Windows 10 Redstone: Second wave of updates coming in 2017

Zac Bowden


Microsoft is currently developing the next version of Windows 10, codenamed Redstone which will introduce a whole batch of new features, fixes and other operating system improvements. So far, Microsoft has released multiple pre-release builds of Redstone to Insiders for testing, but is yet to give any dates as to when Redstone will be ready for the public.

We already know that Redstone will launch in two waves, the first of which will be happening in June. This first update is being developed under the tag RS1, and according to my sources who are familiar with the matter, will focus mostly on the convergence of different Windows 10 devices such as PC, Xbox and Phone. RS1 will heavily concentrate on the Universal App Platform, bringing the Windows Store to Xbox One and introducing more Project Centennial and Islandwood apps to the Store.

There will also be a bigger focus on universal AAA video game titles between Xbox and PC, which is something we have already started seeing as of recently. In short, the Windows Store in RS1 aims to be a hub for all media-related content on the Windows platform, accessible from any Windows 10 device.

As I have already mentioned in the past, Continuum will also be a big focal point in Redstone. I’m told SMS texting and cellular calls will come to the desktop via Continuum from a Windows 10 Mobile device, allowing users to make phone calls from their phone directly on their PC much like you can with an iPhone and OS X. Internally, Microsoft is expanding the term “Continuum” to mean more than just different user-experiences, which is why I’m filing it under Continuum in this article. Engineering teams use Continuum as a codename for this new functionality.

What that also means is the additional functionality mentioned here will be available for more than just phones that support Continuum currently. The ultimate goal here is to use Continuum as a way of bringing Windows 10 devices closer together, and this should happen with Redstone. It is unclear whether Microsoft will advertise the ability to SMS and take cellular calls from the desktop as “Continuum”, we shall see.

Regarding branding for RS1, it is likely, but not definite, that Microsoft will opt for using the same naming scheme it’s using currently, giving it a version number deciphered by the month and year in which the update is released. In this case for RS1, it’ll be “Windows 10 Version 1606” matching that of the Windows 10 Threshold 2 update which is “Windows 10 Version 1511”.

Moving on to RS2, which is the second Redstone update that was originally slated for release later this year, has been pushed back to Spring 2017. RS2 will likely be used to continue work on features that do not make the cut for RS1, much like how TH2 worked when TH1 was released in July last year. In other words, if any features that I mention or have mentioned in this article are not in RS1, they’ll likely land with RS2 alongside other new additions instead. There will also be a bigger focus on first-party apps with RS2, but that’s all I know at this point.

Of course, there will be new features and UI adjustments throughout the Redstone cycle too, most of which I hear will be cosmetic changes to already available features in Windows 10 TH2. Updates to the Start Menu and Settings app are in the works, as well as an improved Action/Notification Center that will give users much more control over their notifications. We should also see the Control Panel continue to be deprecated, with more legacy Control Panel elements showing up in the updated Settings app instead.

With BUILD less than a month away, it shouldn’t be too long before we know a lot more about this first wave of Redstone updates. Microsoft is expected to release a preview build of Redstone with extension support for Microsoft Edge very soon, allowing developers to begin making extensions in time for RS1’s launch in June. Insiders will also get a front row seat in testing extensions, making sure the experience is smooth for release.

Until then however, what are you hoping to see make an appearance during the Redstone release cycle? Let us know below.

Updated: Added additional info regarding use of the word “Continuum” to clear up some confusion.