Windows Phone Blue
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Report: Microsoft and Nokia continue to test Windows Phone 8.1 internally

Microsoft and Nokia are actively testing Windows Phone 8.1, according to Nawzil. The two companies are running FB Pages Manager. Should you not familiar with the name, it essentially enables you to manage your Facebook profiles while on the move. What's interesting is the analytics behind the app, reporting on hardware running multiple builds of Windows Phone 8.1 (aka. Blue).

We've previously looked at Windows Phone 8.1 being internally tested by Microsoft and Nokia, reported by Paul Thurrott, but this data shows solid evidence of said tests being carried out. Both editions of FP Pages Manager (free and commercial) have been used on Windows Phone 8.1, with the following screenshot showing multiple versions of the OS:

WP 8.1 FB Pages Manager

According to the full analytics report, FB Pages Manager has been downloaded more than 80,000 times and has more than 30,000 monthly active users. Nawzil notes that these employees may well be using the apps to manage respective social profiles. 

Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to be announced early in 2014 to go alongside some new hardware from partners. It makes sense for the next major release of Windows Phone to be in active testing. Details are still scarce on what we'll be looking to see in 8.1, but a new Notification Center, ‘Cortana’ voice assistant, app-list sorting, actionable-notifications and other new features are reportedly on the list of major new additions.

Source: Twitter (@Nawzil)

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Reader comments

Report: Microsoft and Nokia continue to test Windows Phone 8.1 internally

226 Comments

I'm thinking we shouldn't have to wait for carriers, I mean look at the IOS7 release, no carries involved and most people updated within the week of the release and not months later.

iPhone 4 probably shouldn't have been updated at all, take a look at the hardware inside it (it's 3 years old).

Like every other iOS release before it, designed to kill 2 yr+ hardware and force you into feeling you need to buy a new iDevice.

That is why I left Apple world, because of that.  I would of rathered they not try to update at all than kill the performance.

I know a few people who are still on iOS4 and iOS5 just for that reason. It's ridiculous, they release a phone and it's the best thing since sliced bread, so many innovations, faster, thinner, better and all that jazz in their marketing. Then a year later they release an update that makes it slow as mollases and feel outdated. You have to give Apple credit, it's a wonderful strategy and the fact most people happily and blindly update amazes me. Kudos to you for seeing through them and moving to WP where updates actually improve our devices and don't impact their speed (not that they could get any faster!). Hell even Android are working on making their phones faster (not that they could get slower).

Apple is playing a different ballgame. They can use the popularity of the iPhone coupled with amazing customer service as leverage. The last thing a wireless carrier wants is to be inundated with calls after an update. At present they just say "call Apple" and the customer will be taken care of. MS and Nokia do not have that level of support currently.

Sort of. Although I see people in AT&T (and other carriers) supporting iPhone customers quite often. It's more along the lines of "consumers want this thing and Apple has us backed into a corner, so we have to support it and do what they say whether we like it or not." While I normally criticize Apple for running roughshod over others like that, the carriers kinda had this coming to them. I feel just a little bit of vindication seeing them being dictated to, as opposed to how it usually is with carriers telling consumers, vendors, and just about everybody else in the industry how things are going to be.

ALJFAKLSFKLJLKDJF JUST LET ME TEST IT OUT ON MY PHONE ALREADY!  Or at least give us some more official info :(

I hope they test the shiznit out if it because new features don't mean a thang if they ain't got that swang❕

I totaly agree. That would be awesome, all windows phone devices updated without warning, on december 25th.
Imagine the scene: You wake up on christmas morning, check your phone for the time, and "An update is available: Windows Phone 8.1". That would be sooo cool :D

Dezember 25th would be the ultimate proof of Microsoft considering America to be the center of the world.

Here in Germany, the update would need to come on the 24th and for most people sometime in the evening.

 

Anyway, how is "software company tests new software updates before rolling them out" news worthy? Microsoft isn't called Activision or Ubisoft.

Yeah I'm waiting for the "next Gen" of phones for sure. I truly love my 920. The red, weight, screen is just beautiful.

Ha I've had my 920 for a year, it's still great but I want a new toy. Might jump if a UK version of the rumoured 929 comes soon.

I believe they aren't allowed to change how they work together based on the possibility of a merger. Doesn't mean they have to STOP working together in the ways they have been for years.

Hmm I hope not.. If they are I'm sure Samsung is already porting over the innovative features to their android phones!

What... This doesn't even make the slightest bit of sense... Testing would have absolutely nothing to do with stealing ideas. And anyways, 8.1 is in a lot of ways playing catch up with some features of android and iOS. windows phone already has some stuff that's better, but they're also missing things the others have. 8.1 is about removing the feature differences, doing some things better, and letting windows phone's awesome features further stand out.

