The release schedule for Microsoft’s next flagship operating system was characterized as a wave that starts in the summer and proceeds from there.
SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft is building Windows 10 with the aim that the software will work well on devices ranging from smartphones to industrial equipment to desktop personal computers.
The operating system won’t make its way to all of them at once when it is released later this year, however.
Joe Belfiore, a vice president with Microsoft’s operating systems group, on Wednesday added a bit of detail to the company’s timeline for the upcoming version of its flagship product.
He didn’t specify a release date — Microsoft officials have only said Windows 10 is due this summer — but did clarify that the software is likely headed for its first release with a consumer-focused PC version. Some business-focused features, as well as versions for smartphones, Xboxes and other devices, may come at a later date.
“It’s a launch wave that starts in the summer with the PC and fills out over time as more devices come online,” Belfiore told reporters at an event on the sidelines of Microsoft’s Build developer conference here. “There are some features that we’ve talked about that won’t be there on launch date.”
There are a few reasons for the staggered model, Belfiore said.
Development for PCs got a head start. The desktop version of Microsoft’s most recent major Windows update, Windows 8.1, was released nine months before its smartphone-tailored cousin. Mobile operating systems also have to go through certification with wireless carriers.
Belfiore also said some features of Windows 10, including some tools for developers and information-technology managers at businesses, would come after the first release.
“Enterprises want that,” said Rob Sanfilippo, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland firm that advises businesses on use of Microsoft products.
“More baking time” in the hands of consumer users means less chance early bugs make it into versions they buy for employees, he said.
Preview versions of still-in-development Windows 10 have been available for download since October, with the company periodically releasing new builds with added features.
Executives have said Windows 10, delivered as it will be via a Web download rather than the boxed CD case of old, will allow for regular updates and improvements.
Microsoft has said it will offer free upgrades to the vast majority of individual Windows for the first year after the software’s release, and will keep those users current with the latest version of the software for the lifetime of the device.