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Get GDR3 today: Microsoft announces Windows Phone Preview for Developers

This morning, in addition to announcing Windows Phone 8 GDR3 (or just 'Update 3' as it is now being called), Microsoft has finally detailed their enthusiast update program so that owners of Windows Phone 8 devices can get the latest version of the OS without having to wait for OEMs or carriers. While technically designated for “developers”, anyone with a Windows Phone 8 device and a few minutes of their time can participate.

The program, detailed on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, will allow those who meet Microsoft’s loose standards to update to GDR3 starting later today. You read that right. The point of the program is to allow developers to try out their apps and optimize their code before the new OS goes live to millions of Windows Phone users, in addition to giving feedback to Microsoft.

Unofficially, it is meant to allow anyone to update their phones over-the-air to the latest version of Windows Phone 8, without carrier interference. 

Later today, current registered developers can head the Windows Phone Preview for Developers page ( to get more information on how to enroll. Uses who accept the terms and conditions can then begin to receive the update through the Windows Phone Store—a method that is very similar to how Windows 8.1’s preview was given to the public earlier this summer. Users will install the new Windows Phone Preview for Developers app, which will allow them to manage the OS updates right from the phone.

Anyone can participate

Although the program is designated for “developers” in reality, any current Windows Phone user, including the "enthusiast” crowd, can participate. That’s because in addition to registered developers (who’ve paid the previous $99 registration fee, or the more current $19 offer), anyone who is also signed up for the free Windows Phone App Studio program ( can also participate.

While the $19 registered developer program allows you to unlock up to three devices, the free App Studio program allows you to unlock just one. So if you only have one Windows Phone, then you can participate in the Windows Phone 8 GDR3 update preview like anyone else.

If that sounds like the “enthusiast update program” that Microsoft talked about in June 2012, you would be correct.

Any catches?

There are only a few caveats users face by participating

  • This only includes the OS update, not device specific firmware i.e. this is not Nokia's 'Bittersweet shimmer'; users should remain with their current firmware and will not lose it
  • You can only move forward, there is no “going back” to earlier releases
  • You need at least OS version 8.0.10322.71 to participate
  • You will continue to receive the official update (and firmware) when they become publicly available, so there is no missing out of features, nor will you ever be behind
  • This may void your device warranty

It’s important to note that there are no new API changes for GDR3, so developers won’t have too much work to get their apps ready for the new OS. Things like optimizing for 1080P displays is really the only big changes for developers.

We’ll of course cover this program as it goes live later today.

All in all though, Microsoft has seemingly delivered on their promise of a method for enthusiasts to never miss an OS update.

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.

