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Give it back: Microsoft asks for return of Lumia 920 with early build of Windows Phone 8.1

For being a weekend it’s been somewhat busy. Yesterday we had leaked screenshots showing off a developer build of Windows Phone 8.x – notification center in tow.

The notification center was obviously the biggest piece of info from those screenshots, but there was plenty more info to be gleamed from the phone. Quick recap after the break and a story of what happened to the phone bought off of eBay that contained this build of the Windows Phone. And don’t forget, our sources say those screenshots are an “early” build of the next-version OS.

The images were posted in a Reddit thread from user Chinaman28 who had bought a Lumia 920 off eBay. Apparently the device was never meant for sale because it contained a version of Windows Phone that wasn’t ready for the public yet. We won’t know whether it was someone selling a stolen/lost device or an employee at Microsoft accidently shipping the wrong Lumia 920 in his collection.

Either way, Microsoft reached out to the Reddit user to reclaim their lost property. They reimbursed him his purchase and still gave him a new Lumia 920. A fairly happy ending for Chinaman28.

Further down in the Reddit thread you learn some interesting things about this Lumia 920 running a prototype version of Windows Phone. Mostly the fact that the words “MSFT” were laser etched into the back of the device. When booting up the phone he also saw “not for resale” in red. I guess you could say, wait for it, that was a red flag.

One little thing a lot of us missed in those screenshots from yesterday is something that will make any science fiction fans giddy with joy. You’ll see it above. But there’s an app called zCortanApp. I’m probably ready way too much into this, but could you imagine if our future voice assistant on Windows Phone sounded just like Cortana from Halo? That would be a coup de grâce to Apple’s Siri, in Halo matchmaking we call that a headshot. Other items noticed on the Microsoft owned Lumia 920:

New Features and changes Windows Phone 8.1 Blue (experimental or in development)

  • Notification center
  • Ability to close apps from the multitasking window
  • Sort apps by most used
  • New calendar interface with a week view
  • Data sense available

Windows Phone Central has been able to confirm that this these images are from Windows Phone 8.1 aka 'Blue' and not GDR3. These images were from an earlier build of that OS and the Notification center as seen has since been removed from later iterations, having changed into a more People Hub-like experience before being removed altogether. That's not to say Notifications aren't coming but rather Microsoft is experimenting with different versions of it for 8.1.

In other words while the images are authentic, they should be taken as a snapshot of the development process and not the final form of those features. Windows Phone 8.1 Blue is not expected until the end of the year, although ship dates as we understand have not yet been finalized.

