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Alleged photo reveals early build of Windows Phone 8.1 Blue, notification center

In early 2014, Microsoft is expected to release Windows Phone 8.1 “Blue”, a true OS upgrade for current Windows Phone 8 users that will bring along with it numerous design changes. One of the big features that many users expect is a notification center, and early reports, including ones from our own sources, have confirmed that this feature will be included.

Today, a photo has appeared on the XDA forums posted by user ‘When I’m gone’ that allegedly reveals Windows Phone 8.1 Blue on a Nokia Lumia 620. The photo was almost unbelievably “found on an SD Card”, which is either a poor source story or casts doubt on the authenticity.

Screenshot taken by Joe Belfiore reveals new task bar layout

In the photo, we can see a Notification tile with an ‘*’ used along with a counter. The same ‘*’ is used in the task bar to correspond to the alert. Speaking of the task bar, it has been updated with icons moved slightly and nicely matches the screenshot Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore posted earlier, also thought to be Windows Phone 8.1 Blue. If this is a spoof, detail is being adhered too.

We also see what appears to be a unified inbox that includes Outlook but also Skype. Skype on Windows 8.1 destktop is supposed to get deeper integration with the OS and it would make sense that the same would happen on Windows Phone 8.1—this could be the first sign of it, were this photo to be accurate.

Finally, the background reveals what appears to be a “Microsoft Confidential” notice, perhaps related to the flashing of the phone and a warning.

Back in June, a Lumia 920 developer device was bought that contained an early build of Windows Phone 8.1. It too had a notification center, though we've heard that version has since been scraped for a different layout.

Windows Phone Central cannot verify the authenticity of the image, but like this weekend’s massive GDR3 leak, the information in the photo does match reports of features found in 8.1. Windows Phone 8.1 is in late stages of development.

We can add that notifications for the Center could optionally be "ghosts", meaning they won't cause Toast notifications or alerts on the device, but instead will show up in the Center. This will evidently be a developer option, part of thew new SDK and it will be used for more common notifications, ones that are not deemed urgent.

