Interactive phone covers, new resolutions coming to Windows Phone 8.1 Update GDR1

Although web sites and reporters often spill the secrets of companies, the best-kept ones get published by the companies themselves. Case in point is the revelation that 'folders' are coming to Update 1 (aka GDR1) for Windows Phone 8.1, which was accidentally revealed by Microsoft's website. Details though have been scarce about the forthcoming update, including what it contains. Luckily, Microsoft's Dev Center is filling in the blanks as we reported yesterday.

On Microsoft's website, buried within the Dev Center are two pages dedicated to the minor OS update. One page is 'What's new in the documentation for Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1' and the other just 'Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1.' Now, details from those internal pages is starting to trickle out.

The information is for OEMs, who build Windows Phone hardware, and as such do not articulate too many consumer-facing features, but changes that are rather more technical. Still, there are quite a few things revealed hitherto unknown about GDR1, including:

  • Support for 1280 x 800 WXGA resolution
  • Diagonal screen sizes of 6.01" to 7" are now supported for the 1280 x 768 WXGA resolution
  • 540 x 960 native qHD resolution is now supported in addition to the ability to scale from HD or WVGA resolution to qHD
  • Diagonal screen sizes up to 6" and on phones that use the MSM8x12 applications processor now support 540 x 960 qHD resolution
  • Dual SIM – C + G radio type is now supported for dual SIM phones
  • Bluetooth – PAN (personal area network) 1.0 profile, aptX codec support for A2DP, and browsing support for AVRCP are now supported
  • Support for a Store live tile when the tile is medium-sized
  • The size of the Store tile has been standardized for all layouts and some tiles have changed places on the Start screen.
  • Support for folders.
  • Enable a phone cover app to launch when the phone cover is closed and specify the default setting for the lock screen's auto unlock setting.
  • Cortana – Add a phone book entry for Cortana to allow users to initiate speech from a car that doesn't have support for activating speech on the phone that is connected over Bluetooth.
  • Network Time Protocol support – Automatically set the time, using an NTP client, in a Windows Phone device that doesn't support NITZ or when cellular data is not available.
  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE) support
  • OEMs can implement a custom lock screen
  • OEMs can preload the Files app
  • Added a note that all Wi-Fi Sense settings must be on unless Microsoft executive approval has been granted for specific mobile operator requests.

That is a massive (and only partial) list of changes coming to Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1. Many of those enable manufacturers' flexibility on making phones while others are sure to benefit consumers e.g. PAN 1.0 for Bluetooth, VoLTE support, and other minor adjustments like the medium Store tile. The 1280 x 800 resolution is for new higher end Windows Phones with software buttons, instead of the physical capacitive keys. Up until now, software keys were limited to 800 x 480 type displays.

Interactive phone covers let manufactures develop cases for Windows Phones that when opened, unlock the display, enabling easier access to the phone. Likewise, when the phone case is closed, another action can be initiated with the configuration found under Settings. Android phones, specifically HTC's new One M8 already has a similar feature called the Dot View case.

The question remains what, if any, consumer facing new features besides Folders are present. Typically, GDR updates are under the hood fixes, adjustments and additions, and that appears to the case here, with a few new features as well. The Cortana addition for car use and those without a Bluetooth system though is certainly a very welcomed (and highly requested) feature.

We are sure to hear more about GDR1 for Windows Phone 8.1 in the near future. For now, bookmark our super page dedicated to GDR1 coverage:

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 – All you need to know

Source: Microsoft 1, 2; via NPU, WPCentral Forums;

Thanks, John K., for the tip!


Reader comments

Interactive phone covers, new resolutions coming to Windows Phone 8.1 Update GDR1



Who knows, MS usage of the word soon is becoming a bit of a joke. A dev preview of GDR1 however will restore a little of my confidence in WP, which has been taking a hammering over the past few months.

Current calls pass through 2G or 3G antennas whereas Voice over LTE makes them use the 4G network with a shorter connection time and HD voice support. Of course, this feature depends on your carrier.

No chance.  The phone has to have an LTE radio to start with (the 520/521 don't).  The carrier also needs to support it.  There may be additional hardware requirements as well, not sure on that point.  But there's no way a 521 will bhe able to support it, sorry.

Native video calling over LTE cellular. WP had so far only VoIP (voice over internet protocol. For exemple video calling on Skype over 3G/4G/WiFi)

I like WP the way it is now in terms of feature set. But I honestly dislike the UI. Not tiles and the whole concept of Modern design, but the very interface, graphics, transitions. It just feels clumsy, not polished.

