Windows 10 for phones detailed with PC syncing, better voice commands

An early build, but much revealed

Microsoft detailed the next version of Windows for phones at an event in Redmond today, where Microsoft Operating Systems Group Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore took the stage to talk about the OS on sub-8-inch devices, meaning small tablets and smartphones.

"Windows 10 is designed for a wide range of devices, a very wide range, but what we're doing it tailoring it to be appropriate in its user experience for certain form factors," he said.

The build of Windows 10 for phones he showed off on a Lumia 1520 was unfinished, but he said it gave a sense of how it aligns with the PC.

The phone had a custom background image underneath a familiar start screen. Recently used apps appeared at the top of the apps list, and the improved action center was synced with the action center on his PC.

The settings app, as well, has been reorganized and is now universal among all Windows 10 devices.

Voice interaction

To fit with the theme of "natural interaction," Belfiore showed off the voice dictation button that now rests at the top of the keyboard across the system. The system pulls names from your contacts so it knows how to spell them, and automatically adds proper punctuation to your sentences.

"Anywhere I can type, I can now talk," he said.

He also showed how Skype and other messaging services can be integrated directly with Windows' messaging experience.

Universal apps

Next Belfiore turned the focus to universal Windows apps.

"We are building a wide family of universal apps that will round out the experience on phones, small tablets and PCs," he said.

He demonstrated a series of apps across mobile and PC, including Word, PowerPoint, Outlook Mail, and more, that work on multiple devices with features that spread between platforms - like the "recent documents" tab, for one example.

Microsoft revealed earlier during the event that all Windows Phone 8.1 devices will be upgraded for free to Windows 10.

A build of Windows 10 for phones will release in February, likely after the first weekend of the month.