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Windows Insiders may get their first taste of Redstone 2 sometime this week with 14901

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With the Anniversary Update now rolling out to the mass Windows 10 population, Microsoft is naturally setting its sights on the second half of its massive “Redstone” update, aka Redstone 2. This major update is expected to ship sometime around the spring of 2017, packing features that weren’t ready for the current update rollout.

Participants in the Windows Insider program knew that they were using a Redstone 1 build thanks to the “RS1” designation in the version number. Right now, the current build seems to be rs1_release 14393, which merely received a few cumulative updates before the Anniversary Update’s wider rollout, indicating that Insiders had the final Redstone 1 build.

However, once Microsoft begins dishing out builds for Redstone 2, participants will likely see the “rs2” designation. That, of course, will lead to news that development of the second Redstone update is underway. Unnamed sources indicate that will begin with build 14901, which could see the light of day sometime this week or possibly the week thereafter. These sources claim that this build went into internal testing at Microsoft on Saturday.

News of Redstone 2’s arrival in the Windows Insider program arrives after Microsoft’s Nathan Mercer revealed that Microsoft plans to release another feature update in 2017 in addition to Redstone 2. We’re not sure if this second update falls within the Redstone umbrella, or if it will be the first half of a new, massive two-part update like the current Redstone rollout.

“Windows 10, version 1607 is our third Windows 10 feature update released,” he said. “Based on feedback from organizations moving to Windows 10, this will be our last feature update for 2016, with two additional feature updates expected in 2017.”

If that comment sounds a little confusing, Microsoft considers the first Windows 10 release, aka Threshold 1, as a feature upgrade. The second feature upgrade took place in November 2015 as Threshold 2. That said, the company intends to push two feature updates to Windows 10 customers each year, but for some reason Redstone 2 was pushed back into 2017, thus we’re only getting the one Anniversary Update in 2016.

So far, we’re not exactly sure what Microsoft plans for Redstone 2 outside the evolution of its core features such as Cortana, Microsoft Edge, the Action Center, the Start Menu, and so on. However, what we’ve seen in prior reports is that Microsoft plans to launch new devices in the first half of 2017 (spring?) alongside the Redstone 2 update that will showcase specific new features. That lineup may include the Surface 4 and Surface Pro 5, the Surface Book 2, and the long-awaited Surface Phone.

Looking ahead, Microsoft’s second 2017 update could launch alongside Microsoft’s new Xbox Scorpio console that’s expected to arrive in the 2017 holiday season. That’s just mere speculation on our part, with the introduction of the console and the update possibly closing the gap between Windows 10 PC’s and the Xbox series even further.

In the meantime, if you haven’t received the Anniversary Update yet, don’t fret: it’s still rolling out in waves to prevent stressing the network too much. And don’t get too worked up over the reported problems cropping up with the update, as our investigation found that people seem to be having various Windows 10 issues that are being lumped together into an Anniversary Update blame game. There doesn’t appear to be a root cause based on Microsoft’s new feature release.

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