Source: Reddit

  • ...and then sue the hell out of them when they return it....ohhhh....sorry. Thought this was Apple we were talking about.
  • Ha ha... I got it!
  • Or send the local law enforcemnt with a search warrant to collect the phone for them.
  • Cortana as my assistant = pure awesomeness. I cannot believe I didn't think about that as an answer to Siri for WP. I sure hope that comes to be...
  • Every morning.. she'd be like "Wake up Barret1134"
  • and she will then fall into rampancy and then every morning she'd be like "Watch your future's end Barret1134".
  • Just like my girlfriend 
  • You might not realize this, but you've just said a mouthful. Wait till more leaks come out...
  • Explain. Please. :)
  • It's not the voice. must *search* some more ;-)
  • Something to do with universal search? Please explain more
  • That's great, but I'll use these when and only when I can put a custom voice profile on it.  A generic professional voice assistant is not interesting.  One with the voice of, say, a neurotoxin-addicted rogue AI from Aperture Laboratories, would be priceless.
  • Never played Halo before so was unfamiliar with Cortana's voice. After 2 minutes of YouTube footage I want it bad!!! This would be so awesome.
  • Yeah, me too
  • Would be amazing!
  • Halo needs to die, I loved it in its prime but now its just a cash cow.
  • Bungie sold the franchise after reach to 343, they ruined it with halo 4, bungie was the " in prime" dev
  • 8.1? Wohoo!! Some great improvements I saw there! :)
  • well, looks like this wasn't fake, then.  
    can't wait for some official 8.1 announcements. 
  • Yeah I can't wait either but I hope the notification center is built in and not a required tile.
  • A tile wouldn't really be that bad? A single tile with a counter and clicking it shows the notifications
  • But I don't want to have to go back to the home screen to access a live tile. Less clucks the better, as in a pull-down or swipe-over from any screen within any app any time.
  • This makes no sense. The only screen that would be doable would be the lockscreen. App screens have the flow to each page. So it's lockscreen or homescreen. I say a clickable spot for notifications on the lockscreen and a tile on the homescreen.
  • what about a double click on the lock button? :D
  • See I was thinking using the app switcher as notification center. Accessible anywhere/anytime. Hold back button, and have a bar at the bottom of the screen that you could slide up to reach notifications. Very smooth, very fast. I'd call that doable
  • Personally I was thinking a swipe up gesture from the windows button, and then you would see a notification center pop up, I think that would be nice and fluid, access from anywhere, any app. Convinient too.
  • It just has to be there. I'll live with it as a tile, long press of some button or other, swipe this way or that way, whatever. But it must be in the next version if WP or I'm out. I can live with the other shortcomings (although the email client is also bordering on unusable) but not this one.
  • removed: accidental double-post
  • Well, quite a difference from Apple, calling out the San Fran Police "Hit Squad" to seize, arrest and harass people. Kudos to both MS and the lucky recipient for handling it in a peaceful, respectful, and civilized manner. If anyone needs evidence that nice, spiritual Apple has morphed into a souless, evil Corporate Monster, just compare their reponses to the lost iPhone 5 and this!
  • Hear, hear!
  • Just wait until they find out who sold it.
  • It was Ben the PC guy lol :-P
  • Well that's a different matter altogether. And wait till they find out who "lost" it.
  • lolz
  • Lol.. Oh yeah! Sad guy who sold it. Lmao... Ben the pc guy? XD
  • I'd love to agree, and to some extent I do, but didn't Apple try to be civilized at first? I think, was it Gizmodo that had it, wasn't cooperating.
  • Microsoft better bring WP8.1 early.
  • End of the article. Read it. Come back, delete comment, save face ;)
  • You catch everyone don't you? Lol
  • Well, I try to answer questions in comments if people have 'em and I didn't address in the article--that's party of my job and I enjoy it. But when people just don't read it, gets frustrating after awhile, lol.
  • Gotta catch'em aaaall! ^_^
  • Hey Daniel, sorry, I got a little excited. Can you have a look at this thread here:
    This "Google Maps" app by Live Maps seems to combine HERE Maps and Google POIs (Also one review says this). I don't currently have a WP. Can you check that app please.
  • i have this app and its pretty good, default layer it uses here but you can add google layer too and will open here drive for all your driving needs, not a bad app.
  • Wow !! looks nice !!!
  • In your article you in fact stated that the dates have not been finalized.
  • +1 how can people even comment are ask questions if they haven't even read the article.
  • -1 original comment made more sense than the reply.
  • That's "party" of your job?
  • Hold on, so you are clearly implying.. no, saying, that 8.1 will come earlier than the end of the year? :P
  • So much for the people who said the story was fake....
  • I'm just glad to hear that that notification center was just one of a number of different concepts.
  • Me too.
  • Looks to be a solid update that adds some, in my opinion, necessary features. 
    Now give me the option to add a SwiftKey/Swype like keyboard so I can get my wife onboard with a Lumia 521.
  • Yes! A swiping keyboard is sorely missing from WP. Pecking at a tiny keyboard is incredibly inefficient.
  • TO ALL PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE SWYPE: So, adding more features is a bad thing? You're starting to sound like the PS4 fanboys...
