Today, @evleaks posted an information on Twitter about an upcoming Nokia Windows Phone 8.1 devices. This device is codenamed ‘Martini’ and it will run on Window Phone Blue.
The handset is another in the line of Bond-themed devices, with the Goldfinger being another to still arrive.
Nokia didn’t announce any new handsets at MWC, clearly they are waiting for Microsoft to reveal Windows Phone 8.1 first. Microsoft is expected to reveal Windows Phone 8.1 at their upcoming BUILD developers conference and Nokia is expected to follow them to announce Windows Phone 8.1 based handsets in April.
Are you waiting for Nokia to announce its next flagship device?
It seems we will not have to wait too long before the next major update to Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8.1, hits the market.
According to reliable Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to RTM just before BUILD 2014, which starts on the 2nd April, and from her own sources she expects the software to reach consumers later in April.
Developers will likely have early access, and we can only hope Microsoft will continue their early developer preview program, which has allowed any interested Windows Phone user to get early access to GDR3 recently.
Mary Jo Foley has also heard from her sources that efforts to bring Windows Phone and Windows 8 closer has been put on the back burner for now, in preference to improving the desktop experience on Windows 8 and make it more suitable for business.
Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to include a notification centre and a new voice assistant, amongst other updates.
Read more at ZDNet here.
WinPhoneViet has been sent some more leaked screen shots. We can of course not vouch for the veracity of the pictures, but they look authentic enough.
The Kids Corner one appears to suggest that users will be able to switch off the password required to access Kids Corner, which would be useful, as the current implementation requires one to unlock one’s handset before a child could get access to Kids Corner, which does rather make a joke of the implementation.
WinPhoneViet’s source also states that Windows Phone 8.1 will feature new hard button functionality:
Long Start = CORTANA (voice assistant)
double Start = What is going on in area ?!
double Back = ends current app
We will have to wait and see which of these features will eventually end up in the final build of the software, but at the very least it seems Windows Phone 8.1 will have many more features than the .1 update label suggests.
The Verge reports that Microsoft is hard at work on Windows Phone Blue, with the major Windows Phone OS update slated for early 2014.
According to their sources the update will include a notification centre, improved multitasking, and changes to built-in apps.
GDR 3 is also on track for the holiday season, bringing quad-core processor and 1080P screen resolution support.
The Verge claims some Windows Phone Blue features, such as a rotation lock, may be back ported to GDR 3, so the software may deliver a bit more than we expect.
They also claim Microsoft had initially planned more frequent updates for Windows Phone 8, but ”delays in testing new chipsets and bugs in some of the GDR updates have slowed down feature additions “ with the Verge citing one update gone wrong which resulted in “affect(ing) the way a handset is identified on a network” and that “Microsoft had a hard time fixing this particular problem, resulting in delays to other planned work.”
Microsoft has already pre-announced an enterprise feature pack which will bring elements such as VPN and email signing and encryption for the first half of 2014, and it is likely the update will be part of Windows Phone 8.1/Blue.
Do our readers think Microsoft could do better developing Windows Phone, or are we underestimating the size of the task of single-handedly supporting so many models of handsets? Let us know below.
We’ve had a massive leak yesterday of Windows Phone 8.1 screen shots, and we now understand the handset has been retrieved by Microsoft, meaning we will not be hearing anything for a while.
One of the stand-out items however was the Windows Phone 8.1 notification centre, reached via a Live Tile.
The Verge’s Tom Warren claims from sources that while the whole leak was genuine, the current implementation of the Notification Centre has been dropped, giving us a look at just a snapshot of the development process, but not an indication of the final product.
The screen shots are however still interesting. Above in the first image we have the notification centre, which groups notifications by app, and also it seems allows one to delete the notifications.
The next shot, not shown in our collection yesterday, shows a settings pane which would allow users to select which apps can raise notifications, making the whole process a bit more sophisticated. In the last screen it shows this list also included notifications from the system itself.
