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The Windows Insider program may soon expand to Microsoft Lumias

The Windows Insider program, which involves users testing the desktop and mobile OS during its development, looks to be a large success. Fans get an early look, and Microsoft gets user feedback on what works and what doesn't before it goes wide. The program is to aid in Microsoft's new rapid development Windows as a Service philosophy.

One idea that some Insiders have floated is not only testing software but new hardware too. Microsoft's Gabriel Aul even considered such an idea as "interesting". Of course, there are complications here including possible NDAs and people revealing anything that they should not.

Now, we are hearing that an email is being sent to select Insiders who have provided useful feedback to the Windows dev team. The important part from the email mentions the creation of a new team of Insiders:

" We are currently selecting Windows Insiders like you to join a group that will soon play an even more active role in the development of Windows 10 Mobile."Based on the exceptional feedback that you have already provided on recent builds of Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview, we think you have both the knowledge – and passion – to be part of this team."

The email instructs the reader to take a survey and info about the user, including:

  • The kind of device owned
  • Their address
  • Their shipping address

Is Microsoft going to see new hardware to users for detailed feedback on their devices? From the looks of it, it may very well happen. Not only would Microsoft gain some useful data from those users, but it would be one heck of a reward for being an outstanding contributor to the program.

We'll have to wait and see how this initial survey goes, but Microsoft may be taking the first steps to a greater Insider program. For now, you can jump into our forums where a topic on this question has been started.

