Feeds

Microsoft: Next WinPhone 8 update to arrive this summer

Won't be 'Blue,' but will include important features

Mobile application security vulnerability report

We still don't know for sure what changes will arrive in Windows 8.1, the big OS update that's expected to ship as a preview in late June, but Microsoft has begun teasing a few details of the next update to Windows Phone 8.

Windows group chief marketing and finance officer Tami Reller confirmed that the major desktop update formerly known as "Blue" would officially be called Windows 8.1 at a conference in New York on Tuesday, but she didn't have much to say about what it would actually bring.

But the Windows Phone group did have a bit to share, even if they only did so as a postscript to a blog post that was mostly about Nokia's newly announced Lumia 925 handset.

According to the post, the next Windows Phone 8 update will arrive "later this summer" and will include hundreds of "small quality improvements," in addition to a few significant new features.

All in all, Microsoft says that this update will be similar in size to the one that it delivered earlier this year, which fixed a random rebooting bug, improved Wi-Fi connectivity, and enhanced text messaging.

Among the new features this time around will be support for CardDAV and CalDAV, the internet standard protocols that allow handset users to sync their contacts and calendars with Gmail and Google Calendar. Windows Phone owners lost those capabilities earlier this year, when the Chocolate Factory discontinued its support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

The Xbox Music app will be spruced up, improving the accuracy of song metadata and making it easier for users to select, download, and pin songs.

Microsoft is extending support for the Data Sense feature, which monitors mobile data usage and blocks bandwidth-heavy tasks until the phone is on a Wi-Fi network – but whether it will work on a particular phone still depends partially on the carrier.

The update will also restore support for FM radio on handsets that have the hardware, something that was available on Windows Phone 7 but was inexplicably dropped from Windows Phone 8. "We heard you!" Microsoft writes, in what's becoming something of a theme.

The blog post didn't say exactly when to expect the update, other than that it would begin rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 handsets later this summer – which seems to indicate that it will be a free download.

According to Microsoft strategy snoop Mary Jo Foley, this will in fact be the second of three planned GDR (General Distribution Release) updates for Windows Phone 8, the third of which might be due to arrive as soon as this fall. Only after all three of these have shipped are we likely to see a Windows Phone Blue – actual version number as-yet unknown – probably sometime in 2014. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.