  • Awesome!!!
    Edit: its live Edit 2: about to,install!!!
  • Ya but where the hell is my GDR4 update AT&T??
  • You mean GDR2?
  • you mean GDR2?
  • Fail!! There is no GDR4.. Next is WP 8.1
  • He was kidding people. -_-
  • I know what he does lol.. But this time he FAILED.. He had to say WP 8.1
  • That was probably part of his joke though.
  • Pookie wins the internet for today! Yes, it was just a joke. :)
  • Hahaha.......
  • Wow.. These guys are amazing...
  • It's not their fault, AT&T blocked the joke so they didn't get it when everyone else did.
  • More ATT bashing... Lol❕ Will ya'll quit.. They deserve credit for carrying the 920, 925, 1020, and the 1520.. Who has that lineup❔ Who❔
  • I politely and respectfully reply to RodneyDJ with "Yo momma got dat."
  • Now with the Developers preview, AT&T's blocking of my bad jokes can now be bypassed! Now how do I get WPcentral from deleting half of my comments.......
  • Lol❕
  • Wow! Just wow! Color me surprised. I thought they abandoned this idea shortly after it was announced.
  • Breaking device warranty is not so awesome and I really don't understand why Microsoft has made it like this.
  • Warranty is provided by the manufacturer. By installing Microsoft's update you install software that the manufacturer has not signed off on so they obviously won't service those devices. With WP7.5 Microsoft promised to take care of those devices until they were back on the official version track.
    Lets wait and see how this will work out when the terms and conditions go live later today.
  • If an iPhone user jailbreaks their phone or an Android user flashes a new ROM they void their warranty. To me, this is no different - you are modifying the phone with an experimental version of the OS and the risk you take should not be on the OEM
  • It's obviously extremely different from jailbreaks or Android ROMs. This is the official update to the OS directly from Microsoft, the only difference is that it is just for the OS, upgraded firmware and device drivers from the OEM are not included. Should be absolutely no need to void your warranty by updating your OS. It's basically like saying you would void the warranty on your Windows PC by running windows update..
  • Its all on the carrier, they are choosing not to early adopters who don't wait for them to release the update which they've received long before developers getting it. They just want to make money.and this is another method of getting it.
  • Sure but in Europe a lot of people buy unsubsidized unlocked phones and Microsoft should just treat these as they do with PCs and release the updates OTA w/o OEM firmware or drivers as they've now proven they can and not having any OEM warranty voided.
  • I've been saying this for a long time and I'm in the US.  The idea that a carrier can block OS updates is obsurd.  It's akiin to Time Warner Cable blocking me from updating my PC to Windows 8.1 because they are my ISP and they need to test it on their network first.  There is no reason Apple can do this and Microsoft can't.
  • I uhderstand what you saying, but there's a million users that are going to want the OEM firmware update as well as Microsoft's OS update. There's a delima, do we, release the OS update less OEM firmware add-ons or not. I simply want the OS update personally, but how many other would be crying wolf because they don't get OEM firmware updates?
  • 90% of people don't care about updates at all or don't understand that they could get new features etc from an update and most people are afraid of updates and thinks SMS, apps etc will disappear after applying an update. Now for the rest that do care, and the percentage is probably a bit higher in the WP-space because it's not a mainstream OS yet, I think the separation of OS update and firmware/driver/software update is great and the way Microsoft should proceed with. This is an advantage Microsoft has with its controlled OS compared to Android where this isn't possible because the OEMs add and change stuff directly in the code.
  • Some people are never satisfied. We get the option of early access and still you complain. This is a developer preview, not officially sanctioned for daily use. Chances are minute it will cause problems, but it is pretty standard if you are going to install developer editions (be it Windows 8 beta, iOS betas, whatever) that you cannot expect a retail warranty anymore.
  • ^this
  • Another question is if i do it now and update later with official bittersweet shimmer will it get me my warranty back?
  • Hmm... I want to know this as well. So ... Will my warranty back once I update it to bittersweet shimmer later on? Because logically, they can't really know whether I previously update the device to beta OS since the firmware will override the beta update itself, right?
    Can someone clarify this?
  • Except this is not released code, it's beta code.
  • it is different with jailbreak. but probably the same as google releasing newest version of android (jelly bean, kitkat or whatsoever) but user must wait for manufaturer to update it to their own device and adopt it to touchwiz or sense or any kind of version they are using.
    user can't update directly from google.
  • Updating to beta software in iPhone doesn't void warranty and its not the same as jailbreak. You can also downgrade to earlier version very easily. Microsoft implementation is way superior than android but nowhere near as flexible as apple. Please try to provide unbiased and accurate comparison information. L925 user :)