Just many little things here and there that ruin positive impression... For me at least. And to tell you the truth, I used to like nearly everything about the OS in earlier versions of WP8, cause it was actually much more clean.

So I am eager to see the full change-list... Hope there will be something related to the UI.

@Kzchy-- sounds like WP just isn't for you then. Most of us like WP for the reasons you seem not too, especially all the new updates and soon to come updates. If you like 8.0 better than 8.1, you are in a VERY small minority! Maybe your just too accustomed to iPhone/Android? I dunno, just my thoughts.

Actually, I just pointed out that in terms of graphics, transitions etc. there are some glitches, it is not 95% smooth and clean on my Lumia 820. Some of the UI elements are poorly drawn.

For example, when you surf the app store you can notice that icons are often shown in low quality. Why is that? Sometimes when screen rotates there is an instant change of orientation without a transition. Why? I'm not the kind of person that is obsessed with all these new features, I only want a simple UI, polished and optimised OS that works good.

And don't tell me that WP isn't for me. That is up to me to decide.


Your comment is nonsensical. 

Many of the users that were originally drawn to Windows Phone were impressed with its slick and original UI design with a completely alternative focus on the user over the app centric Adroid/IOS world.

I'm sure many actually prefer 8.0 and even much of the purity and functionality in 7 even. While MS continues to adds good features to to make address gaps in the OS, it is doing so in a manner that is not inkeeping with the original idea of Windows Phone. Removing functionality is not the way forward, especially if it means breaking the ideas of integration and a 'get things done' mantra. 

The further we go the more our phones start to resemble Android. The hub idea is watered down and in some cases removed altogether. The simplicity and uselfulness of some features has been totally removed with no mention of their return or a return to the hub-centric ideas and integrated OS that pioneered the phone. The aesthetics is also suffering, being progressively dumbed down over each revision. By all means develop cortana, notification centres, folders and other enhancements but divergence in the OS is not the way WP should be headed.

Your arguement is completely backward - if anything the 8.1 update has driven the phones much closer to an app centric model such as that in Android. So much for innovation and creating a new way of looking at the smart phone. They just broke it all with 8.1.

They need to turn the notification center into an app like Battery Saver! So that it keeps getting new buttons!

Do you mean turn it into a carousel so that you can have more than 4 actions (swipe left/right to see more buttons)?

Or add apps to list of quick actions that you can set (like adding WPC as a button)?

I think it would be cool to have both those things...

That won't be bad.. I also don't why MS hasn't included the ability to assign static IP to Wi-Fi networks already. I seriously need that feature to connect to internet at work.

a carousel is an idea I tossed around in my mind.  Another option would be kind of like an android-ey 'toggle' button which you press and it brings up a grid of quick toggles to choose from.

Hopefully Windows Phones' smart covers will be more interactive than those for Android devices and it won't simply be a Glance-like feature.

Are you referring to tablets or phones? I don't see the benefit of using a BT keyboard on a Windows Phone device. How do you prop up the device to make this even comfortable to see the screen while typing on the theoretical keyboard?

I understand the want of a stylus however. I would never use one but it seems that it could be handy for someone.

Bluetooth keyboards from way back in wimo days had the stand for the phone built in, tactile response, no loss of screen real estate, every actually try and use word or anything on the phone? For those of us that used the old monsters and got all our work done efficiently, this good enough crap us just that, what's the point of having a 5 inch screen when 2.3inches is visible due to the on screen keyboard????

I've wondered the same thing. The cover on my Icon has a built-in kickstand which makes it very handy for when I want it.  Having a bluetooth keyboard (Lumsing) for my Icon would be kinda cool and make it easier to use Office, something that I don't have installed on my home pc. I understand that I can access Office online but it's pretty handy having on my phone, which I tend to use more often than my pc now.  It would be even better if it had the ability to charge your phone at the same time. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind having an XBox controller for it too since it's considered one of the top "gaming phones" on the market now. :P

A friend of mine showed me his Samsung Note 2 in a keyboard stand which also served as a charger I believe. He had it in his office next to his computer. It was really neat and very useful. Wouldn't mind getting support for that in WP.

Stylus button support? My N-Trig pen works with my Lumia. I would like to set button actions and have handwriting support in OneNote though.

USB Host ,WI-FI Direct with Bluetooth mouse and keyboard windows phone needs this to properly compete with android.

The cover protects your screen but part of it is transparent and touch-enabled so that you can have a quick access to essential information (time, weather, notifications, health tracker) and features (camera, favorite contacts, OneNote). Well I hope we'll have most of these possibilities.

Wish windows phone added a brightness slider. Low medium high isn't that great. Low isn't even that low compared to what the auto brightness can do..

