Microsoft reveals Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1, due next week for Preview users

Microsoft unveils Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1. Here are all the details.

As expected, Microsoft is finally revealing all there is about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1. Known internally as GDR1 for 'general distribution release,' this update is one of two for the 8.1 operating system in 2014. The news comes out of Beijing, China where Microsoft's Joe Belfiore announced the release during his keynote, in addition to the expansion of Cortana to the UK and China.

Update 1 is relatively minor in comparison to what 8.1 delivered this spring, but it still contains numerous new features for consumers, and hardware manufacturers. Leaks of these features in Update 1 came over the weekend and were accurate.

Additionally, starting next week, those enrolled in the free Preview for Developers program are slated to get an update to their phones to take advantage of the new OS refresh.

Live Folders

Revealed earlier by Microsoft on accident, Live Folders allows users dynamically to create folders on the Start screen. Microsoft calls these "Live" folders because whatever app or game is included in the folder still has their Live Tile enabled. In other words, your group of Tiles in the Folder Tile still reflect pushed updates, making them highly dynamic.

Although Microsoft appreciated the effort by Nokia in offering their App Folder app, Live Folders is "more consistent" with their design philosophy by continuing the Live Tile paradigm that began with Windows Phone 7.

Folders get created by dragging and dropping Tiles on top of each other, and they can later be renamed or rearranged according to user's needs.

Xbox Music Live Tile and performance improvements

Microsoft and the Xbox Music team are continuing to improve and refine the Xbox Music app. Starting with Update 1, the new OS allows the Xbox Music team finally to implement a Live Tile and Kid's Corner, which are features due in a couple of weeks.

For users who do not enroll in Update 1 Preview, they can continue to get the bimonthly updates, including one due this Friday that brings some significant performance improvements and a "quickplay" of recent playback activities.

Windows Phone Central has more details about this forthcoming update later this week, including an interview with members of the Xbox Music team. Stay tuned.

SMS merge and forwarding, Live Tile for the Store

Update 1 also brings a few other improvements, including SMS merge and forwarding, which gives users "the ability to select multiple SMS messages for deletion and forwarding."

In addition, the Store Tile is now a Live Tile, delivering info about the latest apps and games every six hours throughout the day. This behavior now reflects the Store Live Tile for Windows 8.1.

Apps Corner

Perhaps one of the more interesting, if not niche, additions to Update 1 is Apps Corner, which Microsoft describes as a "sandboxed" mode for users to show only a select amount of apps. Considered more for businesses and retailers, Apps Corner lets employees hand their Windows Phones over to customers without fear of exposing personal data, launching unauthorized apps or where there is no Master Data Management (MDM).

VPN through Wi-Fi hotspots, High-voltage charging, Smart covers, Improved IE compatibility and more

To close, Update 1 brings a new assortment of options and improvements, including VPN functionality through a public Wi-Fi hotspot, and improved IE rendering of mobile websites. The latter works by changing the user-agent string to let websites connect Internet Explorer as if it were a different mobile browser, greatly enhancing mobile usage and compatibility for Windows Phone users.

Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support for Snapdragon 800 processor is included, letting Windows Phone users with the appropriate chipset take advantage Qualcomm's rapid, high voltage USB charging. Consequently, charging times should be upwards of 75% faster. Citing Qualcomm's data for a 3300 mAh battery, you can see the difference in the table below:

Support for Smart covers, like HTC's Dot View case, lets OEMs create unique flip cases that activate an app or Live Lock screen when open or closed. There are rumors of an HTC One W8 Windows Phone, complete with a Dot View case to take advantage of this feature in Update 1.

Update 1 also brings advanced support for Bluetooth standards PAN (personal area network) 1.0 profile, aptX codec support for A2DP, and browsing support for AVRCP. These new standards give customers better streaming and compatibility for Windows Phone media.

Finally, more support for device resolutions are in Update 1, including 1280 x 800 WXGA, 540 x 960 native qHD and screen sizes of 6.01" to 7" for the 1280 x 768 WXGA resolution. These changes are for OEMs who would like to leverage their existing supply chains from other equipment lines to make Window Phones, reducing costs and expediting releases.

More to come

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 comes on the heels of the Windows Phone 8.1 refresh, and it shows a significant step up in speed from Microsoft. Considering the vast majority of Windows Phone owners have yet to received the official 8.1 rollout, the idea that the Update 1 preview is ahead of the official release is an interesting turn of events.

Questions remain whether or not all of these features and improvements meet the needs – and wants – of users, but it does appear Microsoft is in overdrive mode. Rumors of an Update 2 for Windows Phone 8.1 due later in November are still circulating, making this the most rapid release cycle yet for Microsoft's mobile OS.

Regarding the current hold on Lumia Cyan updates for those on the Preview program, Microsoft is planning on a fix for that for users, though they currently have nothing to report on the matter.

