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Microsoft giving up on phones? Naaahh ... Windows 10 Mobile lumbers toward release

'Core quality' the focus of latest preview build

Microsoft has released a new preview build of Windows 10 Mobile, the version of the new OS for phones, and it has the same build number as the current version for desktop PCs.

That doesn't mean it's equally close to release, though. While Microsoft has committed to a July 29 release date for the PC version, it has made no promises about the mobile version.

And with good reason; Windows 10 Mobile is still in much rougher shape than the desktop OS. Build 10166 of the PC version of Windows 10, released on Thursday, was mostly about "bug fixing and fit-and-finish," but the corresponding build of Windows 10 Mobile is focused on "improvements to core quality," according to Microsoft spokesman Gabe Aul.

Example? "We ... fixed the issue where you were unable to unlock your phone after entering your PIN and it keeps letting you type even though you entered your pin correctly that was caused by a TPM [Trusted Platform Module] issue," Aul said in a blog post.

He added that most of the known issues with the earlier Build 10149 have been fixed in this build, as has an issue where phones would appear to be frozen for up to 10 minutes after an OS update because a status screen was missing.

"The colors in apps should now appear correctly," Aul said. "And we also improved reliability of app downloads and updates from the Store (which is now no longer marked as 'Beta' and the old Store has been removed)."

You'll need to be on the Fast release ring of the Windows Insider program to get Build 10166, and Aul said testers who update should also check the Windows Store for updates, because many of the stock apps have also been improved.

While these should all be welcome updates for anyone who's already testing Windows 10 Mobile, however, the future of Windows on smartphones was cast into doubt earlier this week, when Redmond CEO Satya Nadella announced 7,800 job cuts and that the company would write down $7.6bn, with almost all of it coming from the phones division.

Nadella has already issued pink slips to some 18,000 staffers, most of them former Nokia employees, and in February he closed two former Nokia smartphone factories in China. But his highest-profile firing of late was in June, when he showed ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop the door. ®

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