Go to Settings > Display (near bottom) > Brightness Profile > Adjust

Should see 3 sliders. low, medium, high

thats not whats he's talking about.  he probably wants an easily accessoble slider in the action center.  its a great idea IMHO.

My Lumia 930 has slider for Display Settings, like Brightness and Color Profile. I don't have the pre set options like low, medium or high.

I have the Icon. There is no brightness slider. I never heard of windows phone having one. Also I wish we had a flashlight quick setting like iPhone has.

Flashlight? Really? Why not just pin it to your Start Screen, there's loads of apps that automatically turn the light on when launched that way.

Go into settings > Brightness. Turn off the auto adjust and slider pops up. Same on the Icon.

Auto brightness is way too low when you are using the phone in a dark place. The screen is almost unusable it is so dim, but then the Low setting is too bright for a completely dark room!

Medium is just useless, it is barely a notch above Low. Can't wait till I can customize these levels, come on Cyan!

I love that auto goes lower than "low" at night in my bed. For me, its perfect. Low is way too bright. Of course, options are a good thing and slider would only add to our options!

Yeah it's weird how different auto is from Low... Would be nice to have a slider indeed. Not a high priority though IMO.

agreed, lots of neat stuff here.

What i'd like to see is pen support on devices like the otherwise fabulous Lumia 1520.  The pen on the Samsung Note series is pretty great for note taking, etc.  I though it was a bit odd that the 1520 lauched without a stylus since WP 8.x should support pens right out of the box, being the same OS kernel as Windows 8 and all.

Even though it is the shared Windows core behind it all since WP8, Windows Phone's OS is designed to be very modular, you add stuff to it. Windows RT is the type of model is you take away stuff, this was easy for Microsoft, but it was at the expense of it running slower and not being as efficent with hardware resources. So they still have to add the tie the support in.

With Threshold though, this should be less of a problem. Most of everything of Windows RT should make it over to the new unified OS for ARM, hopefully..

Bluetooth File Transfer doesn't work well for non-image files. Tried sending music+files and it only lets you open the file. Can't save it. Doesn't save to any folders in the 'File' explorer app either. Hopefully that changes.

I thought aptX support was coming to all Windows Phone 8 (Lumia devices) with Lumia Denim update.

www (dot) microsoft (dot) com/en-us/mobile/support/faq/?action=singleTopic&topic=FA143077

If you are on Cyan I don't expect any updates for Bluetooth 4.1 anytime soon so there shouldn't be problems.

Hmmm... All these updates make me wonder how they're going to do threshold. Windows 8 and WP8 are pretty mismatched for features and they're adding more differences now if this list is anything true.

Most of this is teleophony tech that always needs to be different from a desktop OS. Core aspects of the OS, including UI and service support are coming closer together.

A phone if kept innovatively customizable den its fine. But regarding a pc we all know innovation is the key but due to some old fashion users it hurts the business.windows 8 os was like a revolution mostly in UI but still ppl don't want to learn or have new things.

Agreed. Most people always ask for something new after every update, and yes, Windows 8 is totally new, and fast, and stable... then most people complain about too many thing new? The only thing I don't like about Windows 8 is that it looks like a mixture, not a combination, of Metro and Desktop. Something like 2 separate OSes running alongside each other. :/ Just my opinion.

I'm of the opposite opinion. I like the dual personality. And imagine the uproar if they had launched Win 8 and couldn't run legacy apps? Or allow users to have the desktop, which is familiar to them.

My husband is techno-illiterate. He's had Win 8 for over a year and his computer looks like Win XP. He just got a WP a few weeks ago and he finally gets it. He's using Win 8 start screen, metro apps, and OneDrive more and more. WP forced him to learn something new (oh, like it's hard?) and the similarities between WP and Win 8 metro, plus the synced files and apps (Bing apps) made that easier.

My own experience was that I got my WP before being able to upgrade my laptop to Win 8. When I did the upgrade, I was familiar with live tiles and the UI and embraced it completely.

So maybe the key to Win 8 adoption is WP. Budget-priced phones could help with that. Unfortunately, if Threshold looks like the previews we've seen - a mutation between XP and Win 8 - it's going to look less and less like WP. And that is a step backward.

No, my point is not that what you think. I like Metro, and I like desktop, too. I'm not opposite to that dual style, but Windows 8 is not the way it should be combined. Almost everything is separated: Separate apps, separate environments and even separate settings. That's why I called it a "mixture". That's my point.