When?

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 for the Preview for Developers program is expected to begin sometime next week. Keep checking Window Phone Central for more information about when that happens, or head into our dedicated forums to discuss the Preview program and Update 1 if you have any questions.

Also, remember to use the Windows Phone UserVoice page from Microsoft to suggest and vote for your favorite features. Decisions about the OS live and die on UserVoice, so make your voice heard. Learn more about Microsoft's UserVoice initiative here.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

617 Comments
  • Really looking forward to folders and Smart covers.
  • How can we get cyan then if we upgrade to gdr1? And please fix the Xbox games hub.
  • This is great question;
  • This has nothing to do with Cyan. If you are on GDR1 you get Cyan when MS releases the update for it.
  • Looks like most lumias will get GDR 1 before cyan then getting cyan will backtrack the changes of GDR1 right?
  • Cyan is a firmware update. Gdr1 is an os update. Theres a huge difference.
    Short answer to your question is- no, it won't.
  • I just noticed the classic blue & pink colors are back for the WPCentral website. Glad they changed it back!  
  • I would not be surprised if GDR1 requires Cyan to already be installed.
  • How? Cyan is for Lumias only. GDR 1 is For all windows phones running WP8.1. Your Reasoning will reslut in GDR 1 only being for Lumiasn and it isnt
  • It does require cyan that's why its for preview for developers
  • Your logic makes no sense as there is no logic at all to your statement. OS updates do not require firmware ones, otherwise dev preview users would not have been able to use 8.1 before Cyan, since according to your thinking they're being released together and thus must need each other. We'll get this update 1 on all WPs and our Lumias will get Cyan whenever fixes are in place. Easy to understand.
  • Misinformation abounds...
  • The best bet would be to downgrade from 8.1 preview to 8, upgrade to Cyan, then reactivate developer preview and update to GDR1
  • But can I update to GDR1 before updating cyan?
  • it is better to update cyan first.. so that you dont have to downgrade your version...
  • Yep, but I won't update Cyan if there's no other way than downgrade.
  • yes bro there is no other way to get cyan update rather than to downgrade the phone...
  • yet... :)
  • For now. As stated in the article: Regarding the current hold on Lumia Cyan updates for those on the Preview program, Microsoft is planning on a fix for that for users, though they currently have nothing to report on the matter.
  • MS is working on a fix for the PFD. Until then Cyan is on hold (if released in your Country or Carrier) for those on the PFD.
  • This. There is so much misinformation being spread. If you don't yet have Cyan (assuming you have a Lumia, since no other phone will get Cyan), you have two choices. 1. Downgrade your phone to 8.0 and upgrade with the OTA update, not the preview (assuming the OTA is available for you phone at this time). 2. Wait for Microsoft to fix the problem and start sending it out again. As for needing Cyan to get GDR1 preview? No. Since Lumias are the only phones that will EVER get Cyan, how can it be a requirement for GDR1? Answer: It can't. Of course, there may be features in the OS upgrade that require certain capabilities in the firmware, but that just means that those features won't work without those firmware capabilities. You may have to wait for Cyan (or a similar firmware update from OEMs other than Nokia) for those particular features, but the OS upgrade will work otherwise. Since the firmware update (Cyan) and the OS update (GDR1) are updating two different parts of the whole phone, it is not necessary for them to be installed in any specific order, unless for some reason MS decides to put that requirement on the OS update, which is possible. So no, if you already have GDR1 installed, you will not have to uninstall it in order to install Cyan when it comes out for your phone.
  • Misinformation about Windows products is a must. It can not go undone. It's the only reason Windows 8.x had such a bad reputation, besides lack of proper advertisement. Hopmedic is 100% correct about Cyan and WP8.1 and GDR1. So stop with the BS.
  • "the only reason"?  Wow.  Haha.  Nice dream world you're living in there.
  • Well, I've read reports of people not being able to update firmware (Amber to Black) when installing a newer OS (8.1DP) than the one that goes with Black, and effectively being stuck on Amber until Cyan release (unless downgrading). By this logic, installing 8.1 GDR1 on Black without waiting for Cyan would be an issue.
  • There are always a few people with problems. That does not make a rule.
  • But isn't 8.1 a requirement for GDR1? And since Cyan is coming bundled with 8.1 it means they need it first anyways. If they don't want to go DP, that is.
  • Yes. 8.1 is a requirement. But cyan is not. Those of us running the developer preview have 8.1. We will be able to get the GDR next week, even without having Cyan. If you don't go DP, you won't get GDR until it is released to the public, probably late this fall. I read somewhere that November was a target, but don't remember where I read it and don't know how reliable it is.
  • In multiple deletetion picture...it shows "chat on facebook"..can we chat on facebook in inbuilt messaging app of phone in wp 8.1 upgrade 1..& is this same as wp8...please someone reply...i wanna know it eagerly
