Microsoft focuses on battery life ahead of Windows 10 launch

Windows 10 background,Windows 10 background

Windows 10 updates are rolling out faster than ever, but don't expect many front-facing changes to the latest Insider Preview Build 10162. This is the third update to the Windows 10 Insider program in as little as a week, with Microsoft increasing its cadence of releases in the weeks ahead of the official launch of Windows 10.

"Build 10162 is another great one," Gabriel Aul, General Manager of the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, said in a statement. "In fact, our testing and internal telemetry metrics show it has better reliability, performance, battery life and compatibility than any Windows 10 Insider Preview build so far."

Aul did not mention if there are any new features in Build 10162.

Going dark

Build 10158 was the first Insider Preview release this week. That update brought a lot of visual changes and new features to Windows 10, including a new, dark theme with Microsoft's Tron-inspired desktop wallpaper.

Cortana even gained more voice in the build, as the Halo-inspired digital assistant can now be commanded to send emails. Additionally, Microsoft updated the Windows 10 Photos app in the Store, adding support for GIFs.

Prior to Build 10162, Build 10159 added over 300 big fixes and refinements, but Microsoft did not give specifics on the changes.

Aul had previously cautioned that future builds released to Insiders would be centered around bug fixes and polish, rather than new features, and Build 10159 and 10162 fall in line with this direction.

The faster Fast Ring

Given the rapid succession of build releases, Aul said that Build 10162 will go out first to Fast ring members.

"We're looking at Build 10162 as a candidate and unless we see any issues emerge in the Fast ring we'll look to publish it to Slow (with ISOs) early next week," Aul said.

Compared to the Slow ring, Fast ring Insiders get preview builds first, sacrificing stability for early access to new features and fixes.

The grand debut

Microsoft stated previously that the new operating system – which brings back the Start menu and adds features like Cortana, the Microsoft Edge browser and Continuum for hybrid owners to easily switch between laptop and tablet modes – will launch on July 29.

The upgrade to Windows 10 will be free, during the first year of release, to customers moving from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. However, Microsoft noted early this morning that not all customers will be seeing the update initially on July 29, and that Insiders will have first access at downloading the operating system when it becomes available on launch day.

For those not qualified for the free promotion, Windows 10 Home will retail for $129 in the US, £99 in the UK and €135 in Eurozone markets. Microsoft announced previously that Windows 10 Professional will cost $199 (£131, AU$262), but did not specify pricing for markets outside the US. It is expected that pricing for Windows 10 will be similar to Windows 8.1 when that OS launched.

The company is rolling out Windows 10 in waves, likely to stem an overwhelming amount of traffic. Microsoft's ambitious goal is to have Windows 10 on a billion devices in the next few years. Microsoft also announced the different features available to the various versions of Windows 10.

Windows 10 Enterprise is not expected to launch with the consumer editions this month.