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Here's what's next for Windows 10

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Windows 10 is now available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. While millions are performing the upgrade this week, Microsoft is working hard on updates and fixes behind the scenes. Some of those patches have already started rolling out, but there are more to come. The first bigger collection of fixes will come with what Microsoft calls Service Release 1 (SR1). Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that SR1 is due to be released in early August, possibly as early as next week. While SR1 won't include new features, it will fix some of the issues people have been experiencing with Windows 10.

After the initial patches and updates, Microsoft is working toward a bigger collection of fixes and feature additions for later this year. Tentatively scheduled for October, some of those additions will include a new Messaging app to provide Skype integration and extensions support for the Microsoft Edge browser. "There's no one working on a Windows 11, but there's a group of people working on some really cool updates to Windows 10 that the Windows insiders will see soon," says Microsoft's Windows chief Terry Myerson in an interview with The Verge. Windows 10 testers will start to receive new builds shortly, with the ability to test new features like Microsoft Edge extension support before it's available more broadly later this year.

Microsoft Edge extensions

Windows 10 testers will see Microsoft Edge extensions soon

Speaking to The Verge last week, Microsoft Edge program manager Drew DeBruyne revealed a little more about how extensions will work in Microsoft Edge. Extensions will be javascript-based, and Microsoft is trying to mimic exactly how Chrome extensions work so it's easy for developers to port them across. In the screenshot above you can see how a Pinterest extension is integrated in a similar way to Chrome. "The intention is that there’s not much work to do, or zero work to do," explains DeBruyne. "We’re doing a lot of work to essentially support the same APIs that Chrome does." Extensions will be hosted in the Windows Store alongside regular apps, and developers will be able to sideload them.

Microsoft's dedicated Messaging app for Windows 10 will enter preview in the coming weeks. The messaging app will bring Skype integration directly into Windows 10, creating a more iMessaging- and FaceTime-like service. Microsoft is planning to release this to Windows 10 users later this year, but insiders will get to test it very soon. You'll be able to make video and audio calls all without a dedicated Skype app, and Skype messaging will be supported through the built-in Messaging app.

Messaging app windows 10

Outside of features and app updates, Microsoft is also working on the basics. Windows 10 battery life isn't exactly where the company wants it to be. "We are ... I want to be able to say it's the best battery life, but right now we're about equal to Windows 8.1 updates," explains Myerson. "We're pushing for some fixes to say we're better. Still, 8.1 update had very good battery life, so we're in no way stepping back."

Further out, Microsoft is also working on a "redstone" wave of releases for Windows 10 that will add more features in 2016. While existing built-in app updates will roll out regularly over the coming months, redstone may introduce new apps as part of two summer and fall updates due next year. The big push of Windows as a service continues.

Verge Video: Windows 10 review