Some people are currently taking the wraps off their newly christened Windows 10 for phones preview devices and giving it it's paces. There are a host of new features for users to play with today; full size background images, expanded Action Center, enhanced speech-to-text capabilities, and built-in Office apps. Unfortunately this build is new to everyone and that means developers haven't had anytime to build those ambitious Windows 10 universal apps we've all been hearing about.
In lieu of that, Microsoft is looking to do the next best thing and that's include the Spartan browser rendering engine hosted in the currently released PC technical preview build. It looks like Microsoft is hedging its bets, that if developers would rather simply point Windows Phone users (*cough* Chase Bank *cough*), that using the Spartan browser would feel as comfortable and natural as using either an app or the full desktop.
- The new Windows 10 web platform on phones comes with the same interoperability improvements, new features, increased performance, and improved standards support we’ve been previewing on PCs for the last several months.
- Windows 10 introduces a new user agent string for phones – based on our new desktop user agent string – designed to get the most modern, interoperable content for the mobile web. Sites inspecting the user agent string for analytics should be aware of the new string, but we continue to believe that feature detection rather than browser detection is the best solution for web developers writing interoperable content.
- The new rendering engine will be used for all web pages loaded in the browser on Windows 10 phones. Like on PCs, “x-ua-compatible” tags will no longer be supported to force older compatibility document modes. This ensures that sites on the mobile web will always get the latest, most interoperable engine.
This should be great news to hear for anyone feeling the sting of recent app loses from the Windows Phone Store. Now that the build is out and being tested, app developers can get a better feel as to how to incorporate the power of this rendering engine into their app so that they're always on the latest update of the engine installed on the device. Since the browser will function like an app on the newer builds, dynamic updating will mitigate the tidal-wave API app updating current developers seem frustrated with.
Until the official launch of Windows 10 for phones, current Windows Phone 8.1 devices will continue to be powered by WebBrowser or Webview controls with the Trident rendering engine.