  • All WP fanboys are like this. They don't want ANY new features added for some reason. Every time someone asks for a feature that WP doesn't include they always say that it's a stupid unnecessary feature. Then Microsoft adds some feature that people have been asking for and suddenly it's great. The fanboys have all been saying notification center is useless and tiles are a better solution. Now Microsoft is implementing a notification center. Soon it'll be a great feature that no one can do without. 
    It's like the iOS fanboys all over again. C&P useless. MMS useless. Third party programs useless. Notification center useless. 
  • no notification center is actually a valid argument, seeing as more developers implement live tiles then they do push notifications, already making an nc more flawed on Wp than the tiles (both require developer implementation). As far as fastkey/swype, i think that would be fine, but should be optional. When i use my dads phone, a samsung, with swype, it often thinks im swyping to another letter when all im doing is pressing a key, ahich would make for a problem for typers like me who keep having to backspace words that are autofilled and attempt to spell out what word we wanted. So perhaps an additional keyboard under keyboard settings that includes a swype like feature would be best.
    Windows Phone could use some features from other phones too, i will agree. Viable Voice assistant and search, shared file access between apps (already implemented with the documents folder on Windows Phone 8 for Office Documents/PDFs), a file chooser like that of Windows 8/RT, cardDAV and calDAV support, full photo view in people hub, new motion controls for devs to take advantage of, and sound equilizer are some things i can name off the top of my head.
    However, things such as a Notification Center, Lock Screen app access and widgets, and a file browser, all may sound good to some in theory, but in a real life implementation, they would be broken or worthless. They would be: undermining the OS design (its a lock screen for a reason), lacking more developer support than the already implemented alternative (Notificiation center would require more developer intervention then live tiles), or would open the os up to malicious intent and/or create more worries for the average end user (a file browser could easily be exploited by an app, if implemented, and would make file management even more complicated by adding a new method on top of the current way of doing things, being opening the file types respective management app (Office, Pictures, etc...) and deleting them from there.)
    So some cries of unecessity or uselessness have valid cause, even if the user making these cries doesnt realize. But others are just whiny complaints from those who are unopen to improvement and innovation.
  • Same here, I prefer to have Swype option since I can type/swype words without having the need to always look at the keyboard.
  • Personally I hate swype. I can type great on my W8 keyboard. I also know some people have larger hands and some have fat fingers. Some have small ones and still like swype. That's all my son uses on his G3. So I definitely think W8 needs it. Even though I'll never use it.
  • I would love swype or swiftkey. Turns out the keyboard on my 920 just doesn't agree with my long fingers. So often I type "sk e" instead of "some", for example. It seems to be letters toward the right side of the keyboard. I'm just constantly correcting mistypes. Anyway, swype would maybe help.
  • This week has been like a Law & Order episode with electronics . . .
  • Remember, some of the screens weren't actually WP8.1, but actually Chronos Calendar.
  • I have Chronos Calendar and at quick glance could not find that kind of week view in it (note: I don't actually use the app so possible I just don't know where to look :) ).
  • Definitely not Chronos Calendar.
  • I meant the live tile.
  • I don't see the need for the notification center. Nor do I want one.
  • That makes one of you. :)
  • I am with you....... Billiam149.  I do not need either.  I hope I can turn it off, or not use it at all.
  • Thank you! Is it really so difficult to scroll the start screen to look for numbers? I have every thing that I would get a notification for at the top so its all right there. No need to make it more like Droid and IOS.
  • It's not all about "looking for numbers". There is no evidence a toast ever existed once you miss it. That's an example right there for why people might want it. It's a subtle insult to imply people are getting mad at having to look for the numbers on tiles... That's not all there is to it. You don't need one, great, but others might. Try to look at it from more than just a "numbers on tiles" issue
  • If you read back to the original post related to this story, it mentioned how the notification was a pinned tile, so if you don't want it you don't pin it... Also BOTH articles mentioned how the notification center has been removed in newer builds, so as of now its not there...
  • Cool story, bro.
  • I agree, I personally don't need a notification center. But I hope they add it for those that do need it. Also gives some people more of a reason to look at WP as a viable option.
  • +1 I will never use it, but I want it in the OS so everyone shuts up about it :P
  • Don't use it. Problem solved yay!
  • To me this is exactly like Instagram. I could give a sh*t less about it, but I'll be happy for the platform when an official app comes along. In order for the platform to be great you want level pegging in every aspect. Notification center is no different. FWIW I don't see need for it personally. I don't use it on my mac and didn't on my iPhone (before I saw the light and came to WP ;) )