Thanks to our tipster who wishes to remain anonymous

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

108 Comments
  • They so need this for their Surface devices.
  • What would you change on the Surface?
  • Hardware wise? Zilch. The software and drivers are a bit of a mess, however.
  • Are you sure? I would give the type cover a force-touch trackpad. Not because I want force-touch, I don't care for it, but because you can "click" a force-touch trackpad anywhere, not just in the bottom half or 2 thirds. It really annoys me on my SP3 when I move the mouse up and then can't click down
  • You can just tap it. Has been a feature of touch pads forever.
    I personally hate having the whole pad as a clickable surface, but of course if some like it, why not.
    I could, however, imagine that it would be difficult to implement without making the keyboard thicker.
  • that would be very easy for microsoft because microsoft introduced force touch technology years ago with the original surface keyboard. what do you think powered it? force sensing touch sensors. Although force touch turned out to be not so effective for a physical keyboard, microsoft has had this technology and could easily deploy it in other devices of they wished. something apple has recently done in places other than keyboards...
  • Think they need to either rethink their component manufacture for Wi-Fi or ditch the changes they made to ndis for w8.1 & above & start from scratch
  • yes drivers on the new sp4 need much work.
  • That's an understatement.
  • Agreed!
  • Agreed
  • NOW, this is gonna cause a lot of fans to start relaying tons of feedback, in hopes that they will be picked in the future...
    ......
    It's a pretty good tactic for MS to increase the amount of feedback users give... Sneaky.. Lol, but a win-win for everyone.
  • Ya, because before there were like 3 or 4 guys tops that were sending feedback.
  • Noh way. There are plenty of people sending feedback.
  • Wp7 phones were fast ring hardware
  • Lol
  • very cool idea
  • It would've been nice for us to say "nice device, but please don't change the size!""
  • That's great
  • MS: Please pick me!
  • No, pick me!! ;p
  • Too late, they already picked me.....wishing LOL
  • Dang, I should have been giving more direct feedback. :P In all seriousness, though, I already got to enjoy a fantastic opportunity earlier this year (in April), it can't always be my turn. ^^ Congrats to all who are being selected!
  • No one is being selected for hardware testing, its just a tweet saying the idea is interesting from the guy running the insider program for windows OS. The more active rol in testing is just to get more feedback
  • Don't know, some have received the email going by comments below?
  • For 360 it was common practice for testing games by sending invites to users in the area of their xbox campus
  • They do that with internal MS employees, providing test phones if requested. But not production devices.
  • Cool idea. Microsoft getting tested by real users shows issues.
  • Just got the email and completed the survey. Doubt they will pick me since I live in Angola though. Oh well one can hope.
  • Wow, congrats! :) Don't give up hope. ^^
  • I mean if it won't be much use to you, you can always send me the link! Haha
  • Got an email also - what the heck is MSA ID???
  • Microsoft Account ID maybe?
  • I assumed that but then they ask ur email aren't those the same most the time
  • not always since some people created Microsoft Accounts with a gmail or yahoo email
  • is your microsoft email account that you sign into your phone with and the one used for the insider program.
  • Well, I guess for US products they don't need that much people, afterall that's where they already do their testing.
  • Speak up if you went to refresh your inbox the moment you read this. Don't be ashamed, we are all family in this room.
  • Yup. I did. And I got the email. :) 
  • Lucky bastard
  • Perhaps not.  Wont know until we find out who they select, based on survey results.
  • Actually, I didn't. But once you mentioned it, I did. I did not get it. Then again, I haven't been testing the mobile intensively until 10581, and it's been a while since I was on the desktop OS insider.
  • This actually makes me wonder what the qualifications are. I've been an active Mobile Insider since mid-June, and an active desktop Insider since day one (well, more like day 3, but close enough, lol), and an Xbox Insider/Previewer as well. I've given quite a lot of feedback (over 300 items), and up-voted easily 1000 items submitted by other Insiders. But, only a few of my feedback every received more than a dozen up-votes. So, was I selected for the survey because of how much I've up-voted feedback, how much feedback I've provided (regardless of the up-votes received), due to the length of time I've been involved in one or more of the programs, or is it a combination of these? Or, is it a combination of the mentioned "qualifiers" that get you into some sort of raffle that determines who the survey's go out to? 
  • Sounds more like MSDN preferential treatment
  • Dont burn yourself... you will also get a chance !!!
  • Yep, I did. But sadly, no email. I guess my feedback from my Lumia 810 wasn't valuable. :'(
  • No need, I have push notifications to my Band.
  • Yeah, I did it also, but I didn't receive the email regarding the survey. Guess that this program is only for past W10M insiders? Anyways, I'm stuck on build 10525 with no hope on upgrading OTA. Will try Clean Install instead with the risk of reinstalling apps (which consumes my data usage).
  • Starbucks is everywhere and they have free wifi
  • Well, I'd like to check it out though. Thanks anyway :)
  • Microsoft should create a new device line...say Xbox tv
  • Sadly will never happen though if they could come out with an dvr external device that could store & offload all the rendering that the Hauppauge tuner does that would be great
  • i hope i can get picked at a later stage. Gave one of my WP to my sister so i "only" had my 630 DS when insider started. i tried a few builds but it was too buggy (after hard reset) so i stayed away for a while. now i have a 640 ds as well and soon i'll have a 950 xl so i'll get on the insider wagon and give feedback as i do on the desktop version. i hope the feedback i give in the future will allow me to be selected in that program. but i also think that it won't be feasible to run this sort of program in all countries :(
  • Cool Beans. And lightning fast reporting on breaking news, Daniel-san.
  • You are reading way too much into this. I bet they are free continuum docks in exchange for reviews/surveys. No one is getting a new unreleased phone.
  • Well, they do need a Lumia 950 (XL) or newer for the dock to be any good, too. ;)
  • It's entirely possible. The plan could be that select insiders receive a 950/XL and some accessories when the hardware is scheduled for release. Besides, Samsung and a few others have actually done this kind of stuff in the past, where they send select users pre-release hardware. They put you under pretty strict NDA and prohibit the resale of the hardware. But I do agree that this may not necessarily be the case. So people should try not to get their hopes up, or get too excited. Given the context though, that the intention is to select "Windows Insiders like you to join a group that will soon play an even more active role in the development of Windows 10 Mobile." I think it stands to reason that it could be hardware. Sending someone a Dock that may not even be use to them any time soon, would be rather pointless if the goal is to make them a more prominent part of the Insider program. Perhaps they are planning to sendthese select Widnows Insiders a phone similar to what they currently have, which is set to receive builds faster (i.e. access to Microsoft's internal Fast and Slow rings). Just a thought prompted by the questions "what phone are you currently using" and "which carrier are you on". 