  • Actually it's the best system they can put in without pissing off all parties involved.  On one hand they can't force the OEM and carriers to support untested firmware else they would push back hard, and on the other the geeks are very vocal about not getting updates, so now they make it look like it is "developers only" (but with a VERY easy work around which is free) so they can just throw their hands up to the carriers and OEM and say this isn't really affecting their business as it is targetting only a small portion of hardcore users while the geeks whom are perfectly happy to risk losing their warranties (look at Android ROM flashers) to have their method of getting updates.  Win win.
  • There is nothing at all win-win about this, unless you mean Microsoft and the carriers both win at the expense of the users,  Apple's beta program does not void warranties and Android phones can always be flashed back to the stock ROM.  This is a one way street that obliges you to pay through the nose if something goes wrong.  As such, this is in no way fullfilling old promises about bypassing carriers.  It is a use at your own risk scenario that is completely inconsistent with Microsoft and OEM policies for their other OSs....
  • The difference with Apple is that they own the hardware and the OS. Currently MS doesn't own the hardware so they can't dictate whether the OEM should void the warranty or not.  Hopefully this will change to some extent when MS officially absorbs Nokia, at least for the Nokia devices.
  • No this has nothing to do with owning the hardware, you don't break the warranty on your Samsung PC or tablet when running windows update right?
    It's great that Microsoft has finally proven that the "Apple way of updates" is possible, iow bypassing carriers and OEMs (something Google still can't do). But doing this by voiding warranty in the process is a really bad and unnecessary way since this is not at all how it's done on other Windows devices.
  • Because most phones are under a subsidy the situations aren't the same. Just about every software vendor provided beta software in an "as is" condition. Unlike a pc you can't grab the WinPhone OS to roll back a screw up either.  You know there's a distinct difference,  no need to act obtuse about it.  If you don't want to potentially brick your phone don't download beta software.  I'm confused on how this is such a contentious issue with you.
  • Most phones are subsidized in US yes, in Europe no. You can't put in a Windows 8 installation DVD on your Asus Vivotab either but you still don't break your warranty by using Windows update to get Windows 8.1. No this is not beta software, it's the official GDR3. 
  • No, actually it's not official GDR3, it is RTM which means Release to Manufacturing which means it's the version released to the OEMs.  There is still a phase of Dev/Test that occurs after RTM to address issues found by OEMs.  It is not official until MS says it is available and rolling out to end users.  Until then, this is a pre-release version of the OS and in that case, the OEM has every right to void the warranty if they so choose.  I'm hoping that at least Nokia still honors it but they technically don't have to.  I've have read of cases where an OEM did not honor a warranty on a PC because the OS that the user installed was not supported by them.
  • No this is not beta software, it's the official GDR3. 
    Yes, you are correct, it's not beta.  Still the same rules can apply.  Until the device manufacturer and carrier gives the ok it needs to treated as "as is".  It'd be nice though for MS to provide a roll back method since they're providing an easy way for end users to download it.
  • While I agree the term "beta" doesn't necessarily apply, it also is not the official publicly available version.  From the source blog article (emphasis added):
    "Windows Phone Preview for Developers gives you, our developer community, access to prerelease builds of Windows Phone updates on your dev phone before operating system updates generally are available to consumers"
    "Points of note about the preview
    -When you opt in and apply a prerelease update, you can only move forward with updates. When the update is publicly released for your device, you will once again be in a ‘released state.’
    -After you install a preview update, you may void any warranty from your MO and OEM. In the unlikely event you run into an issue after you apply the prerelease update, you can visit the preview program’s support forum."
    Until MS announces the official release there are still bugs being worked out with OEMs and partner devs.  
  • Right and by the way. If you are warranty-ing your phone out with your carrier, I'll eat my friggin' shoe if they dishonor based on this. In my experience, the carrier checks for water damage or a cracked screen, and then moves on.
    Sure, Nokia itself is a litle pickier. (I had a warranty phone returned to me instead of being swapped out because they couldn't find the issue I was complaining about. And it took weeks.) But in that case, just use the new Nokia retail tool to reflash the phone to GDR2, no?
    I admit some people have an HTC or Samsung Windows Phone, but, I mean.... uh, err... :-p 
  • Given that the Official GDR2/Amber Update did brick my Lumia, I'd say this is not a good gamble. If it came with a roll back tool, or say a $20 fee to service your phone to roll it back it might be ok. I know MS is trying to help us but voiding a warrantee is not so good.
