Windows 10 rumors: A new hybrid phone/laptop device, plus Android app compatibility

HTC One M8 w/ Windows hands on cover open
It seems like ages since Microsoft announced the arrival of Windows 10 and all the changes the latest operating system will bring to PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Now the company’s January 21 press event, where it will discuss the future of mobile devices on Windows 10, is fast approaching.

We’ve piled together everything we know so far about Microsoft’s plans for mobile in this handy post. We’ll continue to report on updates here ahead of the January 21 event.

Updated on 01-20-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added a report that Microsoft will offer one app store with Windows 10, and may even allow access to Android apps.

Microsoft will unify app store and maybe add Android apps

Microsoft will reportedly merge its two app stores into one to make it easier to move between your phone to your tablet to your PC, and back again. The single app store is expected to launch with Windows 10, reports the Information. Additionally, Microsoft is said to be considering adding the ability to access Android apps for those with Windows-based smartphones and tablets.

Windows-store-apps-screenshot

Windows currently suffers from a lack of mobile apps, and is rarely on the top of developers’ to-do lists. Like BlackBerry before it, Microsoft may end up offering Android apps as an alternative for users. Of course, nothing’s set in stone yet, and it seems rather unlikely that Microsoft would announce such a move on the same day it finally shows off its brand-new Windows 10 OS.

Hybrid phone/laptop device to be teased at Microsoft’s event?

According to an article published by the Information, Microsoft will show more than just the future of Windows software during its January 21 event. It mentions the company plans to introduce a variety of new devices, and will show several off over the coming days, including an intriguing phone/laptop hybrid.

Windows 10 is designed to work on all types of Windows hardware, so a combo product like this sounds plausible. We’ve seen convertible devices combining tablets and keyboards before, but rarely a with a phone acting as a laptop screen, due to obvious screen size restrictions. The Asus Padfone X brings a phone, tablet, and keyboard dock together, so there’s a chance it’ll be something like this, should the report prove accurate.

Windows tablets and phones will get one, renamed OS

Previously, smartphones and tablets ran two different versions of the Windows OS, but those days will soon be over. Both Windows RT, the tablet OS, and Windows Phone, the smartphone OS, will merge into one with Windows 10. As such, users will have access to the full feature suite Windows 10 has to offer, regardless of what device they are using. If you can use an app on your phone, you can use that same app on your tablet. It’s an experience with which Android and iOS users are already familiar, but Windows lovers are sure to rejoice.

Windows-nokia-lumia-830

While it looked almost certain to be this way from the beginning, Microsoft’s new Lumia 532 smartphone was listed on its website as being “Windows 10 ready,” for a short time. The device currently runs Windows Phone 8.1, and this slip-up seemingly confirms the word Phone will be dropped from the new, official name.

Microsoft’s Phone Insider preview app is ready to go

Microsoft recently released the Phone Insider preview app on its app store, where users will be able to download pre-release OS updates to their phones, straight from Microsoft. At this point, only Microsoft employees with special access can test out Windows 10 on their Windows phones and tablets, but the company will soon open the software up  to those who are signed up for Microsoft’s special Windows 10 Technical Preview.

windows-insider-app_

Microsoft already issued a Preview for Developers app, so that those with a registered Windows Phone Dev Center account can access all the early builds and work on app updates ahead of time. The Phone Insider preview app is slightly more democratic, and precludes the final, official release.

In December, Microsoft said more than 1.5 million people were registered Windows Insiders, with access to Windows 10 software in advance. Microsoft is expected to open up the Phone Insider app to those users shortly after the January 21 event.

Universal apps will also make life easier for developers who want to make apps for Windows 10, which should in turn increase the number of apps in the store over all.

New Office apps are coming for mobile

Microsoft recently updated its Office app suite for iOS and Android devices, but it’s also promised to do the same for Windows-based mobile gadgets. The new, native apps will most likely offer full functionality for free, compatibility with Office 365 subscriptions for hard-core users, and the same crisp user interface we saw with the iOS and Android apps.

All Windows 8 Lumia phones will get the upgrade

office-iphone-app_In case you’re worried that Microsoft won’t be upgrading your Lumia smartphone to Windows 10, the company stated that every Lumia with Windows Phone 8 will get the new OS.

Seeing as most Windows-based phones are Lumias, it stands to reason that the majority of Windows Phone users will get the update. HTC, Samsung, and other less high-profile Windows smartphone makers will also most likely offer Windows 10 to customers. Of course, the rollout schedule is dependent on your carrier, as well, so some may get the update earlier than others.

When will Windows 10 for mobile arrive?

The beta version of Windows 10 for mobile devices is expected to arrive in late January, shortly after Microsoft’s January 21 event. The final build could arrive this spring, and Windows phone users should get it sometime in the second half of 2015. While some reports hint at a delayed launch date for the fourth quarter of 2015, other say it may come in Q3 instead.

We expect to hear more at the January 21 event, and we’ll keep you posted here in this article, as new information becomes available.

Previous updates:

Updated on 01-20-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added rumors of a phone/laptop hybrid device being shown at the event, plus more evidence the word “Phone” is being dropped.

Article first published on 01-13-2015

Computing

After a month of bugs, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally here

After more thoroughly investigating and resolving all bugs and related issues, Microsoft is announcing the Windows 10 October 2018 is again rolling out to consumers starting today, November 13. 
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Mobile

Instagram tool accidentally exposes user passwords. Were you affected?

Instagram's Download Your Data tool accidentally exposed the passwords of a small number of users. Here is the explanation on what happened, and how to find out which Instagram accounts were compromised.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Mobile

New iPad Pro’s durability in question after it fails YouTuber’s bend test

The new iPad Pro models failed a bend test that was carried out by popular YouTuber JerryRigEverything. The result raises questions about the durability of the tablets, especially since customers are also reporting bending issues.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to use it.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Mobile

How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you need some extra storage space and your device supports it, then a MicroSD card is an obvious place to start. Here, we look at what to consider and suggest some of the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Mobile

Common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.