While the implementation certainly appeared functional, many of our readers were unhappy with the it, as it would require users to return to the start screen and hunt for the tile. We unfortunately do not know if the whole concept of a notification centre was dropped, or merely the last implementation. The leak has however shown the development process is quite far along, suggesting Blue by the end of the year is certainly possible.
|Notifications are opened from a Live Tile
||New Calendar week view
According to the Verge a Reddit user have purchased a Nokia Lumia 920 from eBay which has a new build of Windows Phone, possible Blue, with a variety of new features.
The OS has a build name of (wpbldlab).20130509-1407 and is supposed to have been compiled on the 9th May.
The screen shots demonstrate features such as a notification centre, the ability to close apps from the multi-tasking screen, NFC wallets, a calendar week view and much more.
Full list of noticeably new features include:
- Notification Centre icon and app
- Calendar Live Tile changes
- Calendar Week View
- New ?paging icon and new position for search icon and app list
- Sort App list by Name or Frequency of use.
- New Geofencing APIs
- Call and SMS filter (?call blocking) app.
- New Twitter and Facebook Blue apps
- Nokia Here Drive + Beta Blue version.
- Wallet Integration with BNP Paribas
There are some aspects of the screen shots which look very real, and some which looks pretty fake.
I am however leaning to real. See the screen shots after the break.
Justin Angel has been dissecting leaked images of Windows 8.1, including the RT version of the OS, which shares much communality with Windows Phone, and which in the next version of Windows Phone is expected to present a near identical API surface and environment to developers.
A Microsoft Job posting from February for example states the Windows Phone team is…
leading the charge to bring much of the WinRT API surface and the .NET Windows Store profile to the Phone.
There is therefore good reason to believe the new features of Windows RT will also be coming to Windows Phone Blue.
According to Justin Angel this will include support for Bluetooth 4, via RFComm and and Bluetooth Low Energy via the GATT profile.
Windows RT will then support a wide range of accessories, such as heart rate meters, blood glucose monitors, activity monitors and an increasing range of sensors.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has been handed a roadmap for Microsoft’s Office suite.
Most of it is not relevant to Windows Phone, relating to the desktop and Windows RT apps.
What is of note though is that the first mention of a Windows Phone update is only in April 2014, suggesting Office for the next version of Windows Phone will be similar to the current one, much like Office for Windows Phone 8 is very similar to Office for Windows Phone 7.
See the roadmap below.
Gemini Wave 1.0 (October 2013): Windows Blue app updates
Gemini Wave 1.5 (April 2014): Office for Mac; Office RT refresh; Perceptive Pixel support; Windows Phone support refresh
Gemini Wave 2.0 (October 2014): Outlook RT; Office for iOS/Android
Previous job posts have however suggested we will see touch improvements for Excel for Windows Phone, but I suspect we will not see much more until next year.
Read more at ZDNet here.
SPDY is a Google-developed technology designed to reduce web page load time. This is achieved by prioritizing and multiplexing the transfer of web page subresources so that only one connection per client is required. Moreover, servers may hint or even push content instead of awaiting individual requests for each resource of a web page.
Readers may have noticed for example that this website loads a lot faster on Chrome than IE10, due to our site implementing SDPY.
The good news is that Microsoft is doing everything it can to keep their speed crown, and from dissection of the leaked Windows Blue build it seems, with WebGL, Microsoft will also be implementing SPDY support.
With Windows 8 and Windows Phone using the same components it is highly likely the same support will also come to Windows Phone.
In other good news for IE, Google is forking webkit to create their own Blink rendering engine, putting an effective end to the argument that everyone should use Webkit.
In fact on the Chromium blog Google says:
… we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.
Hopefully this means much less reliance of –webkit tags and more coding to standards by web developers.
In a post on Technet Microsoft has been bragging a bit about Windows Phone.
