Sorry, I do not have a scoop here on what Microsoft is planning to name the Redstone 3 feature update for Windows 10 that is expected later this year however, I believe going in this direction makes a lot of sense for the Redmond company.
It is only natural though that Microsoft watchers are starting to shift their focus to the next major update to Windows 10 as the current one gets close to its public release.
See we already know that Microsoft is planning to release a second major feature update this year and it is expected sometime in the fall. The two feature updates per year cadence has been Microsoft's plan all along for Windows 10 but this is the first time since Windows 10's release in 2015 that they are looking to issue both of them in the same calendar year.
That next feature update is code named Redstone 3 and we already know one feature that is making its way into this upgrade. The My People feature that was touted during last October's Creators Update announcement was pulled from the soon to be released update back on January 19th when Build 15014 was released to testers. At that time Microsoft stated the feature was not meeting quality expectations for inclusion and that it would be pushed out to the next major update for Windows 10.
So far Windows 10 has received two major updates since it was released. Those were the November Update that was released in November 2015 and the Anniversary Update released in August 2016. Following the release of the Creators Update either this month or next, we fully expect Microsoft to shift into development mode with Redstone 3 and issue the first build of the next Windows 10 upgrade to Insiders a few weeks after Creators is rolled out.
Normally, Microsoft does not reveal a feature updates branding until they are well into the development process. However, I think I have a solid suggestion for Microsoft and where they can focus this next update that will not only help to improve the operating system but also encourage their fans.
My recommendation for the next major feature update is that it be called the Windows 10 Mobility Update.
See this naming and focus on mobility is exactly what Windows 10 needs on a couple of fronts.
First the constant perception that Microsoft has abandoned Windows 10 Mobile is a strong one and permeates social media and feedback forums. Those of us who follow the Windows 10 development process see a regular flow of new builds for Windows 10 Mobile being issued alongside most desktop builds and even at times on their own. In fact, as I wrote last week, there were four mobile builds issued in the same two week period that PCs received five new builds and two of those mobile ring builds were also designated as stable enough for Slow Ring testers. Did I mention that the mobile testers also saw two builds released within 48 hours of each other?
So the concept of Windows 10 Mobile being abandoned is a bit of a misnomer but it could do with an entire update that focuses on it to help bolster the perception of the platforms fans.
A second aspect of a possible Windows 10 Mobility Update would also applies to the PC version of the operating system. While desktop systems are not so portable, there are plenty of new convertibles, 2-in-1's, tablets, and other form factors hitting the market that can take advantage of Tablet Mode in Windows 10. This means a mobility focused update would not only have to focus on the mobile version of Windows but could also be used to improve the portable experience on all of these other devices that run the desktop version of the OS and can use Tablet Mode.
By the way, other devices that have a unique mobile experience in Windows 10 include HoloLens and even the Mixed Reality Headsets aka Head Mounted Devices (HMDs) that are coming soon from Microsoft partners.
For some time now Microsoft has said they want to insure the mobility of the experience for their users no matter what mobile platform the customer uses to reach the companies services.
Focusing on mobility for the next major update to Windows 10 does not mean big companies are going to suddenly come running back to the platform or that market share is going to magically become a threat to Android or iOS. However, if the Redmond company used a feature update like this to improve the mobile/portable experience of Windows 10 overall and worked on some feature parity for the apps they have on those other platforms for their Windows 10 counterparts then it could be a real boon to the platform as a whole.
Who knows, these updates alongside some new mobile hardware could make all the difference in the world for perceptions and taking care of your fans is not a bad approach either. They can be some of your strongest brand advocates and their message, both positive and negative, gets out there very quickly.
Where do you want to see Microsoft head with the fourth feature update for Windows 10?