  • Wow, people are really passionate about this aren't they :-)
  • Yes they are and the funny thing is that MS has stated that it "may" void it not that it "will."  It's still up to the OEM.  Of course I hope they don't but MS can't really dictate to the OEM how they treat their warranties.  I for one am extremely happy that MS has introduced this program and look forward to participating.  I'm sure, over time, all of the kinks will get worked out and once MS owns the Nokia hardware I expect it to get even better for those who purchase Nokia devices.
  • That's not completely accurate.  Some PC manufactures will void a warranty if the original OS is not installed when you return it.  This is especially true of beta/preview OS.  Of course, if you restore the OS back to the original before returning for warranty then you would be ok.  The same is true here. If you flash back to the original OS version, I would assume that your warranty would still be intact.
  • "If you flash back to the original OS version, I would assume that your warranty would still be intact."
    How? No Navifirm now and NSU will not go back to an older release. if we somehow hack NSU, it would work, could be doable?
  • Well, the assumption is that since NSU is for retail employees that it would flash the phone back to the latest official retail version for that device.  Since this is a pre-release of GDR3 I would assume NSU would have no knowledge of it and therefore would be able to flash back to the "older" version which in this case would be GDR2/Amber.  Of course, this would only work for Nokia devices but since I belive they accoutn for 90% of the WP market, that's most of us.
  • People need to calm down.....for starters this is WAY BETTER THAN NOTHING which is what we had before. Second there is no comparison with the PC market as that market is FAR less controlled by OEM's and (virtually non-existant) carriers. The mobile industry is vastly different and this will continue to reflect that as carrier and OEM's have much more power and control in this realm. Third is that ITS THE SAME AS ANDROID!!!!!! I gaurentee if you FLASH A ROM on a phone (which you had to likely UNLOCK the bootloader for VOIDING YOUR WARRANTY ANYWAYS) and you send that phone into them DIRECTLY through warranty they would say its out of warranty and that you would have to pay. HTC, Samsung, LG, Asus, and others all follow this trend. Infact if you go to HTC's website to unlock your bootloader which you need to do to load a ROM then they say ON THE WEBSITE AND ON THE UNLOCK SCREEN of the phone that your warranty will be voided.
    We luckely have very smart hackers/developers at XDA and other locations that can make it LOOK like you can flash backwards. Thats not provided through the OEM and if they OEM KNEW you had previously unlocked your phone you warranty would still be voided. Infact on HTC devices if you unlock your bootloader (even if you flash a stock ROM back) your phone will indicate  **TAMPERED** at the top of the recovery page. It has a yellow Triangle for Samsung devices. THEY ALREADY KNOW YOU VOIDED YOUR WARRANTY.
    IF you wandering why you havent been charged for this...most OEM's just dont care. For us in the USA our carriers already bought replacement phones from the OEM's and replacing it through the carriers has a very minimal impact on thier bottome line. For every 1 Million devices sold they have to have at least that many replacements at the ready. Out of all those replacements possibly what....50 people are a result of voided warranty through actual flashing of ROM's. When your shipping 10 million units and already sold a bunch a replacement stock to a USA carrier then its just not worth the hassel of having to charge the carrier for the replacement and then having the carrier charge the user for the replacement. Now if your in a region thats not in the business of the carrier replacing your phone and you send it directly to them thats a different story. They then just try to find anything wrong with the phone that wasnt caused by you to they have an excuse to replace you with a refurb or just fix the problem and send it back to you. Its not worth the time unless they device was actually destroyed making it un-refurbishable. That is when they may charge you for being out of warranty.
    Fourth worst case scenario you can just wait for the public update to come out. unless you just **** up your phone so bad that it cant even be updated, the official update will override w/e happens with this update and unless OEM's have in place a way to see if you tampered with your device like on Android then they wouldnt even know. even if your phone is not working and its not updatable then it means its likely bricked to where the screen doesnt turn on...then the OEM uses special tools to flash firmware and its back to normal. Lastly thier are stock ROM's out there for Nokia phones so if you search enough you can just flash one of those back (there is no "official" way to go back but since firmware is not affected flashing backwards IS possible just unofficial)
    TL;DR Calm down and look at android  
  • The Apple "Beta Program" is meant ONLY for developers, so you can't even compare the two really. 
  • you can always revert back using nokia care suite that wp central discussed this weekend..they say that warrenty is void but from years of flashing i can tell you i have never had an issue exchanging phone i bricked