They noted that, according to the IDC, who measures shipped numbers, more Windows Phones were shipped into 7 markets than iPhones and more than Blackberry in 26 markets.
They also noted that Windows Phone has reached the crucial 10% market share in “a number of countries” , though were less specific about how many there were.
They also made some forward-looking statements, saying that "’Microsoft are working together on plans to advance our devices and services, a set of plans referred to internally as “Blue.” ‘
“Our product groups are also taking a unified planning approach so people get what they want – all of their devices, apps and services working together wherever they are and for whatever they are doing.”
“This continuous development cycle is the new normal across Microsoft – we’ll tune everyday experiences as well as introduce bold, connected and exciting new scenarios. “
Hopefully this means we can expect consistent and integrated features and experiences coming to all Microsoft’s products, including Windows Phone soon.
Read the full post at Technet here.
Windows Blue has cribbed a lot from Windows Phone, including the new smaller Live Tiles . Here is a feature from Windows Blue which needs to come to Windows Phone ASAP.
WPCentral reports that one of the newly leaked features from Windows Blue is Quiet Hours, which blocks notifications from buzzing your device between the specified times, be it overnight or during the morning meeting.
The feature would be incredibly useful in Windows Phone, allowing users who sleep with their phone next to their bed (which would be most of us) to have more apps with notifications without worrying about being disturbed at night.
Of course we don’t know what will end up in Windows Phone Blue, but we certainly hope this feature makes the cut.
There has been some controversy about the time scales for the next major release for Windows Phone and its counterpart for Windows 8.
According to Mary Jo Foley Windows Phone Blue will come after the Windows 8 release, which according to rumours is set to be released this summer.
Now a job posting by Microsoft for a Software Development Engineer in Test has confirmed that Microsoft is targeting the Holidays for the next major release, the usual pattern for the Windows Phone team.
The relevant excerpt says:
This is a great time to join as we’re completing our current release are getting ready for our next release targeting the holiday of this year and we’re chartered with keeping the momentum for Windows Phone by bringing new killer devices and delightful user experiences.
Again according to Mary Jo Foley we can expect two minor updates, the so-called GDR2 and GDR3 releases of Windows Phone to hit before this, likely providing some desperately needed bug fixes.
The real message is that the Windows Phone team is still following their yearly cycle, somewhat independently of the Windows desktop team, despite both using the same components these days. Of course on this occasion we have been reassured by Greg Sullivan that our current Windows Phone 8 devices will get these updates. Maybe Microsoft will finally get that “beta program for enthusiasts” rolling.
With the next major release around 8-9 months away, it seems likely features like 1080p screen support will likely have to wait till then. The interesting question is if Nokia will release high end Windows Phones before Microsoft releases the next major update, or as seems likely we will have to wait for the next major release for the holidays also.
Mary Jo Foley, who is pretty reliable, has some information to share about the coming updates to Windows Phone 8.
She reveals that Portico was the first GDR ( General Distribution Release), which is the name for an update that will be pushed out commercially.
After that there will be GDR 2, which was recently revealed by the leaked HTC Tiara, and which should be done in the next couple of months so that it can be preloaded on new Windows Phones coming this spring/summer.
After that will be GDR 3, and finally after that Windows Phone Blue.
Of Windows Phone Blue MJF writes:
Windows Phone Blue is the Windows Phone OS update designed to bring the Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 app models and developer platforms more into sync. Supposedly the Windows Blue update includes new programming interfaces, kernel updates and some user interface enhancements (though nothing too major on the UI front, I’ve heard).
This update is set to arrive on Windows 8 and RT tablets before it will hit phones, and may go into beta this summer on those devices.
We do not know what the updates will bring, but we do know from job postings Windows Phone Blue will bring updated apps, while the GDR releases will likely be small features and bug fixes.
MJF reports that Greg Sullivan, head of Windows Phone, has reassured users that all these updates will be coming to all Windows Phone 8 handsets.