  • Excellent spot!!
    They may be backtracking.. how interesting.
  • No, you can´t... Personally I think it sucks, but WP 8.1 comes with a ton of other features so it´s still worth updating. 
  • No one is sure about this..but before on windows 8 we can do..
  • I noticed that too but wasn't sure. I hope they revert some of the unnecessary removals they made.
  • There is NO reason at all you would have to downgrade. You upgrade your OS to update 1 (just like you did with 8.1 dev preview) and you can upgrade firmware later when they fix the phone locking bugs. Completely different processes.
  • Who's on first?
  • ....Yes
  • Microsoft is requiring all Lumia devices to downgrade to WP8.0 before upgrading to Cyan.  Therefore, you will be able to upgrade to GDR1, but once your carrier releases the Cyan update, you will have to downgrade your phone back to WP8.0 before you can upgrade to WP8.1 with Cyan and then after you have upgraded to WP8.1 with Cyan, you can reupgrade your phone to WP8.1 GDR1 Developer Preview.  Kinda sucks, but if you want the lastest and greatest...   Also, if anyone out there is NOT familiar with upgrading and downgrading software to their phone, DON'T INSTALL THE DEVELOPER PREVIEW!  Developer Previews usually have problems.  That's why we are "previewing" it, to find the bugs and problems and report them to Microsoft so they can fix it before it goes public as a final version.  If you don't know how to downgrade your phone or utilize "work-arounds" for issues, then DON'T INSTALL THE DEVELOPER PREVIEW!   If you do install the Developer Preview anyway, then don't complain about issues on these forums.  Report them to Microsoft and wait for the fix.
  • "Developer Previews usually have problems." Totally wrong. There have only been two Developer Previews released for WP, GDR3 and Windows Phone 8.1. They were not released to "find the bugs and problems", that's what the Beta versions were for, and Previews were NOT beta. The Preview for Decelopers program is for the public and is safe. It is not some untested beta code they are releasing on the world. They were public releases, only ahead of and independent of the carrier releases. Both were the exact same versions as the subsequent official releases. They had no preview-related issues, until the Bitlocker/Cyan update issue which may or may not be Preview-related (it might just as well be an issue with official WP8.1 as well for all we know), or be an issue with the Cyan firmware. So saying they "usually" have problems is simply wrong. 
  • No, you are the one who is "Totally wrong."The developer preview is exactly what is says it is by name, a DEVELOPER PREVIEW.  It is NOT as you say, "for the public and it is safe."  It is released to developers to test their apps (existing and new) on the operating system to catch any bugs and problems that may exist with their apps and APIs.  It is by no means a "finished product ready for distrbution to everyone."  It may, in fact, end up using the same code by the time it goes out as a "FINAL RELEASE," but then again, there may also be some API changes made for app developers.  This is why Microsoft warns you that it may "void your warranty" on some devices, because it is NOT a finished product ready for mass distribution.  Otherwise they would just release it to the public without ever doing a developer preview.  I have a Lumia Icon and had the 928 as well.  I did the developer preview on both phones and had some "issues" with both.  Delay in waking from power button, speaker issues, screen brightness issues, lag.  All issues I experienced as well as others, so for you to declare there are "no issues" with the developer preview is TOTALLY WRONG!  If you dont' believe me, BING IT!
  • Yet all evidence points to the 8.1 dev preview actually being the same as RTM and its been strongly hinted that this is the "enthusiasts program" in disguise. Plus many of the DP problems are still present with the official update so yeah, there's nothing making it specifically for developers apart from the name.
  • You have no clue what you're talking about. I'm not even going to respond to this idiocy again. There's plenty of info about the DP being the exact same version as the release (see Daniel Rubinos article about the release of the 930 for example).
  • I never said it couldn't be the same as the final version.  I said it MAY NOT be the same.  It is a DEVELOPERS PREVIEW.  NOT A FINAL RELEASE.  There CAN be changes between the two, but MAY NOT be changes.  The PURPOSE of the Developer Preview is so app developers can test their apps to ensure they work properly BEFORE the FINAL RELEASE goes out.  IF a developer has a problem, they can contact Microsoft who can either help them adjust their app or make slight changes to the API for them to allow what they are trying to do.  OBVIOUSLY if MS changes a few APIs, then it CAN'T be the same OS as initially put out as DP, because MS changed some things.  Common sense!  You are the one who has no clue what you are talking about. 
  • I never said it couldn't be the same as the final version.  I said it MAY NOT be the same.
    LOL. Sure, theoretically the versions could be different. And at least you're correct that the DP is released early primarily in order to allow developers (who are part of the public... there's nothing special about a Developer in this program, not even a small fee is needed) to try out their apps. But the versions so far haven't been different, which is what you implied when you wrote