Source: XDA; Thanks, Fraggy, for the tip

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

415 Comments
  • Who is going to complain first?
  • Me.
  • A fucking tile really , when they know everyone wants it on the left side or the me tile , no just another tile , bit I guess crap is better than nothing .
  • Lol
  • lol no, we want it to slide down from the top of the screen, pushing the tiles off screen like in a video shown a while ago
  • As I recall, people ranted about how crappy that was too.
    These are leaks of a development build people, remember that.
    This picture tells us hardly anything about how it works.
  • It seems like you're usually the only one with sense..
  • Well, I want it to be slide from the left in the main screen, but yes, crap is better than nothing.
  • WHat if that IS the Me tile renamed and merged with the new center?
  • That would actaully be kinda cool.  The Me tile is kinda underused these days, and integrating a notification center of sorts would be nice indeed. 
  • LIKE
  • My bet is that this will merge with the People tile instead just like how it is on Windows 8.
  • What would a MY Battery notification have to do with the people hub❔
  • It would be awesome, but it don't think it is. In the first video posted yesterday you clearly see a me tile on top. Unless it goes from "Me" to "notifications" when it's notifiying you of something. That would be cool. 
  • ok
  • Why not on the multitasking screen?  Hold the back button and swipe to the unused space to the right of the current app.
  • Ever thought they will give you the option to pin it like almost everything on the OS.
  • Everyone?!  I don't want it at all!
  • Fuck having it in the ME tile or on the left. No. I want it to work just like it does in Android, from the top of the screen available everywhere, not having to go back to the damn home screen and THEN the notification center.
  • I have always thought the notification centre should be in the volume box that appears when you press the volume keys. You pull down that and all your notification appear, also with some controls such as brightness, orientation lock and the music player that was originally in there.
    But I guess that's just a dream.
  • To me the notification center should be accessible from anywhere in the phone not just the main screen even if it is deep inside the app space (except in full screen app (Games)). So this will be impossible if it is as a tile or a flick left in the start screen (both this case user have to come to start screen).
    This leave us with the other options of pulling down from the top (mimicking droid) or do as @mmodimo has suggested in the post.
    Wp8 already have a mini notification center which allows interacting with it even if we are in an app or even if the phone is locked. The volume control which pops out when the volume buttons are activated or pressed. Simply extend this to the notification center and everything will be fine even if the screen is locked. Lock button to wake the phone and volume button will get the notification (you can also make it read-only under lock screen) and any one of the volume buttons when the phone is unlocked (definitely  clickable/touchable)
  • And you have to change the volume to check notifications? Genius.
  • Check again,single touch will not change the volume,if you have a wp8 phone of course.
  • And you have to change the volume to check notifications? Genius.
  • if you ever even used windows phone, hitting either the volume up or down buttons a single time doesnt change the volume at all, it only brings up the volume bar at the top. tapping the buttons further changes the volume.
  • I do own a red Lumia 920, and it does change my volume when i tap the buttons.
  • It shouldn't be changing the volume after one tap. If it is you should get that checked out...
  • in my Lumia 620, it doesn't :) Tapping either the Volume up or down once doesn't change the volume.
  • Just like Android❔ WP always finds a better way..
  • That's a really good point I hadn't even considered. I suppose pulling it down from the top would be the most efficient way of having it.
  • Yeah, let's just copy CrapDroid to make the WP OS more like that cheap peace of crap found on almost every crappy plastic fantastic Samsung phone. Let me tell you: NO
  • Please stop cursing on a public forum.
  • Please stop trying to censor people in a free on line society. 
  • Why?  It is offensive to the reading public.  I am surprised that WP Central allows it.  
  • What's to complain about? This will finally stop everyone whining about it!
  • People will always find something else to whine about.
  • Like how ATT still hasn't given me my GDR2 update?!
  • Koodo as well
  • That's ATTs problem!
  • ummm...no. If the user is unhappy, That is Microsoft's problem. The user will simply get another brand of phone that meets his needs better next upgrade time.
  • hahah that user better not go to android, they way they update their devices is HORRIBLE! 47% of all androids are running 4.0  btw android is up to 4.3  sooooo stay away android.
  • I know, I don't want to lose the Google Sync.
  • Don't get me started on at&t.
    WP community have left so many messages on @attcustomercare about the GDR2 but all they do is ignores us.
  • LOL❕... I'm patient,, but want is taking so long❔
  • I wanted it in the ME tile. So I'll start :P
  • Well MS is making it quite easy.
  • This....and cheese.
  • +620. Especially for things that they hate.
  • No sh!t!! Preach it!!!
  • my bet is that the next complaint will be about settings toggles. i've noticed now that notication, rotation lock, and custom ringtones will soon be addressed with gdr3 and 8.1, the android fans are posting about the setting toggles, as if you change those settings so often that it is an important feature. i have settings shortcuts for bluetooth and wifi and those serve me fine.
  • I toggle my rotation lock all the time on my Galaxy Note 2. WiFi and bluetooth toggles are also incredibly useful. The MOST useful toggle is flashlight. Yeah, quick toggles ARE important. I want the notification center to slide in from the top just as in Android and also to have toggles in it also just as in Android. 
  • How about this?  I'll be super pissed if Notifications are only accessible through a Live Tile.  You should be able to access these at anytime.  Plus, I'm already having a hard time pinning everything toward the top of my home screen that I want to see first.  
  • feel similarily except just a little annoyed instead, i think this going to be one of those scrpped ideas, still a better choice if they just shove it in the multitasking screen
  • I mean you're right. And I agree. But when we get a whole new column of tiles, we will be able to fit a lot more *important* tiles up top. Also perhaps we can tap the asterisk at the top and it takes us to the notification center
  • a whole new column of tiles IF you have a Lumia 1520 or a phone with full HD screen, no current phones will be able to have a 3rd colum.
  • I use my Start Screen as my notification center. That IS where I personally have the things I want to see first.. Just sayin..
  • Just agreein :)
  • Yeah, the 4 tiles you can use before live tiles start dying and never update. If they scrapped the idea of a notification center and just made background tasks actually reliable, I'd be a happy person. Also Notifications, just make them reliable.
  • People need to understand that MS notification is the counters over each tiles!
    I like that idea from the beginning, no copy of android ir IOS!
  • Except it is incredibly lacking compared to a real notification center and requires you to leave your app to get to. I'd much prefer a real notification center sliding in from the top thank you very much.
  • This is true.  I gues it would actually clear up a lot of tiles from the top of my Start screen.  I'm good with that.
  • How about having a notification center when you swype to the right? Are there actually people using the kids corner anyway?
  • Um...yeah...every time I hand my phone to my kids I use Kids Corner.
     
