Microsoft has 'tailored' version of Windows 10 for phones, tablets

While Microsoft is going for a consistent software experience across all devices, it will have a specific version for devices with a screen size smaller than 8 inches.

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Microsoft will offer a version of Windows 10 specific to devices with a screen size smaller than 8 inches. Lynn La/CNET
Microsoft isn't leaving smartphones and tablets out when it comes to the upcoming Windows 10 operating system.

At an event in Seattle, the software titan said it would offer a tailored version of Windows 8 for devices with screen sizes that are below 8 inches, namely smartphones, jumbo phablets and smaller tablets.

"It's designed to go with your PC as a great companion," said Joe Belfiore, vice president of the operating systems group for Microsoft.

Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 10. The company is hoping the move to Windows 10 will provide a catalyst for interest in Windows-powered mobile devices, which has lagged far behind Google's Android and Apple's iOS. The company is pitching Windows 10 as a consistent experience across all devices, even if there is a specific version created for smaller gadgets.

For the first time, the mobile version of Windows 10 will be based on the same foundation as the larger tablet and desktop cousins.

The company earlier said that Windows 10 would come as a free upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 devices.

Belfiore showed off the emphasis on communication for smaller Windows 10 devices, including integration with Skype video and voice calling, as well as the ability to dictate messages anywhere there's a keyboard.

More importantly is Microsoft's pitch that the common foundation will spur developer interest as they build one app for multiple types of devices. Windows Phone still lags far behind the competition. Microsoft's app store has around 560,000 apps, the company says, including Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify. It does not, however, have apps like HBO Go, Lyft, "Clash of Clans" or Snapchat. Apple and Google both boast more than 1.2 million apps in their respective stores.

The biggest hurdle Microsoft faces with Windows Phone is market share. The OS runs on only 3 percent of the world's smartphones, making it a distant third its larger two rivals.

For real-time updates, follow the CNET live blog. And check out our full coverage of today's Windows 10 news.