Microsoft and Nokia are already beta testing GDR2 Windows Phone 8 OS update

It was only last week where we learned about so-called “GDR” or “General Distribution Releases”, which are to be minor OS updates for Windows Phone 8. The “Portico” update that started last December was reportedly GDR1 and according to ZDNet, there are at least two others coming this year as well: GDR2 and GDR3. After that is a “major” OS update with “Blue” coming in the holiday season.

We have now found the new firmware that is in testing on Nokia’s Navifirm servers and it is coincidentally labeled “GDR2 Beta 2”. Since we don’t believe that is by mistake it seems evident that this is actually not just a firmware update but also and OS-level update delivering new features, including the ability to clean temporary storage, improved camera performance and giving users control over their display color profile.

Windows Phone 8 GDR2 (Beta 2) being tested

If Windows Phone 8 GDR2 is already in its beta 2, we can assume an April/May release timeframe is quite reachable by the Windows Phone and Nokia teams.  That could put GDR3 on schedule for end of summer.

The ROM update found on the Navifirm servers is for Sweden, meaning in international users will want to steer clear. Not only will you wipe your device but you could also cripple the cellular radio for calls and data.

Update: has flashed the ROM and not noticed an OS update nor new features, just new firmware. That could mean that certain features still need to be unlocked by "system app" updates or this is presumably missing some of GDR2's more significant changes (whatever those may be).