  • Oh well, I guess MicroNokia will find a better solution then. Lol
  • Umm swipe from the left isn't taken at the moment.
  • I believe swiping to the left activates Kid's Corner, so swiping to the right is still an option.
  • The wpcentral tile, which IMO is one of the best designed live tiles, only shows the top 3 news. I rely on the start screen too for my notifications, but the fact that i can see only the latest mail, or the latest message, or the latest missed call is unacceptable to me. I'd like the live tile to be a bit more lively, and perhaps have a way to show me all the unread mails, so that i get the gist of it. I agree launching the app and checking isn't that difficult, but a glance at the notification center is easier. Shouldn't a smart phone make our lives easier..? Symbian, IMHO, was a true blooded, pure smart mobile OS. i miss my n8, just for the stuff it could do, even if with a lack of finesse, smoother transitions, and subpar screen.. *sigh*
  • -925. Who are you people? You're going to get the feature, and still you whine and cry. Some people refuse to be happy about anything.
  • Next time I see you post a complain about something, I won't be there to tell you are wrong about your opinion. 
  • I'm fine with people having opinions. What irks me is people whining about a feature that Microsoft is still finalizing. We don't know what the final interface will be, and yet people are having fits. It could end up as a swipe to a page left of the start page. It could be a tile as shown in the pic. It could end up integrated in the Me title. It could be something altogether different. Who knows? But why the constant stream of outright hate over an unfinished feature?
  • Well, I just want it come soon. Now I have not receive any updates for the GDR2. I have been waiting so looong so that!
  • Why is this a problem? Click on start and then the tile. Whatever app you where using is suspended and you can go back to it through the multitasking screen. I would think most people check notifications after they are done working with an app and not right in the middle of their work. This would also solve your pinning issue. You can now pin just your most used apps since you will have a central center for notification. A swiping gesture to get to a notification center looks better, but functionally a tile would work too. I personally liked the WP mock up where the notification was accessed with a swipe in the multitasking screen because that would eliminate accidentally opening the notifications which happens to me all the time in ios and android.
  • Someone else just mentioned this.  I agree, it will actually help quite a bit. 
  • I have no problem with that. I keep doing this already on my phone when I want to access other apps so it will be a natural thing for me to do.
  • On the 1520, getting things "above the fold" on the Start Screen will be easier, at least. Would you be satisfied if they do a Live Tile notification centre this build, but announce plans to make it always accessible in the next update?
  • i'm not one of those who badly need a notification center, but a tile is ridiculous. Why even bother then?! Build it on the fucking left of the homescreen. Swipe right to access it. Just the opposite of the app list.
    Geez Microsoft...
  • I would say the "bother" is having a notification center (even as a tile) is better than none at all. I swear people complained about there not being one and when there is one, they complain about "how" it's being given to them. While I don't think a live tile is the best implementation, "at least" there will be one, when Microsoft could've just continued ignoring it thinking there was no need for it.
  • The reason people get annoyed is because Windows Phone takes pride in implementing everything perfectly, in the best possible way and this and the leaked gdr 3 update make it look like microsoft is slipping and have given up on windows phone by implementing stuff half arsed and not in the best way possible which will make windows phone low quality junk
  • I never asked why people are annoyed....but I will say, it does seem unreasonable to be annoyed about rumors or unfinished products that are at least 6 months out.
  • That's the problem. MS thinks it knows what people want and need, and that we don't know what we need. Just give what the people desire MS. We aren't asking for a Rolls Royce each to all the customers around. It is feasible i reckon.
  • Actually, MS has been doing a pretty good job lately of (mostly) giving people what they want- changes to Windows 8 with 8.1, rumored changes to the Surface, reversals in Xbox One, and adding features to WP. I will say, they need a better focus group so that they make the adjustments before things start to leak, and they need to scramble to make changes.
  • Why create a TITLE for Notification Center? Just swap main screen to the right like when we search for all installed apps.
    And please when to be necessary to close an App in the Active Tasks just scroll it down. We are talking about a mobile device and it isn't easy try to find, read or touch a small button when we're on the go.
    Microsoft keep it simple, clean and FINGER FRIENDLY... or try to learn something with Nokia and THEIR MOBILE EXPERTISE!!!
  • You mean swipe to the LEFT, I assume.
    But yeah, I like that idea more, just put a notification shortcut in the top of the App list.
