature as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer. Starting with Build 14376 and going forward, Insiders will no longer have the ability to reply to text messages from their phone via the Messaging app on their PCs. The ability to reply to text messages on your PC using Cortana is unaffected. Going forward, we will be working with the Skype Team on delivering a great “messaging everywhere” experience on your Windows 10 devices through the Skype app. We will share more details about this experience in the months ahead."
The reaction to Microsoft stripping this feature out of the Anniversary Update with just a few weeks to go until release has sent the Insider community into quite a frenzy. For many users they have grown very familiar and comfortable with it and find it very useful. For me it did not work consistently and would fail to send text messages without any indication what the error was however, I did find typing a text message on my full size keyboard very productive.
Of course, when a feature is stripped out of the operating system it causes quite an uproar even if it is only used by a minority of users but this messaging feature was pretty popular among Windows Insiders it seems based on social media reaction to the news.
I know the entire consolidation of messaging on the Windows platform has been back and forth over the last year or so but I think there is much more to this decision that we are privy to as outsiders. So for now I am going to trust Microsoft's decision here and watch to see what happens with the new Skype messaging integration.
My one piece of advice for the Windows and Skype teams though - make this integration happen quickly because users are looking for this solution.