Microsoft Edge is gaining the ability to read e-books aloud in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. Now, members of the Windows Insider early-access and feedback program can see, or rather listen to it, for themselves.
The company this week released Build 15025 for Windows 10 Mobile to insiders. Building on the new e-book functionality in the Edge browser, users can now go audible to consume literary content.
"Microsoft Edge will now read aloud your e-books just like on PCs," announced Dona Sarkar, a software engineer in Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group and head of the company's Windows Insider initiative.
"Just press the 'read aloud' button at the top-right corner after opening one of your e-books and listen to Microsoft Edge read you the book with focus on the line and the word being read along. This feature is also extended to all non-store EPUB files opened using Microsoft Edge."
Supported languages include English (U.S., Australia, etc.), French, Japanese and several others. The feature is being tested in anticipation of an e-book section Microsoft plans to add to its Windows Store app marketplace, matching similar offerings from Apple and Google.
Edge users on Windows 10 Mobile also will notice that emojis have been given a makeover. The browser ditches the monochrome emojis of old and now displays them in full color with updated designs.
In terms of audio, the mobile OS now includes a mono output option under its accessibility settings. The new option is intended to help visually impaired people who typically use a single earbud with screen-reading or other assistive technologies. The new mono audio option prevents them from missing out on sounds that are directed to another earpiece in a stereo setup, said Sarkar.
Build 15025 also includes a new Collections feature that makes gathering feedback a group effort. Instead of peppering Microsoft with individual critiques, Insiders can band together and use the new Collection groups in the Feedback Hub to get their collective concerns heard.
"All of your individual voices will be amplified when your feedback and upvotes are joined together into collections, and you'll be able to see just how big your voice can become," Sarkar said.
"Same as with individual feedback, you'll be able to upvote Collections, upload screenshots to show the engineering team a problem you're seeing or a suggestion you have, and comment on the feedback with others."
Underscoring the value of that feedback, build 15025 also contains a lengthy list of bug fixes and improvements.
Microsoft's coders were able to resolve an issue that was preventing the Outlook Mail and Calendar home screen tiles from updating until they were resized. The company also addressed a bug that prevented users from connecting to some Google sites after the search giant implemented new security protections.
The full list of fixes and known issues is available here.