Microsoft is currently working on a large update to Windows 10, codenamed “Redstone”. It folds in a large number of new features and changes that the company has been making to the OS since the last full build, which was version 10586 (or version 1511, as it’s listed in the “winver” run dialog). Microsoft has since published a roadmap website for the introduction of certain features to Windows 10, and although it’s intended for business users to get a sense of where the OS is going, it has some hints about the availability of new features to consumers as well. Most of these, if not all, will be included in the Redstone update.
At the top of Microsoft’s roadmap website, the company states that the site “provides a snapshot of what we’ve recently made generally available, released into public preview, are still developing and testing, or are no longer developing.” Next to that is a useful link to Windows 10’s update history, where they log all the changes and new features they’ve since added in to the OS.
Here’s a list of some of the more interesting things currently in development, or already in the public preview builds of Windows Technical Preview.
Improvements to the Edge browser:
- Multi-factor authentication for apps and websites – Use Windows Hello and/or Microsoft Passport to authenticate/log on to an application or website.
- Edge extensions – Extensions will allow you to add or modify browser functionality. Currently, it looks like Microsoft’s managed to make Edge compatible with Chrome apps, which gives users basically the entire Chrome web store to choose from.
- Pinned tabs – The next time you launch Microsoft Edge, your pinned site tabs will be open instantly as part of the browser window. The current workaround is to set Edge to launch with your windows from the last session, and you have to remember to not close them. Web app use would greatly benefit from this feature.
- Web notifications – Web sites can now push notifications to your desktop/notification area, even when Edge is not running. For web apps that won’t ever have their own universal apps on the Windows store, this is a neat feature.
Improvements to security:
- Use your phone to unlock your Windows PC – Using your phone to unlock your PC will be done in one of several ways – attaching the phone via USB and following a prompt on the display, pairing the phone using Bluetooth and following a display prompt, or “tapping” the phone to a NFC reader and following a display prompt.
- Use Companion Device to Unlock your Windows PC – This is done using devices like Microsoft’s Band 2 smartwatch, or other devices that use Bluetooth or NFC to communicate with your PC. As long as they’re close enough to connect using either of these methods, you won’t need to enter a password to log in.
General OS improvements:
- Mobile projection on a PC – This is a change to how Continuum works on a Windows 10 mobile device. Instead of having it work on a monitor solely connected to the phone, projection will allow you to use a monitor already hooked up to your PC as a display for the phone. It’s like AirDisplay for an iPad, only in reverse and for free.
- Projection to another PC – This casts the display of one of your Windows 10 PCs to another one. It’s almost like running Remote Desktop in a small window, and I wonder if there’ll be anything different that makes this a better way of connecting to another device that you own.
- Picture in picture mode – “Watch media content while focusing on other tasks” sounds a bit like taking Youtube open in a browser window and snapping it to an unused quadrant of your desktop. It sounds redundant, but I’ll withhold judgement until the feature launches for consumers.
Microsoft says that the Redstone update will become available to consumers on the stable Windows 10 channel in the “summer of 2016”, which for us in South Africa translates to sometime in between June and Septemper 2016. If you’re in the Fast Ring for Windows Insiders, you might see a build which includes all of these features sometime in May.