  • You people who say that the tiles are a notification centre have clearly never used a device with one. Sick of all these arguments from people saying they don't want it. If you're happy with how things are then you don't need to use it, leave it for the people who actually understand why a notification centre is needed in the OS. Guaranteed all these WP fanboys saying they don't want this feature/don't want that feature will use it and be glad that it is there.
  • +1 for Cortana inside my Windows Phone. #halo
  • I don't know about US law, but in the UK if you unknowingly buy stolen goods they still don't belong to you. They have to be returned to the rightful owner and you lose your money. (Have to take seller to court to recover monies.)
    In this case, the rightful owner (MS) got their goods back and did something they didn't need to do, i.e. give the buyer a new phone. Good on them!
  • New phone and full refund = free phone for the hassle... Gotta love big corps doing the right thing.
  • LOL What does that have to do with LeiChat's comment?
  • SkyDrive
  • I wouldn't give it back to MSFT. If you paid for it, its yours. I dont care if it was stolen or not.
    EDIT: I welcome policewomen knocking on my door, I could then just say that I lost it. I would NEVER give that device to MSFT. If they want it badly, they can pay it badly.
  • That's fine so long as you don't complain if the police come knocking on your door, as is Microsoft's legal right.
  • I'm sure you would think different if it was something stolen from you.
  • The buyer didn't intentionally steal. There is a difference!
  • No it doesn't matter in the eyes of the law it is illegal to posses stolen property....
  • -1 For no logic, lol. Microsoft could not have handled it better.
    EDIT: The original comment just went from -1 to -1000000. Somebody call up the ugliest lady cops on this guy.
  • +1 for the -1 in logic on that one!
  • And a +1 for the +1 on the -1
  • Its illegal to buy stolen goods. Just FYI.
  • What if you illegally purchase legal goods?
  • If you do it knowingly LOL
  • It's not like Microsoft is asking for it back and nothing in return. Not only did they refund the price he paid, but they gave him a brand new 920 too. Apart from the screenshots (which are already uploaded online), what more can you do with it? I would've given it back too.
  • Such a deep level of understanding of the law and how property works.
  • +1
  • They would have found you through PRISM anyway and by that time considered a technology terrorist and would be arrested and detained by the Dept. of Homeland Security and maybe have an extended Cuban holiday adventure for a few decades. 
  • ➕1000000
    We have our winner today folks!!!
  • I concur!  an additional + 1000000 for timeliness!
  • Laugh today lads for tomorrw we cry!  
  • In the UK it is still illegal to buy items that were stolen, whether intentionally or not. I guess the same applies here.
  • I like windows phone as it is.
  • Some people say that about Windows XP too.
  • Yep, there's absolutely nothing that needs to be improved. At all. Ever. It's perfect and I hope they never come up with new features for us.
  • Good job Microsoft! That's the right way to handle it.
  • This leak was very bad timing for Microsoft with WWDC's iOS7 showcase tomorrow. Tomorrow's presentation by Apple will probably be very polished and close to final yet the images in this leak look dreadful.
    Glad to hear it is a very early version of 8.1 as it all looks very inelegant and seems to fly in the face of existing Windows Phone design language. Granted the red doesn't help but I'm not so sure it would look loads better in cyan.
    I hope Build brings us some real information about WP8.1 though, it's irritating as all hell that Windows 8.1 gets a public preview in a couple of weeks and an actual release in two months yet the seemingly more and more useless Windows Phone team struggle to even release a fix for the 'other' storage issue six months after release let alone a new version of the OS.
  • I couldn't have said it better. What I already commented is that I also thought the notification center didn't look like it was made for WP8. And it irritates me too that they are still struggeling with the other storage. I can't reduce it anymore and it is already over 6gb of the 14gb available. I am so pissed! I hope that they are already testing the new version ( I thought that was supposed to be GDR2) with the carriers and phone brands ( I have an unbranded HTC 8X). And 'other' is not the only bug in WP8. I also have noticed that my phone is getting slower somehow. Really weird because it has an 1.5 gHz processor and 1gb ram. Sometimes when I open an app, the tile is getting deformed and getting ready for the tile animations and stuff, but nothing is happening. And sometimes when I start an app up, It takes also realy long moments to open in (hangs on startup screen) and that with random apps, not specific apps. 
  • The good news is, what you see RE: a Notification Hub will not be part of 8.1. No need to worry there.
  • Thanks for the info :P. I read the article again and that's indeed what they're saying there. But they also say they maybe are experimenting with it so...
  • They are no doubt working on one to some capacity, it will also likely be a feature you can toggle on and off, so I wouldn't worry too much.
  • Is that available on Nokia Lumia 620
  • The obvious answer to your silly question is... If your phone runs windows 8 your phone will get the update... Its not a device specific OS update. That has never happened and never will.
  • Except, uh, wp8 for everyone with 7.5 devices. Just sayin'.
  • Except, uh, Lumia 620 is a WP8 device, your point is moot... Though I'm not sure what exactly your point was...
  • "That has never happened..." was their point. Microsoft did not release an upgrade for windows phone 7 users due to hardware incompatibility.