As a Windows 8 user (and WP8), I want the OS to have a unified feel throughout the whole OS. I feel the present duality as somewhat jarring but I also recognize that it is necessary to bridge people from W7/XP into W8. But I hope once W8 becomes widely accepted, the OS will completely transistion to Metro.

Metro and legacy desktop MUST coexist for the PC. It is important to realize that although consumer devices like phones and tablets are on the rise, the legacy desktop is still more suited to intense high level productivity. Dense layouts and tiny icons that need a mouse have their home in CAD and many other productivity tools - I can't imagine using the metro style interface for that! To me the so called dual OS is just fine - when I use win 8 across my 3 monitors its just beautiful! Desktop and metro side by side!
MS should maintain the dual OS in my opinion!

I'm with you Kaymd. I just finished building several diagrams in Visio. There's no way that gets done with the touch-friendly/truncated-functionality interface.

Even now, I prefer the desktop Skype to the metro Skype app. And email? There is no way I'm giving up full-featured Outlook desktop for the metro mail app.

And yet, I love my start screen. LOL

Well, I have to disagree. Partly. While W8 wasn't as bad as most people said, it definitely was not well optimised for desktop use. Sure, its not impossible to use it with a mouse, but your cursor has to travel quite long distances because of the big tiles and the charms to reach certain features.

8.1 with small/medium/large tiles. I suppose I could have emulated the start screen in earlier versions by splattering icons across the desktop, but they get lost amongst all those other icons...

Actually, under the hood windows 8 is finner "tuned" then windows 7. Yes, it is a huge UI change though

Telephony tech that needed to be implemented. Half of these connectible cars require Bluetooth tethering, AFAIK. I haven't seen any cars that connect via WiFi while I'm waiting at the Acura dealer for maintenance or at the other dealer next door.
NTP support was something I used on my Trophy with a custom ROM and something I used on the Odyssey, because the time from VZW was usually minutes off compared to NIST.gov.

I hope the UI is coming together because currently if you pick up a Windows tablet, the UX is completely different than on a WP. It seems that the only think we share is the tiles. The setting page don't resemble each other. Pick up an iPhone and you'll pretty much know how to use an iPad in minutes. This isn't the case with Windows at all.

They're not combining UI elements particularly. It's more about a merge of APIs and Stores.

Well, I guess the same as you do in w8. With that pinch to zoom gesture you could get through all your groups within seconds.

And the age of the mouthwatering has begun once again... Are thou not tired of playing this game :P

It is indeed a weary path we tread my friend, but as long as our clan travels together, we can forge on ahead in these perilous times.

We are in the minority. There are many users (of all OSs) out there who are clueless that changes are coming to a phone near them.

So while we crave what we know is coming, we can feel a little bit smug around the techno-ignorant and chant to ourselves, "I know something you don't know."

Development is always iterative. Imagine how long it would have taken for them to bring a phone to market if they had endeavored to pack absolutely everything into that first product. We'd still be waiting.

+925! The motto of our clan should simply be: Knowledge is power lol.. Only to keep up with the Game of Phones theme

I love hearing about new updates but its always a little frustrating to read on what's to come when the latest isn't here..... Don't get me wrong I love hearing it cuz I know what to expect and can let those know who are think of switching, but since updates are not always timely it wouldn't be the most timely advice. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying

Yes but most want the latest release to be stable which it seems 8.1 was not due to changes in how the hardware was managed by low level drivers/firmware

It is only expected. 8.1 added a lot of features, and as far as I can tell that far outweighed the little instability, at least for me. I'll rather live on the bleeding edge than worry about little things like dimming lights and such.

Yea like the cyan update, yes its only for Lumia's but the majority of Windows are Lumia's. Soooo.... But like I said before I'd not really a problem just a small personal nuisance

If cover for your phone can unlock, I see no point in having the lock in first place. Unless of course you meet a polite thief who will take your phone out of the cover first ;)

Surely this is just the same feature as calls? The sensor turns off the screen when next to your head. This is basic? No?

Great! I'm hoping for some performance improvements. I also can't wait for good folder support! :)

Or it could be a way for them to provide an OEM-specific live lock screen (optional, just like they can already provide an OEM-specific accent colour).

More hopefully, it means we might get some new 'flagship' devices with the update too.
Other OEMs, I'm looking at you. And Nokia, so basically all of you.
I'm watching....

I welcome that feature, it's good to have similar features with the other OS. It makes it easier to people to switch.

And what changes does this bring to normal WP users that have their phones now? Btw is there any chance to get an update for a huawei windows phone ...? That firmware has not been updated since it was released, afaik. Aaaaand so it would be interesting which of the possible features Microsoft enables by default cause huawei won't change anything about that/enable anything D:

use the update available in PDP (Preview for Developers Program) to get chances of getting the latest update for Huawei Windows Phone. :)

Yes I do know this (and did this) but I wonder if there will be an official solution by huawei ... Never buy a huaweu windows phone!!!!