  • Geez Sumit8... Both a tile and a swipe right to access notifications are are ridiculous. Why should you need to be on the home screen to access notifications?
  • A tile still has the advantage of being able to notify you of toast notifications regarding apps you don't have pinned to the start screen. There are apps I would un-pin if a notification tile was available, so this would be really useful for me. Similarly to how you can use the Games hub to see turn notifications in turn-based games, so that you don't have to pin them all to know that it's your turn. It may not go all the way to satisfying you, but it would be a definite improvement nonetheless.
  • They might want to save the "swipe right" motion for something else. Personally, I'd much rather see them use this for slide-show like content on large tiles.
  • how about a File-Manager.
    One of the most demanded feature and more imortant than notification.
  • I hardly think a file manager is the most demanded feature from all users.  If they added more options to pull files from Skydrive and share via email and other places I believe that would be more worthwhile.
  • Ah yes, SkyDrive is way underused. Skype as well is sort half ***ed. It seems like areas where MS can shine often fall flat. I'm not whining either. Just offering the constructive criticism of a experienced software developer and product manager. Things should be better than they are.
  • a File Manager is actually the second most requested feature.
    Vote for File Manager:
    http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/3365632-add-file-manager-to-windows-phone
  • They still need quick actions like those that iOS 7 is finally getting where Bluetooth and WiFi can quickly be turned off without even going to settings (and particularly without the inaccurate live tile options that exist for that currently, unless you remember to back out instead of hitting Home). Granted, Android has had that (and the notification center) for a long time, but I would rather go to iOS than Android. I really hope that the notification center is not just a live tile as well, rather it is something that one swipe's opposite of the app list to get too.
  • I do agree with this. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are my most used options in Settings, and there really should be quick options for at least those two things.
  • Hopefully, and most likely they'll integrate the notification center somewhere else. It might be a swipe somewhere when multi-tasking or something on the home screen, but I'm sure they won't spend a lot of time doing something they'll have to change again.
  • Even Symbian had swipe from top to access some quick options like WiFi, Bluetooth etc
  • Indeed many people will always complain
  • Why do people whine about people whining?
  • just another live tile when u can pin the live tile that has its own notification.  how redundant
  • You have no evidence that is the extent of the feature.
  • Well, you're pinning one instead of 50. Doesn't seem redundant at all
  • Agreed. Though it's not exactly ideal, I'd like more details than to just crap on it for now.
  • Maybe that is how they were going to implement it and realized that it sucked and went back to the drawing board.
  • Not at all. It lets me keep apps pinned that give me frequent notifications, and un-pin apps that I rarely use and/or that give me infrequent notifications.
  • Would a slide out menu or swiping to the right to reveal a notification center be better than another icon? Is that complaining? I'm just asking.
  • Seriously!? A notification center as a TILE??! That would be the worst notification center in any mobile platform..
  • I disagree about the notification tile as the worst. In fact i prefer that on a big screen because I can pin it close to my thumb for easy access on a one-handed operation. I dislike the pull-down and pull-up most, although I could probably get used to the swipe-to-the-right, but I want the tile best of all the methods.
  • Anything other than an exact copy of the latest Android notification center would make it the worse notification center on any current mobile platform. On my Note 2 I just slide in from the top and see all my notifications and have quick toggles all at once.
  • Why can't it make my coffee? Why does it not have swipe right to make toast...
  • Better yet, an omelet bar when you swipe to the right!! Complete with a chef in one of those tall hats!!!!
  • Seriously, MS would corner the market for omelet connoisseurs if they implemented that.
  • If its not one thing it'll be another thing people will complain about. I'm not surprised. The whole thing about windows phone is LIVE TILES. The most obvious live tile would be the notifications center. I can't believe people are surprised.
  • I'm not complaining because I actually prefer the notification tile so I can pin it close to my thumb for one-handed operation, as compared to the pull-down, pull-up, and swipe-to-the-right. I particularly want the notification tile when I switch to a phablet later on.
  • .....i am going to be upset if this isnt disBle-able. Consider the fatal flaw in a Windows Phone notification center is that it requires more devs to start implementing notifications alongside live tiles (look at what happened to unification), and the fact that one reason i love windows phone is the fact that notifications are NOT saved in some center to clog up and bog down my phone, im kind of saddened by this. lets hope microsoft doesnt keep this.
     