Update 2: Confirmed, the new firmware paired with the system app updates enables the Storage features.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • God this is so awesome!!
  • What exactly?
  • GDR2.
  • Yes, but an April/May release means those of us on Verizon will get it in September
  • Not likely.  GDR1 was their first WP8 update and MS' as well.  Both parties were more cautious in the rollout.  Expect the next one within 2-3 weeks of the first rollout, possibly sooner.  MS is working with all carriers so they can feel confident in deploying during the same week.  But they are trying to make sure they (MS), the OEMs, and the carriers are all satisfied with the results.  The third deployment and the Blue deployment are both likely to be simultaneous for all WP8 users across all carriers and OEMs as long as the carrier and OEM updates are ready.  Verizon is working on being able to do this.  And they already have a deployment goal for GDR2.  It's near Memorial Day from what I gather.
  • Where do you get all this info from? Verizon is always slow and nothing as ever been hinted that they are working on a memorial day release.
  • Verizon and bell Canada always seem to be the last to roll out updates, still waiting for portico on my wife's HTC, but my Samsung ativ was pre loaded with it. Which leaves me wondering why its not out on the HTC?
  • There have been articles posted here on WPCentral that the Verizon HTC 8X and the Nokia 822 have started rollout of Portico. Its a staggered release.
  • Bell Canada should be shortly after Verizon then, awesome!
  • The "other" storage fix can't come soon enough!
  • "shrink storage" app, try it
  • Omg today is just.... NOKIA ARE ON FIRE!!!
  • Sounds great, but my BUILD 920 still hasn't gotten portico? any word if it ever will?
  • i have a freind whos BUILD 920 hasnt had portico and neither has my retail model (replacmement after a battery issue with my first one)
  • Didn't the BUILD version ahve some wonky supported freqs? It's quite likely there wont OTA upate for them.
    I'm sure there are discussion among the developers who got the phone on can they flahs the phone to new fw.
  • I have a BUILD 920 and have also not received the portico update. Further more, after contacting Nokia, I have been informed that there is no timeline for the update, even though practically all other 920s have either received the update or are now shipping with it. Way to got Microsoft and Nokia! Don't support developers!
  • I'm in the same boat, but to be fair, the phones were free and there must have only been about 2,500 of us anyways. So I can't be too angry if we don't get the same level of support as their actual retail phones get. That being said, I can't understand why it wouldn't be a trivial task to just push the update to your phones as well. They cannot be that different from retail models.
  • We are seriously screwed if Nokia/MS does not release any updates.  What happens when 8.5 hits? 
  • Same here.  Wondering if our phones may not get updates at all since they aren't retail.
  • Yup. I have the same concern
  • Will steer clear & wait for the official update as per country. Thank you
  • Like I sayd in the other article about the holiday season for the Blue Update...
    Wouldn't it make more sense if it were something like this?
    GDR2 - April           (~ 4 months after the GDR1)
    GDR3 - August       (~ 4 months after GDR2)
    Blue    - December (~ 4 months after GDR3)
  • Makes a bunch of sense, the frequent updates will show new users Microsoft is supporting the os, and will serve to bring more people in
  • I would have to image Blue would come out with any new WP 8.X devices this fall.  So that would put Blue in the September/October timeframe.
  • I'm thinking Blue will go out similarly to last year's 8.0 launch, and the original 7.0 launch with public availability in November 2013. As for GDR2 and 3, those aren't changing much that most users will notice so they will likely be on a faster schedule. In spite of the lack of carrier urgency for getting bug fixes and SSL cert revocations out with 7.x, I think Microsoft has finally proven their phone update system works well. And I think there's more faith in everyone getting it right now that the OEMs and Microsoft have been doing this for a few years and learned from Samsung what could go wrong.
  • I was thinking for the past few days that its been very quiet on the news front as far as Nokia is concerned. It was the lull before the storm!!
  • Please hurry up and fix Other.  I can't use my phone to do stuff a smartphone is supposed to do and devs are losing $ since users can't install apps.  7.5GB of other after shrink storage gave me back 250mb.
  • Try "storage shrink" app
  • Yea it took my other down below the 2 GB mark. Yay
  • Its not through fault of your own, just beginning to wonder if I should have got a Nokia over a htc... :L
  • It's getting to the point if you dont have a Nokia you dont have WP8
  • Sadly that seems to be true. I picked the 8X because it's the bext hardware for me size and aesthetically wise (I prefer the taller 720p res, the smaller 4.3" screen, the thinner and lighter body, and the soft touch material used) but I'm starting to think I should have just paid the extra (and dealt with the aesthetic sacrifices) for a 920 as HTC seem to have forgotten they even released any Windows Phones a few short months ago.
    With any luck Nokia will release a 720 form factor with a HD screen (and removable covers) later in the year. I was really hoping for one from MWC but alas.
  • I feel exactly the same buddy...
    And now i have to wait till the end of the year for a new phone...
  • @prettyconfused, I have an HTC8X bought for all the same reasons as yourself. Whilst I can see where you are coming from, being objective the 8X has had all the same OS updates. Its missing the Nokia exclusive apps but apart from that, the screen size, form factor etc is still enough of a reason to get one. I think its just all the Nokia stories on WPCentral make you feel left out!
  • Tried it, I got 250mb back.  Good but not a meaningful amount.  
  • If you haven't tried the shrink storage app yet, try clearing your IE history, Bing search history and the Here Drive/Maps search history. I picked up almost a 1 GB of space in the "other" this way...
  • Great tip, thanks, recovered 400 Mb, savings is savings, forgot all about these 3
  • Why no love for WP 7.8 ??
    We could use these features too.
  • What the hell, today i can't keep up with the news. I bet at WP central HQ its like a mad house.
  • This is turning in to NokiaWPCentral
  • When HTC or Samsung do *anything* remotely news worthy, I implore you to tip us. Because right now, both companies are MIA and boring as sin, sorry.
  • Yep, nothing new there. That is why my Titan II was upgraded to a 920.
  • i dont understand how instead of you guys pestering sammy and htc about doing ANYTHING AT ALL you bash wpcentral for not reporting about them doing nothing. LOL.
  • LOL nice
  • "...and now our top news story, HTC and Samsung have done nothing with their Windows Phones for the 87th day in a row.  Back to you Nokia."