Even if it was supposed to implement something truly innovative and different that had never been remotely done before, testing would still have absolutely no bearing on whether Samsung was able to "copy" it.

Nailed it.

It is actually amazing if they really have been in testing mode, seeing as how they wont release it till Q1 2014 that is a lot of testing time, assuming all features have been finalized/implemented that first release of WP 8.1 should be very solid/stable.

While I don't think the comment you commented on made much sense, yours didn't either. How does Samsung testing it mean they cannot steal ideas? They see what it does during testing, like something and put it into TouchMyWiz. But on the whole Samsung are going a very different route with Android and I don't see them taking anything from WP and putting it into their Android phones.

In addition to those things mentioned in the article, I hope for an Xbox Music upgrade, preferably with optional Facebook integration. Add a simple kind of file explorer, and with Update 3 (which my phone is running) and I'm happy. :)

This is partly due to game developers. There are a few games out there that have their own controls for volume level, which means any developer can do it if they want.

Wat if you were listening to music at full volume because your song is originally low-volume, and suddenly your phone is very lpid because it just started ringing.. U will have to reduce the volume before going anywhere otherwise you'll get looks.

Just give me an option to disable "search" and "back" buttons and ill be happy. Frustrating when gaming! /// A wish for the upcoming update

I agree, the option would be fantastic! Especially for games that have to go through the loading screen everytime you accidently hit back!

It would be awesome to get 8.1 early for us "developers" like we did with the update 3 a few weeks ago. I'm not scared to have test release on my phone.

They're going to do this, it's just not even close to being finished.

Right now 8.1 is probably barely usable.

Either that, or they don't want to give the competition any ideas.

I'm not even a developer and I'm not afraid; I update my device to GDR3 as soon as the OTA was released and will do it again.

8.1 is much further along than you think, MS's new thing is being very hush hush on software and releases.

None of us know. But Update 3 was released because Nokia are releasing new phones with it. There's no way MS will release 8.1 to testing until there's new hardware running it. They need it to come out with a bang, not slowly test features on existing hardware.

Yes, that is exactly what I was talking about in another comment above. I would not doubt it if all features have been finalized already by different groups, and now its just bringing it together (they do this with windows) so its just vigorous testing from now on, Which is why Nokia is already seeing some of these releases and testing them. I do not believe MS would show Nokia earlier code than a Technical Preview, which is a stage a tad bit ahead of Beta usually keeping some parts of the software in Beta but most features are designed, coded and tested through. All that is needed form there is vigorous functionality testing of those features.

I'm waiting for the successor of the 1020, hopefully around Summer and sporting a 1080p screen and quad-core. 'Til then I'll hold onto my 920. 

I'm truly looking forward to Cortana and notifications. Better Bing results would be nice too. They're often old and irrelevant. More clarity in results and IE not clipping pictures in articles would be very nice indeed.

Eearly 2014 = Announcing it in March that it will be in beta until July at which time it will RTM by August and ready for official release September 28th ...along side Windows 9 and branded as Windows Phone 9

Yes. But some features may be absent if they need spacial hardware that current phones don't have. Just a possibility, no one knows right now.

Windows phone is actually receiving updates more quickly than either of the other big two. Android has had two updates I think? 4.3 and 4.4, while iOS has had one, to iOS7, in the time that we have gone from 7 to 8 to GDR1,2,3. The only reason it seems so slow is because we were far behind in feature parity to begin with.

What period of time are you talking about? From the release of WP8? 

When WP8 was released iOS had a big update just a month earlier with about 5 minor (eg GDR type updates) until receiving a major update with iOS7.

Android say 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 all release in that time.

Released, but so few people have actually received it. I'd say despite the fact it's still on the 4 release Google have put more into Android than Apple with iOS 7 which is really more skinning than new features. Not sure why Google do point releases for Android whereas Chrome gets a new major release every second week; but i've given up trying to understand Google.

WP was supposedly way behind feature wise, but 8 and the 3 GDRs have put it in a place where it is highly competitive with the big two. Sure there's a lot of features people want that haven't made it yet, but nothing that stops people from enjoying their phones. Let's hope 8.1 fills all the gaps, if it does then I think we will all forgive MS this relative slowness.

This makes me wonder if I should hold out on buying 1520, and wait for other hardware? My 920 is still strong. Any one else having the same thoughts?

I too have a 920 and I went to AT&T to play with the 1520. While I think a phone that large is absolutely ridiculous, I couldn't help but smile and have a great time while messing around with it. Its a really great device and I'll have a tough time fighting off the urge to buy it.

The 1520 and the ever so rumored but not announced 929 should be a no brained. Honestly, the hardware will not get any better over the next few months. They will certainly get all the 8.1 goodies. I say buy if you like them, no worries.