  • That actually sounds like a very reasonable possibility. It will probably be a current or "known" device that is able to get the internal builds. I'm not definitely gonna complain if they send me unreleased phones though. LOL.
  • They'll get the plain 950 with the glued on washer
  • i think it is possible that it will be something because we are asked for shipping address during the survey.
  • We insider are very happy to be a great positive thoughts the success of window 10 & window phone 10. It's was great HONOUR from MS.
  • I got this email and thought it was a scam lol....a very detailed scam to get my personal information. Once you click the survey link, it doesn't resemble the other insider surveys and immediately tells you they are going to ask for your personal information....things that should already be available via the Microsoft Account. Ponders... The actual survey seems soooooo generic and even abbreviates Microsoft with this sentence: "MSFT Windows 10 Mobile Insider Survey". Microsoft needs to get consistent with their surveys as this is the worst looking one yet it ask for your first and last name, country, zip and the rest of the address and more.
  • Companies always ask for updated information. This ensures that the address they use for whatever is correct. I moved a few months back and totally forgot to update my address until I went to preorder hardware. So it's not a bad thing for them to double check. Plus the address you have on file may not be the one you have thigns shipped to. 
  • After much deliberation, checking and confirming the email address to see if it matched other insider emails that I have received in prior months, I reached this conclusion: The insider email address changed months ago, this email is either legit or I have been getting scammed for months, lol, since I have been completing surveys from this new "e-mail" (old was email) address. Oh well. Long story short....I completed the survey. Let's see what happens. I'll keep my home security system armed and monitor my credit activity in the mean time. :)
  • Same here! I was thinking "yea sure, a "new" insider program. yea ok..." but it's actually legit.
  • Mmm I got that email
  • Marty you are one extremely lucky man.
  • Thanks hopefully all the emails are out yet
  • You suck lol
  • Oh well guess I didn't do enough feedback it's ok someone else will
  • I'm disappointed I didn't get the email =/. oh well
  • Nice
  • I hope that they will send me that email, since it was me that caused Gabe's two word tweet that was expanded into a news story. I've also been testing W10M on 5 or 6 devices for a while now.
  • I didn't get am email, and I think I have been giving lotsa feedback to MSFT. Oh well, I hope that maybe I do get it...(refresh,refresh,refresh)
  • I hope I am on the selection list. I just live Microsoft and would love to be even more involved. Too bad for me though I have a few good ideas around that I almost put on user feedback 2 days ago then life got in the way lol.
    Anyhow I hope to be involved. No email yet though. +1520 x2, +sp3, +surface 2, +Xbox one.
    Live the ecosystem.
  • Microsoft doesn't need me. But I DO need Microsoft. So whoever you guys are that get picked, do good work. For ME!
  • Yea same here strange 1520 not on there either
  • It looked like a typo to me. It should have been 1520, not "2520". The 2520 is the Nokia tablet that was on RT, so it can't get insider previews.
  • Att does that roo they have my phone listed as a 2520 can't even do an insurance claim because of it
  • I got this email, but I'm not getting my hopes up of being picked since my HTC One M8 with Windows classifies as "Other" hardware, even though I've been heavily involved in reporting bugs and sending reports.
  • Think they filtered out Verizon users?
  • I'm not cool clearly.. Or is it I am Canadian!
  • im Canadian and got the email.
  • I should check and see what my settings are. It's possible I'm set not to recive offers n such things. Would explain why I have never got an email ever. Owell. I'm about to drop testing and go to rtm's I think. Unless extension support comes fast. With the release of Cortana in Canada I can just use windows again.
  • Got the email! YAY! Thank heaven for submitting 268 feedback pieces and getting over 600 up-votes. Here's to hoping I can get in on this gem of an idea. The "2520" typo was odd though. Probably should have been "1520".
  • Check email
  • Even I send quite a bit of feedback, and I am a lazy slacker! Insider is a GREAT IDEA!
  • I agree it's a great idea, especially getting RTM builds as they are released and not having to wait for carriers to update months later :)
  • The existence of this leak basically shows Microsoft it's not a good idea.
  • Well it does sound nice and it could benefit MS hugely, but seeing how right now there's millions of leaks of everything, there's no way they will stick to the NDA. Frankly having leaks of everything all the time is getting a bit tiresome.
  • Nokia did this stuff before. They had a site, were you could apply for a test device. You had to tell them why are you a good choice for them, and give them your info. Maybe Microsoft has studied the results of that program, and found it valuable
  • I'm sure the stuff they send out will be things that everyone will have common knowledge of just not have the hands on with it like those they would chose to test out whatever it is they send. I worked for Frito lay, they would send us new flavors of chips before they had released it on the shelves. Everyone knew they were coming out, just didn't know how they'd taste.
  • Well, whatever Microsoft send out, I won't be eating it :)
  • I've been submitting and contributing multiple items and up voting for months on a daily basis. Some days I would contribute nearly 10 suggestions but frequently upvoted. I have 100% feedback and have completed all quests but no survey in my email. Funny that people are getting excited and at this point and no one knows for sure if you even get anything. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Who knows the criteria for choosing who gets the emails - maybe you were included but they randomly selected a few - guess there are many waiting in anticipation for more emails to go out.
  • Just says, insider, with current build, gave feedback and English
  • Think that MS forgot me, didn't get the email
  • Guess that they send the email only to die hard fans... But I am a die hard
  • I'm sure they'll send out more emails. They probably only do so many at a time.
  • hope the would distribute across the whole world for a well balanced feedback as some of the the features may be neglected yet very important in other countries.
  • lol
  • Nty
  • Maybe Microsoft is trying to find some users to offload all those 8" Surface tablets they manufactured last year but never released to! ☺
  • Well I got mine I have about 6 devices running insider software I hope they don't send any more, the more invites and accepted the less the value of the prize if there is one
  • Can someone post the full link to Survey Gizmo that Microsoft sent out?  Wonder if anybody can sign up...
  • It says we received this for being an insider, current build and English at the bottom
  • This is a sweet deal for those who have been contributing! I just wish I was one of them...
  • I`ve actually received that e-mail but now I can`t find it anymore. Is it because I did not complete the survey in time?