    this has caused fear that the same will happen to wp8, despite microsofts reassurances and the fact theyd need to change the kernel and rewrite hardware compatibility again to do so, which doesnt play into microsofts efforts to combine xbox, tablet, phone, and pc.
  • Ok but MSFT never made the claim that WP7 would upgrade to WP8, it was just assumed... And many of us were wrong... Also I specifically stated that has never happened for a single device to get an OS update and the others not (WP7 case in point, none of them upgradable). So you still missed the point of my statement. He was asking of WP 8.1 would be available for the 620... It will be. Were talking about a WP 8 update, not an OS upgrade to WP9... That will be a different story when that issue rolls around.
  • i know this. i never assumed anything with wp7 but many did. i didnt miss the point of your statement, just trying to explain, what appeared to me, to be glassadam's train of thought on his reply.
  • I am 99% certain MS will say sth like 'we cannot upgrade to WinPhone 9 any devices without an aluminium case with plastic coating' they played their tricks twice (WinMobile 6.5 and WinPhone 7.5/7.8) they will most l8kely do it again,that's why I lefy their platform and intend to stay with an imperfect but easily rootable one. They didn't promise the Apollo upgrade and I didn't promise remaining their loyal customer. I tried, got kicked by them right where my pants meet the chair and got it from Microsoft twice, they thought they were smart forcing me to buy a new Win device but I refused to do what they wanted and got a great Samsung device running Jelly Bean. They remained with their 3% market share...
  • For the record, most developers have known about Apple and Google "overlord" tactics for years. Typically people come out of school loving them, then try and earn a living and realize neither of them have EVER done anything but alienate developers, in an attempt to control. Microsoft has ALWAYS embraced developers. Always. Since 1975. :)
  • Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!
  • Exactly what went through my head too.
  • It worked, it worked! :)
  • Actually yes, I am a Microsoft Student Partner here in Egypt.
    As for the amount of support I get from Microsoft, this will make me never think about doing anything but working on any of their platforms.
    Man they give the Student Partners an MSDN Ultimate subscription for free !!!!!!!
  • Italian Microsoft Student Partner here, I couldn't agree more ;)
    (BTW, Ahmed, are you on the worldwide MSP Facebook group?)
  • Well I think changes the rumours to pretty much confirmed.
  • I already thought that the notification center in the picture didn't had the WP8 touch & feel. So I really hope that it is still there in the 8.1 update with good looks and I hope not that this notification center was the only one they ever tested... Fingers crossed!
  • So GDR3 comes at the end of the year, so that means Blue won't be out til' Next Summer? D: That's to long! :(
  • I'm with you. I hope it doesn't take that long. But Microsoft is not known for being fast. We shell see.
  • I expect GDR3 by fall.
  • When do you expect GDR2? I really hope it has an 'other' storage fix!
  • GDR2 launches with the Lumia 925...which is like next week. So for rest of the devices, in the coming weeks.
  • If GDR2 is released on the 925 next week, that means most of us won't get it until fall.  Look how long it took for general users to finally get GDR1.  So you may expect GDR3 by fall, but I'm not expecting it on my 822 until winter at best.  Not saying what year...  I guess it's good to be cautious about doing these roll outs, but it sure gets frustrating waiting to get it when you're hearing about all the juicy goodness others are experiencing.
    Regarding 8.1, wonderful to see that they're adding the ability to kill apps from a central point (like tabs in IE), and adding a week view in Calendar.  Hope both features stick!
  • Has it been confirmed that we would y receive GDR2, then "Blue" then GDR3? I can't imagine them staggering W8 and WP8 updates too far apart.
  • GDR2 comes out this month outside of the US, and in July for the United States. The Lumia 925 comes with it, so it'll probably be rolled out for other phones once the 925 is out.
  • If anything the Lumia 920 on at&t will get it this month. We have been getting updates before anyone else.
  • GDR 2 > GDR3 > Windows Phone 8.1 Blue
  • GDRD2 > R2D2 ? :P
  • Bear beats battlestar galactica!!!
  • I haven't even received 1314 yet...
  • Good job, MS! You are teasing us with fixes rather than features in a big update far far away (maybe next year).
  • Notification center :D, they need to re adjust the volume to something like the iphone with a scroll feature
  • But i do think this stunt was pulled on purpose for more exposure and talk of Windows Phone
  • I don't think so. From my interaction with people at MS, they're really kind of pissed and frustrated at it. It's a work in progress, not finalized for public show.  It's like if I photographed you rolling out of bed and made it your profile pic ;)
  • Maybe Microsoft should publicly change their profile pic sometime soon then,)
  • I happen to look my best as I roll out of bed in the morning... Its all down hill from there!
  • Or an artist ahowing their painting when it was only half finished. There are a lot of changes and improvements to WindowsRT, 8 and WindowsPhone coming and I for one am very glad i moved from ipad/iphone to WinRT tablet and WindowsPhone with HTC8X. It's not perfect but it's damned close.
  • valid point, still its a good thing for us users because now microsoft know what their consumers want to see
  • Whoops 
  • It was a cool week and weekend. I remember Sam's post on Nokia's picture with Abe...