Qualcomm won't be releasing S800 successor until at least June. Then it would take longer to be implemented. I wouldn't wait if you were looking to buy one. I'm holding on to my 928 for another year though.

Thanks for your input guys, I will be waiting for an international version in any case, I guess I'm one of the strange ones who really want wireless charging without the shell.

I can't wait, but I wish this update would come sooner.  It would be nice to get it around the holidays rather than some time early next year.

Well, it seems I won't get black until early next year either. Nokia Sweden refuses to give any kind of information about release dates for unlocked, non-branded phones. Since its not going through the provider we should get it first hand :(

isnt black included on the 1520??? which is set to be released on November 22nd, why are we thinking it wont be out till 2014?

Notifications center. Universal search. Fully featured music player with playlist creation and customization, better call log system, smart dialing, file explorer system, better multitasking and management of background tasks, better power management system, transparent tiles, support to change background image in start screen and app list, make live tiles even more LIVE, multiple volume control system instead of universal, support to side load apps (long shot), better PC sync software (tho not wp8.1 related), music player change Bluetooth name from phone, better Facebook messages sync across devices, better everything!!!! They batter be working on all this and much much more for wp8.1

Agree with everything and add Instagram integration in the same way Facebook, Twitter, etc. are integrated.

Stated like someone that wasn't using Windows 8 and now uses Windows 8.1. I wouldn't be surprised if that list is just the start.

+ multiple attachments in emails
+ games saves backup
+ battery percentage at the status bar
+ quick settings
+ bed time mode

+....

I agree with everything except adding backgrounds to the start screen....that would be pretty ugly imo

Who here actually think this is not true? I mean its not liek MS is NOT testing Windows 8.1......

yes for sure both of these are in development right now, 8.1 is much further along than most think.

Isn't this post kind of obvious? Just like Apple would test new versions of iOS internally, as would Google with Android?

Yes, it is incredibly obvious. It's only news because WP8 users (myself included) are starved out of their minds for any sort of news for the long awaited big update to the platform.

Hey Rich! Any word on improvements to perhaps the truly biggest issue with Windows Phone 8- syncing our phones with the computer? I mean, I realize there is no going back to Zune since they killed the marketplace. Any word on having music syncing (and management) that actually works as easily? Perhaps a merge of XBox Music and the current solution? One of the best parts of Zune was the fact it, like iTunes, handles your music syncing AND gives you access to a music market place. For the Windows Phone 8 folks that do not have Windows 8/8.1, perhaps that would be incentive to upgrade?

While cortana sounds nice, lack of language support kills my enthusiasm. (yes, I expect it to be as bad as MSFT products tend to be on these things)

So much is needed.  Everyone has their sense of priorties, but one thing WP8.1 definitely needs is a much more robust app list view when you swipe from the right.   Both the Live Tile and alphabetical app list are fine when you have a small number of apps installed.  But when you get into the 30+ range both sides break down.   30 live tiles results in pages and pages of scrolling.   Same goes for the app list and the danger of simply forgetting what the damn app was called.    I loved the folder concept on my old iPhone but that's not critical if they would simply give us the ability to create categories and assign apps to those categories ourselves.   Subcategories would be great too.  Now you have a drillable list to quickly find the app you want.  

30 live tiles is two pages on a Lumia 1520 (or 1320)
A new user was able to quickly go to an app using the alphabet "subcategories" with over 400 apps installed on a Lumia 920

Come on, don't try and tell everyone a simple straight alphabet list of all your apps is adequate :)    Let's not defend or embrace the shortcomings.  Lets call them out on it and demand better. 

I didn't say that and I also like to see filters, tabs, sorting by, name, size, install date, publisher, type, rating, owner made category, regular expression, etc, etc

No problem.  Wasnt sure if you knew something i didn't.  I've seen this rumor.  It's really not adequate.   They need to give people the ability to organize their apps in self described categories for easy access.   Sorting by most recently used is actually of little value when you're trying to find that app you don't use often.  

So what was that App called again?   MyCalendar, GreatCalendar, SimpleCalender, FoobarCalendar?   See the problem?   User needs a mechanism to create groupings, folders, hubs, etc..  Without it the OS is seriously inadequate regardless of any other issues.

 

Yeah, I totally agree - that's why I was super excited at that rumour. If you read that article I linked closely, it does say "Users can organise the list by name, frequency of use, category or date installed". The most important one being the category field - so it's not just by recently used etc.

Whenever I suggested it people in the past they would say "pin it to your start screen and group/organise them there" but I don't think it's an effective solution to pin rarely-used apps to the screen just to make it easier to find in the future. What you're suggesting is close to what others (including myself) have suggested before, and I'm truly hoping the rumour proves to be true!

