Microsoft has today announced that it’s rebranding and redefining its Windows 10 Insider Preview channels that have been part of the program since 2014. Microsoft is rebranding the Fast and Slow rings as “Dev” and “Beta” channels respectively, aligning the purpose of each channel with the Office Insider Program in the process.
Fast Ring will now be known as the Dev Channel, and will be where Microsoft tests new features early. The builds that the Dev Channel receive will be rough around the edges, and not tied to any specific upcoming release of the operating system.
The Slow Ring is now known as the Beta Channel, and is where Insiders can get a look at the next version of Windows during development. Builds that are released to the Beta Channel will be a snapshot of features and work Microsoft is hoping to ship in the next release of WIndows 10, which happens in the spring and fall of each year.
Microsoft is also keeping around the Release Preview channel, which isn’t getting a rebrand. Release Preview will continue to be where Insiders can preview “production ready” app updates, security patches, and drivers on the shipping version of Windows 10 before general availablity.
We are transitioning and converting our current ring model, based on the frequency of builds, to a new channel model that pivots on the quality of builds and better supports parallel coding efforts. In addition to this change, Insiders will also find similar offering names and expectations across Windows and Office programs and soon Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams.
Rebranding the rings as channels will help align the Windows Insider Program with other Microsoft Insider Programs across the company. Microsoft wants to align the Office, Edge, and Teams Insider Programs alongside the Windows Insider Programs, and a great first step towards that goal is rebranding the Insider “rings” as channels.
Microsoft is also promising each channel will get new builds or updates frequently. The Slow ring was notorious for being “forgotten” about, frequently not being updated with new builds or features for months at a time. Hopefully, this will change now that the Beta Channel is replacing it.
What are your thoughts on the rebrand? Let us know in the comments.