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Windows 10 for phones preview now available to download

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We’ve seen Windows 10 on PC and tablets, and now it’s time to preview Microsoft’s latest operating system on phones. Microsoft is making its Windows 10 for phones preview available today for anyone willing to sign up to the company’s "Insider" program. If you’ve already got a handset running Windows Phone 8.1 then you can install a preview app to obtain the test builds. This is a very early preview of Windows 10 on phones, so it’s probably not wise to install this on your day-to-day device.

No Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 support just yet

You might not even be able to install it on your device of choice just yet. Microsoft is keeping the list of supported devices fairly slim for now. The Lumia 630, Lumia 635, Lumia 636, Lumia 638, Lumia 730, and Lumia 830 will all be supported today, and Microsoft's Joe Belfiore says the company will be "delivering new features and new devices...over the next few months." Microsoft's two flagships, the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930, are both missing from the list, which will disappoint many. Microsoft blames a new "partition stitching" feature for the delay to the flagships. It's a new feature that will allow the company to dynamically adjust the OS space on a device in future, and Microsoft's Gabe Aul explains "many of the bigger phones have very tight OS partitions."

Microsoft also warns that a lot of features are missing from this initial Technical Preview that you might be used to in Windows Phone 8.1. Messaging is missing dual-SIM support, search, message drafts, sharing voice notes and ringtones, Bi-Di language support, international assisted dialing, spam filter, viewing all group recipients, reminders and quiet hours through Cortana, multiple attachments, and GSM support. Cortana is only available in the US, and the Rooms feature isn’t fully supported in the preview. If you rely on any of those features then it might be worth waiting for a future build.

Microsoft is improving Windows Phone heavily with Windows 10, and a lot of the changes come thanks to universal apps. There’s new photos, calendar, mail, music, camera, and messaging apps that are greatly improved from what was available on Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft has also cleaned up the mapping situation so that turn-by-turn directions and basic mapping is all integrated into a single app. Other tweaks include better organization of the settings page, a collapsable notification center, and the ability to take actions on notifications. We got an early hands-on of Windows 10 on phones last month, and thanks to today’s preview we’ll be taking an even closer look very soon.