  • Too bad they didn't do this for GDR 2. Maybe then us ATT shmucks could've gotten Data Sense
  • I'm curioius if this will somehow put Data Sense back in for us ATT schmucks.
  • -Its crazy that you can jailbreak an Iphone, restore it, and then send it back to Apple and they fix it because they can't tell its been jailbroke. I've done it multiple times
  • Was Data Sense an MS or Nokia feature? This wouldn't give us any new Nokia features.
  • I'm pretty sure it was MS because I recall HTC users talking about having it
  • LOL, at&t just wants us to pay for overages, that's all.
  • Just use myAT&T
  • Did he really meant to say"this will void your device warranty" ?
  • Thanks for that link. The article's link to is utterly useless. No announcements at all on that front page.
  • WOW, In one stroke, Microsoft made every Windows Phone the equivalent of Google Nexus line in terms of OS updates! Genius!
  • Omg sign me up!
  • Sign up urself...lazy potato
  • This really made me laugh
  • Hahaha. Literally, he is right. You should sign up yourself. But on the humor side, this is hilarious :D
  • People who explain jokes ruin them
  • Lol
  • Nice!
  • Yay!
  • Gimmie gimmie gimmie lol
  • Only if you say please.
  • does anyone know if GDR3 fixes Xbox Video?
  • Was really hoping, but I haven't seen anything mentioned.
  • Well I guess the only way to find out is to install GDR3 
  • All signs/rumors point to that being in 8.1.
  • I thought GDR3 was 8.1...
  • Completely different
  • wow... now this is what i wanted. more then ready for it. plz get us first impression of the update.
  • Wpc will need to employ a plumber for all the leaks that are about to be sprung lol
  • I don't think so.. They will have it as well so they will report it as soon as they see it on their phones.. A lot of tips on the other hand seems viable..
  • They aren't really leaks if its a public ally available preview :P plus, we already know what's in GDR3. BUT I liked the pun :D
  • Hey Daniel! Be sure to do a review of GDR3 when you get it on your devices!
  • No keep it a surprise lol
  • I am all over this!!!
  • As a developer, this makes me happy. :)
  • I so completely agree .. This has been needed since day 1.
  • i'm already at windows phone app studio program.....yeah
  • Awesome!!!!!!!
  • Tempting. Although not a developer i am a huge enthusiast for Windows phone.
  • +1
  • OMG Close apps by tapping on the X on top right in multitasking view... Why no swipe UP/ Down ??? WP8 is much stable OS than any other and it should be made a SWIPE based OS...
  • Swipe based systems have discoverability problems. The 'X' method also matches the current Tab management system for IE. That means UI consistency.
  • Never saw it this way. Coming from webOS, I don't think gesture (swipe) discoverability is a problem ... at least for me, but as WP (and other Windows OSes) is made for the masses, I get the point.
  • Well, webOS was one big swipe everywhere. Everything was swipeable, up down, left right, diagonally and even in parallel universes. Stuff would bounce and make elastic snapping noises, weeeeeeeh sounds and the works. You just knew that you could swipe and have something happen.
    Windows Phone doesn't do much in the form of swipy swipe and I like Daniel's UI consistency argument.
  • Don't complain before you use it.
  • I know, I was disappointed too when I found out it wasn't a swipe-based gesture. (An then Apple jumped on the bandwagon and did just this for iOS 7... Apple makes me angry sometimes lol)
  • It is much easier to keep your finger/thumb at one location at keep on tapping on the Xs as the windows slide towards the front one by one.
  • Just should have had both.
  • wouldn't you have to swipe each individual open app? So swiping down is like a "long press" which takes more to the single tapping. You know WP's motto, "get in & out, and back to the things that are important to you".
  • Ok my lumia 920 is ready. Hold my beer 
  • Done, now take your empty glass back...!!!
  • Hopefully the new rom is up on navifirm
  • ROMs (which include the OS and firmware) only appear on Navifirm just before public release. It also requires you to flash your phone (wipe data). So no, I would not expect that any time soon.
  • Ah yeah I always flash my 920, was hoping I'd see it on navifirm though!!
  • There's no mention of having to reset your phone.. would this is be an early access to the final GDR3 release? I figure you guys would cover this - but I'm wondering if early adopters will need to flash their phones again to get final bits or the bittersweet functionality etc.. I'm thinking of this analogous to Win 8.1 preview where there was no upgrade path to 8.1 RTM for example.
  • By the sound of it, no. You will just get the regular OTA update. Everything is OTA, no flashing.
  • please, i just need  clarification: This WILL void my warranty, but only until the official OTA upgrade comes out... is this correct?
  • Crap, been wondering that. Bought a laptop a couple months ago and put the preview on it (through the app store). It's going to require a full reinstallation?
  • Unfortunately yes
  • A question though that  if Joining the New Developer Preview Program voids my warranty from Nokia??
  • Due credit to Paul Thurott. Go directly below the pic in (You can get the update this week) You will see a warning from him that this may invaidate the guarantee. I have no idea myself. I am quoting from his blog. Here it is.
  • Yeah, warranty is a must have for Nokia devices. Used mine thru at&t many times.