Redstone 3, Microsoft's next major update for Windows 10 is now in development. Here's everything we know so far.
Update April 24 2017: Added HomeGroup removal possibility.
Microsoft is now hard at work developing the next major update for Windows 10. Codenamed 'Redstone 3', this next update is rumored to launch in early Fall 2017 and will focus on a whole bunch of new improvements for Windows 10 users.
Of course, if a feature is coming in Redstone 3, Insiders will likely have the chance to play with it before official launch in October/November. So, what do we expect to see show up in Redstone 3 in the fall for PC?
Originally planned for Redstone 2, My People is a new social feature being built into Redstone 3 that will allow you to pin your favorite contacts to your taskbar for easy access recent conversations, emails, contact details and more. You'll be able to share files directly to a contact on your taskbar, collaborate in documents and keep in touch no matter where you are in the operating system.
We've already had a chance to go hands on with Redstone 3's My People feature, so make sure you check that out here.
We exclusively revealed last year that Microsoft was working on a new design language for Windows 10 that would give the user-interface a bit of flair and fluidity, something that it seemingly lacks currently. Our sources suggest that Project NEON designs will begin showing up system-wide with Redstone 3, with more improvements being made with Redstone 4 in 2018.
Microsoft has already teased that Project NEON is in the works, so we wouldn't be surprised to see the company outline their plans for the design language of Windows 10 at BUILD in May.
Windows 10 ARM
Microsoft announced last year that Windows 10 would be coming to ARM-based processors, with full Win32 emulation support. We believe Windows 10 on ARM based laptops/tablets will be ready with Redstone 3 in the fall. It's unlikely that we'll see full Windows 10 running on phones in the fall however, so don't be holding your breath for that.
Full Windows 10 coming to ARM-based laptops and tablets is significant, mainly because of the Win32 emulation support. Unlike Windows RT, Windows 10 on ARM-powered laptops and tablets will be able to run your normal Win32 programs, meaning it won't be locked to the Windows Store. Microsoft has a separate edition of Windows 10 for that called Windows 10 Cloud.
It's a feature that Insiders have been asking for ever since OneDrive placeholders got removed from Windows 10. According to our sources, Microsoft plans to bring OneDrive placeholders back with Redstone 3 in the fall, under a new name called On-Demand Sync.
Cortana Speaker Devices
Inside the early Redstone 3 builds, work on Cortana speaker support has begun. It appears devices like the Harmen Kardon Cortana speaker will be able to hook up with Windows 10 starting with Redstone 3, meaning we'll likely see a lot more Cortana connected devices hit the market alongside Redstone 3 in the fall.
CShell was originally supposed to show up in Windows 10 Mobile with Redstone 3, however according to our sources that may end up not happening now. We don't know much about Redstone 3 for Windows 10 Mobile, and considering Microsoft recently announced that Insiders would be receiving builds separate from PC going forward, we're not sure if Redstone 3 will even be an update that comes to Mobile. We'll keep you informed.
We're expecting CShell for desktop to show up at some point in 2018, not with Redstone 3.
Tabbed Shell (maybe)
We're going to file this one under maybe for Redstone 3, as our sources suggest Redstone 3 or Redstone 4 in 2018 as a target date for arrival. Tabbed Shell is a new feature Microsoft is working on internally that aims to bring tabs to all Windows apps, including File Explorer.
We've written about Tabbed Shell more extensively here, so make sure you check out our exclusive on that.
Bye Bye HomeGroup
It appears, according to a support page on Microsoft's own website, that HomeGroup will be "sunset" in the next feature update for Windows 10, which just happens to be Redstone 3. We're not entirely sure how popular the HomeGroup feature is, which has been in Windows for quite a few years at this point, but beware that it appears it'll be going away soon.
What do you think?
That's our list for what looks to be in the works for Redstone 3. Of course, at any point Microsoft can cancel or delay a feature, so keep that in mind. In the meantime, tell us what you're most hoping for with Redstone 3 in the fall.