    In all homestly, i can think of one way MS could do things that could at least try to appease those asking for an NC, if not outright destroy their argument about not wanting certain tiles pinned: Live Tiles in the app list. We already have small tiles which are the same size as the app icons in the app list that can show basic live information (such as mail showing a number by it for unread count and Kik having a asterisk on its logo for a new message indicator). Microsoft could have an (optional) setting that allows one to enable live tiles in the app list, so any app that supports a small live tile can show information.
     
    (pardon any spelling errors. WPCentals text input disables autocorrect, and my screen is cracked so i cant really see mistakes in some areas.)
  • No no! Microsoft sux!
  • You have no life. You ignorant troll.
  • Comments like these are when I wish WP Central would apply forum rules to article comments.
  • Appears pretty legit - concept wise. Solid thinking.
  • I have vs2013 with wp8 SDK...i could make tiles that look like that in 5 minutes and load it onto my phone. If I then take a blurry pic and PhotoShop a star icon on the status bar can I have my pic be on an article?
  • You can make of course. But most peoples concepts would be pretty sucky.
  • Why are they always blurry. In 2013. It's like big foot, or UFOs.
  • Who knows...guess they don't have a 920 or 1020! Edit: just thought of it. Its a lot easier to blend things into a photo when its blurry with PhotoShop.
  • That is awesome! With a new column of tiles on new higher resolution devices, a grouping folder is what I was guessing for too.
  • I'd prefer to the grouping concept that was found in Windows 8. It's pretty useful as Windows Phone has the vertical-scrolling gesture basis.
  • I'm seeing 0 innovation with these updates. Everything looks the exact same, even uglier sometimes. We need a UI polish
  • I don't know what you're talking about. A huge reason why I use WP because of the way it looks. I'd be happy to see UI/UX improvements/enhancements, but not an overhaul.
  • I agree.
  • A polish isn't an overhaul. The new Bing apps look more polished than the other Microsoft apps for example. If they can make a notification centre that looks as nice as the Bing apps then I'm happy. Xbox music needs a polish as well
  • Xbox music is getting an overhaul. idk when its release date is, but be comforted that there is an overhaul coming
  • Xbox music definitely needs a polish, maybe even an overhaul.
  • You know what they say about polishing a turd but the stink stays... A Major Overhaul from the tile to most of its functions is still needed for Xbox Music in my