Minor Windows Phone 8 Update Arriving Soon, No Major Changes Until 2014

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Windows Phone 8There’s a Windows Phone 8 update on the way, but it may not be quite what users are hoping for.

The update, referred to as General Distribution Release 2 (GDR2), is due to roll out shortly according to a special report from The Verge, but it contains only minor fixes rather than any major changes or new features. The updates include fixes to Xbox Music to reflect correct metadata, the addition of an FM radio, bringing the DataSense app to handsets that are on other networks besides Verizon (as it was previously exclusive), and the ability to set a default lens app for the camera. There are also HTML 5 improvements, “improved stability” for Skype and Lync, and Gmail CardDAV/CalDAV support.

Apparently, according to inside sources, Microsoft is simply trying to get the udpate out the door at this point, hence the minor changes. There will be a “feature pack” update sometime in the first half of next year, which will bring better enterprise options and VPN support. But the truly significant update, known as Windows Phone’s “Blue” update, is expected to arrive in early 2014. Some of the changes it will bring include a notification center, tweaks to built-in apps, and better multitasking, though some of the other changes planned for the Blue update may be pushed up and rolled out in a GDR3 update later this year.

The GDR3 update will have new features like a rotation lock option, but more importantly, it will also focus on bringing Windows Phone 8 handsets up to speed in terms of hardware support. For example, GDR3 is expected to include support for 5- to 6-inch screen phones with 1080p resolutions, as well as quad-core chipsets. Windows Phone 8 devices with this kind of hardware are expected to hit later this year, hence the timing of the release of the GDR3 update.

Initially, Microsoft intended to roll out updates for Windows Phone 8 with greater frequency, even mentioning an “enthusiasts” program last year for early access to updates, but nothing ever became of the idea. Though the idea was to “keep your phone fresher than ever before,” apparently delays and bugs with the GDR updates on certain handsets have slowed progress.

Source: The Verge

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