Feeds

Microsoft: Next WinPhone 8 update to arrive this summer

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

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.