I see what you are saying.  You are assuming its going to be like iOS and user definable and labeled folders.   I hope you are right, but when I read that description I took "Category" to mean predefined categories defined by Windows.   It sounds like they are simply planning to push the Windows 8.1 changes from the app list down to WP8.1.  In W8.1  You can now sort the app list by category but you don't get to pick the categories.  It's based on how the developer categorized the app when they submitted it to the store.  Turns out to be almost useless.  

Man... now I'm second-guessing what they mean by "Category". I truly hope it's user-definable! I often group unrelated items together. For example I might have a"Travel" category that would include mapping, translators, compasses and perhaps photography apps (i.e. for panoramas). Not necessarily all of the same type of things lumped together.

I guess even something like the Windows 8 start screen would be okay, where you can put different apps together and put a label on them.

This makes me happy then all they need to improve is file management music playlist stopping music and finish off integration for windows 8 improve the app store if they don't improve that in WP 8.1! Then from there is should be up keep improving a little more working on windows 9 keep improving Xbox and work on Bing so they don't have to sell it add features and more functionality like a dedicated shopping category witch is really use full in Google! So basically it just keeps getting better after this at a good rate so just windows 9 and Bing get Bing worked on so they don't have to worry about it hey should take a little longer with windows 9 and release both Binge upgrades and they good I hope elop doesn't sell Bing and Xbox I like both! Keep improving do more research and promoting!

Them sources have little credibility on the matter. Wait until WPC reports it, then it's official. Until then, all WP8 devices are expected to get 8.1.

+ Ability to update OS or download large apps "over the usb-cable" too (not only OTA)

+ Ability to use custom background (lock screen images) with lock screen (gosh!) notifications (weather etc)

I need these. Do you?

Will WP ever be able to store apps on the actual micro SD card, instead of having to side load, which is useless really because you are still downloading them onto your phone. Notification and a personal assistant will be AWESOME!!!

Why not? iPhone 4 and 4S have 512MB RAM and they still got and run iOS7 smoothly. I'm sure MS will make sure that WP8.1 will run on low end Windows Phones also. The 520 is the most popular Windows Phone (by the numbers at least), so I'm sure MS aren't going to neglect 520 owners.

They will, it'll be a moment of truth for the platform. They promised 18 month support & updates for every WP8 device and after that Windows 7.5 fiasco it's the real test. But since they're pushing the release date I'm starting to get worried it's the only serious update they'll release, Blue was supposed to be available this year while 2014 was to bring a second major update.

Apps running on < 1MB Windows Phone can use only up to 180MB anyway so I'm sure the there's enough room left for 8.1 except that apps may get tombstoned more often when you switch between them. However since this will still somewhat impact the user experience on the 512MB device, I won't disregard the chance that Microsoft may still decide not to upgrade them. We'll just have to wait as see. However 512MB devices represent the largest Windows Phone base at the moment and Microsoft should be wary of pissing off the majority of WP users but I wouldn't put it pass them as it's not the first time in the last few years they made some awful decisions.

Hahaha, no update for devices with 512 RAM would mean Game Over for Microsoft. Not gonna happen. They have never been known for fast quality software updates in the past but I'm starting to question if they can exist in this world (annual free system update is almost mandatory now).

Today Windows 8 situation is insane, every WP8 user is a casual smartphone user (and even casual users like to have more functionality and apps available, even if they don't use them, 'just in case'), let's hope 8.1 will get serious.

My most wanted features are a week view for calendar, separate volume for alarms/calls/media and the ability to charge while the phone is turned off but still have the alarm work. Also next alarm time to appear on glance screen and small live tile. Its basic functionality that even old Nokia Symbian phones from more than ten years ago had and it annoys me to no end that they are not on WP even after two years with the system (Lumia 800/920). Anyone know if those are coming?

Microsoft and Nokia really need this Windows 8 update ASAP. I was really surprised that their system doesn't get the attention UNTIL I've bought a Lumia 720, there's so much stuff missing right now that I'm thinking WP8 really wasn't finished at all. Why they thought this could compete is beyond me, the only explanation is that they were targeting first time smartphone buyers and unexperienced budget users without expectations. 

I would hardly call Apple customer service amazing, I had nothing but issues with them causing me to dump my iPod & 3GS and move on to Microsoft. My experience with the Microsoft Store for support has been stellar.

Edit: ah crap, forgot to reply to someone, lol.

I got this on my apps..

May 3 - 8.10.12078.0 (this is the first 8.10.* I got)

....

October 30 - 8.10.12222.0

November 7 - 8.10.12234.0

November 8 - 8.10.12236.0

All with "Microsoft - XDeviceEmulator"

Hope the notification will be accesible universal, i mean with one swipe it will take you to all notification center wherever part you are in the phone,like when when playing games

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