While Microsoft’s Windows 10 preview program is starting to supply updates on a regular basis, the leakers are always one step ahead. A new Windows 10 build (10051) has surfaced on the internet today that includes some welcome changes. The most obvious additions are new Mail and Calendar apps that look and feel a lot like Microsoft’s Office Windows 10 apps. Microsoft previously demonstrated an early copy of the apps at its Windows 10 event in January, but it’s clear the company is ready to test them more broadly, and I would expect to see them in an official preview release in the coming weeks.
The Mail and Calendar apps are fairly basic right now, but they’re also very functional and incredibly fast and smooth to use. They both feel and look a lot better than their existing counterparts in Windows 8.1. Microsoft is borrowing new swipe actions from its Outlook for iOS / Android client, and if you have a Windows 10 touch machine then you’ll be able to swipe right on mail to set a flag or swipe left to delete messages. These swipe actions are customizable, just like the mobile version of Outlook. There’s support for multiple accounts, and easy ways to add Google or Exchange accounts. Microsoft has also built support for a custom image in the right pane of the Mail app. It’s designed to remove the white space, and it will disappear when you select a mail. This new Mail app is still labelled Mail, but Microsoft is planning to brand it as Outlook in future.
Calendar users will be happy to know that Google Calendar support is included. Windows 8.1 didn’t include support for Google, but Microsoft isn’t making that mistake with its new Windows 10 apps. The support is seamless, and shared Google calendars work fine. The new colorful Calendar app is greatly improved over the Windows 8.1 version, and it also feels like an Office app. Strangely, Microsoft hasn’t integrated it directly into its Mail app, so it will launch as its own separate app. With Outlook’s focus on integrating contacts, mail, and calendars into a single app, you’d expect Microsoft to do the same here at some point, but for now there’s a button in Mail that launches the Calendar app.
Mail and Calendar might be the new additions, but there’s some minor changes elsewhere in this leaked Windows 10 build. Project Spartan, Microsoft’s new browser for Windows 10, now includes an option to "open with Internet Explorer." While Microsoft is planning not to pin Internet Explorer to the Start Menu or taskbar, this could be a sign that the company doesn’t want to hide it away fully. This new build also includes a new Microsoft Family app that appears to be for managing parental controls. Microsoft Family isn’t fully functional in this leaked build, so it’s not clear how this new app works just yet.
Verge Video: Hands-on with Project Spartan, the successor to Internet Explorer