Microsoft Windows 10 for phones and small tablets officially unveiled

Microsoft has officially offered more details regarding its new Windows 10, which will cover a broad range of devices and categories - including mobile.

At its highly-anticipated event on Jan. 21, Microsoft detailed the latest Windows 10 OS and the features it brings to the table, announcing exciting new functionality and the broadest range of compatible devices.

So far, Microsoft has maintained different operating systems for different devices, and Windows Phone handled the mobile side. With the latest Windows 10, however, the company wants to unify its platforms and have one OS work on all form factors, adapting to the device in use.

While recent reports have referred to the mobile version of the OS as "Windows Mobile" or "Windows 10 Mobile," Microsoft unveiled it simply as "Windows 10 for phones and small tablets."

One of the most exciting features of this Windows 10 version is superior integration with the desktop Windows, mirroring Microsoft's efforts toward a universal platform.

"Windows 10 for phones and small tablets features a fast, fluid and familiar experience that seamlessly interacts with your PC," Microsoft touts in a new post on the Windows blog.

This means that if you have a phone and a laptop both running Windows signed into the same Microsoft account, most of your information will seamlessly sync across the two devices and platforms. Dismissing a notification from the phone's Action Center, for instance, will dismiss it in the Action Center on your laptop as well. You will be able to create playlists in a new Music app and they will sync between devices, as will lists of recent documents in the Office apps. Microsoft only detailed a handful of such applications, but all Windows apps will support syncing, at least to some extent.

Microsoft has also promised to enable apps to work the same on Windows smartphones, tablets, as well as touch-enabled PCs, which should notably improve the app ecosystem - a sore point for Windows Phone. This change will initially boast a number of "Universal Apps," including a touch-enabled version of Office that will come with all phones and small-screen tablets.

The company also showed off some bits of the mobile versions of the Word and PowerPoint apps, and they look quite similar to the mobile apps currently available for Android and iOS. This, however, suggests that the mobile Word and PowerPoint apps will not support the full suite of editing features available on the desktop version of Microsoft Office, but they should still deliver the basic Office features.

It's also worth pointing out that the touch-enabled version of Office will continue to be available as separate software from the desktop version. The Outlook email and calendar app, meanwhile, will have a universal version that relies on the same code, although a different interface will be available based on the screen size of the device in use.

Windows 10 will come as a free update to Windows Phone 8.1 devices, which suggests that it will be compatible with any phone currently running Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft will release the first preview build of Windows 10 for phones and small tablets next month.

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