  • I can't imagine them skipping an OS update, after all HTC were quick to roll Portico out. There is no need to do anything newsworthy about a future OS update.
  • Well said Daniel, this justifies me reading your articles over Thurrot's
  • It is becoming Nokia Phone, not Windows Phone. I feel as though Nokia is invested in WP not only more than HTC and Samsung, but even Microsoft. Although I have an 8X, as well, I understand that Nokia is the one making headlines simply because they are doing things noteworthy.
  • They are more interested in windows phone than any other company, even Microsoft. Lets say windows phone tanks at the end of this year, Nokia will be bankrupt soon after that. Microsoft is sitting on $40-70 billion so they can ride it out for a while.
  • Nokia is more invested in Windows Phone than Microsoft. Nokia bet their whole company on it... 
  • Nokia is invested all the way with WP. If WP goes down, so does Nokia. . HTC and Samsung are invested in Android and wp is just for some added security.
  • Hardly, Nokia has much more brewing than their smartphone business. Without it they would probably be more profitable at this point..
  • I get fed up with people saying MS aren't investing in WP. Come on, they created it. They are working on GDR and the Blue release. They just have decided to be a bit quieter with the update path so as not to give too much away to the competition.
    Also Nokia have to show more updates so that people prefer them over HTC/Samsung.
    MS have to ensure the success of WP as much as Nokia. Mobile is big and getting bigger each and every day. Look how people are moving to iPads and Android tablets in favour of a new pc/laptop. Look how people are looking to Chromebooks (though I have no idea why anyone would get one myself) and Macbooks instead of Windows due to tie-ing in with their iPhones and Android handsets. Mobile is KEY to everything going forward. Sure MS won't go under tomorrow if WP fails, but it would be a slow dragged out death nonetheless.*
    * - ok, Office, Sharepoint, Xbox and suchlike are billion dollar businesses and would keep them alive even if they ditched Windows tomorrow, but even still they need mobile and I've no doubt they're working really hard on WP - we just don't always see it.
  • +1000 this is feelings exactly, things are getting better and what other mobile company has an every 3 month upgrade schedule?
  • Might have something to do with the fact that Nokia is the only OEM that is currently invested in the platform. There is almost nothing newsworthy to report about HTC and Samsung when it comes to Windows Phone as of recent, it's that simple.
  • Nope. It's still a Windows Phone News, Fan, and Community site. Devoted to users and supporters of the platform. Since HTC and Samsung don't seem to fit in any of those catageories at the moment, and don't appear to care, they are not discussed as often.
  • Just to clarify, i never meant it in fault of your own, you guys just report the news that's available. Its just such a shame the other platforms cannot step up /:
  • Jonny8X
    What WP news has htc/Samsung come up with lately??
    Seems like Nokia is the only one who actually does something to make WP better...
  • ?What happened to ending code names with o
  • Reportedly they were moving away from that but even GDR1 was called "Portico" meaning GDR2 may get a name too. We'll dig around.
  • Why were the names ending with "o"? Any word on that?
  • RubinO... ;)
  • hahaha, nice one
  • Christ i haven't even got portico yet and now they talk about other updates. Give me portico first please then this update. Keep it up nokia
  • Just got portico a couple days ago on Verizon 822. Wife hasn't got portico for 8x yet... So for us Verizon people... Don't hold your breath!
  • Portico launched on Verizon 8Xs about two weeks ago
  • Yep. Got my 8x the day after Portico was announced for Verizon and the update as soon as I got home.
  • I'm lovin' this news great Nokia keep it don't lose steam keep that boiler stoked!
  • That is promising.
  • Another question, so is this update only for Nokia then? Surely they would need to test it on the other platforms too...
  • That is probably happening in the background.
  • Great day to be a 920 owner.
  • Totally agreed, very excited on all the cumulative updates.
  • Definitely some encouraging news. I'ts a shame people are complaining about Nokia and updates.  Nokia has no choice but to make things better. It's do or die for them. Why is that so hard to understand?
  • Look at this (shit):
    NOTHING changed
  • Another Nokia exclusive.
  • How come that my Lumia 820 still not updated to Portico :((
  • Excited for April. Possible a new wp8 update coming and a wii u update coming in April!
  • Auto rotate lock.... Visible clock and battery percentage at all times. Come on MS, how hard can It be?
  • I personally like the battery being hidden (it doesn't take much to swipe down when I want to see more info). Keeps the interface cleaner. The clock's always visible for me... (except in some apps where the app itself hides the system tray).
    But I agree that the orientation lock is something that really should be implemented.
  • Or separate volume controls for Bluetooth, ringer, phone sounds, etc. The Lumia 920's Bluetooth audio (not in call) volume is too low, while the ringer is too loud. There is no volume between 0/30 and 30/30 that balances both well.
  • Orientation lock will be fantastic. I'm not sure why it's not already a feature.
  • I can confirm that the clear storage is now built in on this recent firmware and system update- .1308.0004 and nokia;)
  • And boom goes the dynamite!
  • BOOM BABY!! lol what show is that from?
  • That old wrestler looking for treasure
  • LMFAO... American Diggers
  • Is this an exclusive?  I don't understand how an update to make the OS useable could be offered as an exclusive.  My phone does not function as a smart phone anymore because of MS' failure to beta test the storage management, this better come to HTC devices too.  
  • Build it and they will come
  • My Lumia 920 is ready bring it on
  • Forget all the other updates.....where's my FM radio ??? MS pull your fingers out and bring it back please !! I'm sure there are enough blogs complaining about this, so hopefully MS listened.
    I know everyone else is droning on about using streaming radio, but why wouldn't FM be enabled as default in the OS when it was in WP7?
  • Have you tweeted @windowsphone or @joebelfiore and let them know?
  • If that's the way to get this through to MS, I might actually create a twitter account !
    But seriously, is that a real option ? Hopefully enough WPCentral users will follow suit and bombard Joe with tweets.
  • Seriously...I don't know, I must have done something right because the windows phone website #feedxxx added me as a follower, I think it's great technology allows us to give real time feed back to companies, give twitter a twirl, start by asking Microsoft about Paul's articles lol
  • Hope FM RADIO would be added as well on this update.
  • Try tweeting @windowsphone or @joebelfiore like inside man 55 recommends !
  • HAIL YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! keep it comin' NOKIA!
  • and MS!!! lol.. whoops
  • Is the GDR2 update going to be available on the Nokia Lumia 928