We already have a good idea of what the Windows 10 final release might look like, but there are still a number of features that are yet to be added to the technical preview and others that are in early development. Windows 10 for phone is also quite rough at this stage.
So that leaves room to maneuver, and I’d like to outline some of my personal hopes for Windows 10 from a user’s point of view in this article.
Password-Free Log On Using a Smartphone
I spend a lot of time everyday entering my password, as I lock Windows when leaving my desk. Fifty percent of the time I type my password incorrectly, or find the language not set to English, or caps lock is on. And that’s not to mention the other passwords needed to log in to various systems and websites during the day.
As I wrote back in November in Could Windows 10 and Windows Server vNext End the Reliance on Passwords?, Microsoft plans to put an end to passwords by supporting the FIDO 2.0 standard, which will allow users to log in using something they have, such as their smartphone and biometric authentication in the form of a fingerprint or facial recognition. This differs from most two-factor authentication systems that rely on something you have and something you know, i.e. a password or PIN.
While it remains to be seen exactly how this new authentication system will work, it would be great if I were able to log in to my primary Windows device by just pressing a finger against my smartphone. But that will also depend on new Lumia hardware with fingerprint readers and the final FIDO 2.0 standard.
Modern UI Apps Resume Performance
I’m a fan of the Metro UI apps in Windows 8, but that’s not to say that using them doesn’t have its frustrations. The biggest frustration is the suspension of apps that go out of focus.
Consider this scenario: you want to copy some text from Metro IE to another app, desktop or Modern. You copy the text to the clipboard, switch to another app and try to paste, but the clipboard is empty. That’s because Modern IE has suspended in the background and cleared the contents of the clipboard along with it.
Not only that, but IE no longer appears in the list of running apps if you press ALT+TAB. It only appears if you press WIN+TAB in the list of running Metro apps, which is confusing for users.
Alternatively, consider trying to paste information to a form in Mobile IE, which can result in the browser suspending. Upon reloading the page on resume, you lose all data on the form, and in some instances, you are logged out of the site. That’s not a great user experience.
Faster Browser with Support for Offline Reading
Mobile IE is probably the poorest performing app on Windows Phone 8.1. Windows 10 for phone needs to have Spartan, the new minimal browser in development, and support offline reading. Comparing Chrome on Android to Mobile IE, it’s clear that page loading times in Mobile IE are considerably slower. Hopefully Spartan can close that gap significantly.
A Better Maps Experience
Windows Phone 8.1 on Lumia devices has a split personality when it comes to maps. Bing Maps is the default mapping app, but Nokia’s HERE Maps provides a superior front end and the ability to download maps for offline use, which incidentally works much better than offline maps in Google Maps.
But HERE Maps still lacks basic features found in Google Maps, such as street view and the ability to measure the distance between two points. Bing Maps for Windows 8 is leaps and bounds ahead of the same app for Windows phone, and hopefully Windows 10 will put an end to that disparity.
Improved Universal Facebook App
The Facebook app for Windows 8 doesn’t bare much resemblance to the same app for Windows Phone 8.1, partly due to the separate Messenger app for phone. But regardless of the platform, both Facebook apps leave a lot to be desired. The inability to share content via private message, and approve posts on your timeline, limited security settings when posting, and taking users to the browser when clicking notifications are just a few of the complaints that spring to mind.
Not that this is uniquely a Facebook problem. Other apps for Windows, such as Instagram for example, are also second-class citizens compared to their iOS and Android counterparts. We can only hope that a success for Windows 10 on the PC will pave the way for broader and improved Windows app support for all devices.