At a private event for press and analysts today, Microsoft revealed more details about its Windows 10 launch plans.
Today's announcement, held in conjunction with the Build developers' conference in San Francisco, didn't include an actual date. Microsoft execs continue to commit only to a launch "this summer." If the report from an overly talkative hardware partner is accurate, though, that milestone will be in late July
.Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, confirmed what most Microsoft watchers had previously suspected: The summer launch will be only for the client version of Windows 10, on x86-based PCs and tablets. The Windows 10 releases for phones, small tablets, Xbox, and Hololens will follow at unspecified later dates, probably this year.
In earlier Windows development cycles, this summer's lunch event would have been labeled Release to Manufacturing, or RTM. In the new Microsoft, that phrase is outdated. Instead, what happens at launch is that the final, ready-for-the-general-public build of Windows 10 will be declared the Current Branch. At that point it will be available via update, for free, to any existing devices running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1.
Belfiore also confirmed that the Windows Insider program will continue after the launch event. Registered members of the Insider program who've been testing preview releases will be offered the option to switch to the Current Branch or remain in the preview program.
Those who choose to remain on what Microsoft is calling the "active branch" will continue to get new updates ahead of the public, with those updates making their way to the Current Branch when they're deemed stable enough for release.