"some tiles have changed place on the start screen" - what does that mean? :/
And sorry if i sound stupid but what does support for new resolutions actually mean? :/

When you reset phone, certain apps show up in certain places. Now then you reset those places may have changed with addition of Cortana and battery sense and what not

Ooh, that makes sense now. And can anybody explain it to me abt the new resolution support thing?

It just means that new resolutions are supported. There are specific resolutions required to support on-screen buttons, and previously they only existed for a couple of screen ratios.

It doesn't work when not in call, plus it works when you cover the sensor with anything, be with hand or anything, now you don't want that while playing landscape mode games, where your hands will be covering it, now you don't want that do you?! So it will work in a different way.

Not really I have stayed with 1520 for just two months and it's already looking small. I am not kidding.... I don't know whether I can survive with a phone less than 6" now!

God damn, really? I have a Lumia 520 and I'm perfectly fine with it's size, and it's a "small" phone by today's standards.

I did play with a Lumia 1520 at a Microsoft store and god damn it's massive. I wouldn't e able to carry one of those around, It's just too big for my liking. But each to their own.

Remember that Microsoft's intent is to unify the computer/tablet/phone OSs. Makes sense to augment phablet support in the WP OS.

When Apple announces iPhone telephony features in an iPad, we'll be ready with a Surface solution. ;-)

I agree. I have the Nokia Lumia 1520 and while I love it, I have to say that this is a maximum size of a phone I can get. What I liked about smaller phones like my previous 925 was that I can use one hand to type a text message or open an app. With the Lumia 1520, that requires two hands (unless you are shaquille o'neal).

Lol, can't do anything with mine without holding with both hands, I wish there was a smaller version probably 5" or 5.5".

I use my 1520 mostly with one hand, word flow assists me with words whose letters are in far left...the only letter I find difficult to hit is Q , the good thing is that Q is rarely used.... 6" looks normal to me after 2months with 1520

That is not the point....fact is WP is still lacking. All these updates are hole fillings that should of been around quite a while ago.

Been using WP for 3, almost 4 years and the only "big" upgrades I'm experiencing now is the USA-only Cortana and the new keyboard which trumps both competition. Notification Center is a downgrade over Live Tiles (for me at least) and I never use it.

Not many stand out features in 4 years I would say. 

I think you're repling to me in the wrong thread, lol

I do have to agree with you on that though. I've been using WP since NoDo and it really has felt behind the competition until just recently. Most of the 8.1 additions I don't even use, like the Start wallpapers and other assorted things. I only really use the Notfication Center (although only for my Email since I leave my phone on my desk a lot of the time, and while I'm working I don't always have time to glance over to it to see what notfication came in, and there are some apps I don't have pinned to my Start screen so they don't have a live tile) and Cortana, which I only use for reminders (the location based reminders are awesome). As for the keyboard, I prefer using it "the old way" It's just what I'm used to and I doubt I'd ever change my ways. It was still a fantastic keyboard before 8.1 anyways

But yeah, we haven't seen much in 4 years. I wish Microsoft would inovate in areas that Google and Apple haven't, instead of playing catch up all the time.

They did innovate with the whole zune like concept, hubs, landscape scolling and integrated features within the OS. It's a pity they didn;t have the balls to see it through and have now caved in to pressure of competition. While they were missing key features, they have killed their soul in playing catch up and lost the most innovative elements they had over the competition in the process.   


This is EXACTLY what I've thought about WIndows Phone 8.1. While I still like it and the new features like the notification center and Cortana are nice, chaning other things to make it appeal more to iOS & Android customers really make it less awesome than it used to be. I miss the hubs concept, and how the signal strngth, Wi-Fi and other stuff would hide when you didn't need it. That's what made me fall in love with Windows Phone 7 in the first place. I hope they bring some of it back, but I doubt it.

Don't get me wrong, I'll always be a WP customer until it dies or I die, but it just don't feel as....*struggling to find a word here*....different than it used to.

Tired, broken record. Google isn't developing anything for WP anytime soon. If you think you can change their mind, go for it, bit it didn't do any good complaining over here. If you need Google, that badly, then WP is honestly not going to work for you. That is, unless you enjoy announcing your disappointment that there's no Google services.

I, for one, don't need them to function.

Bing + Cortana + Hotmail/Outlook + OneDrive, they are more than enough that I need in my phone.