As some of us Microsoft watchers have been hearing for months, Microsoft is planning to take the wraps off the so-called "consumer preview" of Windows 10 in January 2015.
The latest word from my sources with good track records on internal Windows information is that this is still the plan. But the next update to the Technical Preview will be known as the January Technical Preview (JTP), rather than the consumer preview, sources say. It will be followed by a February Tech Preview, a March Tech Preview, etc., my sources claim.
The coming JTP is expected to include support for Continuum, a feature that will allow users with two-in-one devices to more easily transition modes when connecting and disconnecting keyboards. It also may be the first build where Microsoft turns on Cortana integration in Windows 10.
My sources say that we will see and hear information about this in January -- most likely around January 20 to 21 -- when Microsoft is expected to show off its Windows 10 progress to invited press and analysts during an event in Redmond, Wash.
It's less clear when the Windows 10 mobile SKU preview bits will be available to external testers. I'm hearing that Microsoft is still testing the mobile SKU on a very limited basis within the Operating Systems Group at this point. I would think the mobile SKU might need to be dogfooded internally at Microsoft more widely before Microsoft releases it to external testers. But once Microsoft does deliver the Windows 10 mobile bits to testers, ongoing and regular updates will be coming at least monthly, according to sources.
By the way, I also am hearing that this mobile SKU will work not just on ARM-based phones and tablets, but also on smaller and less powerful Intel-based ones, too. Microsoft officials hinted this might be the case during Tech Ed Europe, but it indeed does sound like the plan, my sources say.
A quick recap for those trying to keep track of Windows 10 schedules: Microsoft is allowing Windows 10 testers to choose whether to receive Technical Preview updates more quickly or more slowly. Currenly, only 10 percent of testers are opting to be on the fast track. (The slow track is the default.) I'm not sure if Microsoft will offer similar choices to testers of the coming Windows 10 mobile SKU, but I'd imagine so.