    Developer Previews usually have problems.  That's why we are "previewing" it, to find the bugs and problems and report them to Microsoft so they can fix it before it goes public as a final version."
    Since the DP version didn't have any issues different from the actual release, had the same version numbers and weren't beta, why would you write that? But yeah, in your made-up version of the Preview releases maybe they were Betas. Since nobody else uses your own fantasy version of the DP program, it seems irrelevant. 
  • "Since the DP version didn't have any issues different from the actual release, had the same version numbers and weren't beta, why would you write that?" Because it didn't have the same version number.   The initial Developer Preview was updated back in May to FIX THE ISSUES DEVELOPER USERS REPORTED TO MICROSOFT.  Check out this page.... http://www.wpxbox.com/windows-phone-8-1-developer-preview-gets-first-update/ It even states in this article that the first version is a BETA version.   Read it, get educated.   
  • LOL. How hard did you have to look to find that? Who's the nobody that wrote that? It just shows he was just as misinformed as you are. Of course the DP got updates. As will the official release. Every software gets updates. That does not mean they are beta. And here's one mention of the software version being the same: http://www.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-930-unboxing-tour "Windows Phone 8.1 build 12397 (same as Preview for Developers)" Give it a rest.   
  • Not very hard at all.  In fact, I've found four more articles from "nobodies" that show the versions are DIFFERENT.   The version you refer to in your article is Build 12397.  The PREVIOUS VERSIONS of the OS were 8.10.12382.878 and before that 8.10.12359.845.  Dispite what you say, these are NOT the same OS versions.  There are changes and updates to each verstion before the FINAL RELEASE.  Which is what I have been saying all along.  The INITIAL Developer Preview may, or may not remain the same.  That is why Microsoft releases it as a developer preview.  But that does NOT guarantee it will be the FINAL RELEASE.  Changes will most likely be needed.  Links to articles below: http://nokiatheone.com/2014/05/15/windows-phone-8-1-developer-preview-gets-its-first-update-8-10-12382-878/  http://msmobileblog.info/wp-8-1-dev-preview-gets-first-update/ http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-phone-81-developer-preview-gets-first-update-bug-fixes-and-improved-battery-performance http://mywindows-phone.blogspot.com/2014/05/windows-phone-81-developer-preview-gets.html I guess these "nobodies" are misinformed as well.  
  • What are you talking about now? I have no idea anymore. Of course the DP gets updates. I got one too for it. You don't need to prove that. That doesn't mean it's beta, like the guy you originally quoted thought (and was wrong about). OK now I'm really done, because this is stupid.
  • What are you talking about.  I never claimed it to be a BETA.  YOU DID!  My original comment that you so rudely and incorrectly commented on was:
    Also, if anyone out there is NOT familiar with upgrading and downgrading software to their phone, DON'T INSTALL THE DEVELOPER PREVIEW! Developer Previews usually have problems. That's why we are "previewing" it, to find the bugs and problems and report them to Microsoft so they can fix it before it goes public as a final version. If you don't know how to downgrade your phone or utilize "work-arounds" for issues, then DON'T INSTALL THE DEVELOPER PREVIEW! If you do install the Developer Preview anyway, then don't complain about issues on these forums. Report them to Microsoft and wait for the fix.
    To which you commented:
    They were not released to "find the bugs and problems", that's what the Beta versions were for, and Previews were NOT beta.
    I NEVER claimed it to be a BETA product, I said DEVELOPER PREVIEW.  You said BETA.   I was merely stated that the Developer Preview MAY not be the FINAL RELEASE as it may contain 'ISSUES'.  Given my article links, I've proven that correct as there WERE different DP versions correcting issues. I agree, this is STUPID.  You're like a US Republican Congressman.  Impeach...impeachable acts, lawlessness needs impeachment - turns to - no one is talking about impeachment, the Democrats started this to arouse their base.  Republicans never even mentions impeachment.   REALLY!?  Replace "impeach" with "BETA" and that's your comments dude!  Now you give it a rest.
  • EDIT...really sorry. I just saw you guys were done. No need to add possible fuel to the fire. Enjoy your day!    
  • I would imagine that doing the official upgrade to 8.1 (downgrading from 8.1 to 8.0, then updating via OTA update to 8.1), which gets you Cyan, and then re-activating the Preview for Developers program on your phone will allow you to run Cyan and the GDR1 preview together.
  • You will get cyan when it is released for your phone. It is put on hold for preview users as there was discovered issues. You will get cyan eventually even if you upgrade to gdr1.
  • That's exactly what I did with my 1520... Back up, downgrade, update, reset, restore. ;)
  • Then when GRD2 comes out in November you'll have to revert to cyan... Microsoft needs to work hard on the update processes..
  • It's not the update process. Cyan has a bug that won't allow it to properly install on devices exceeding Windows Phone version 8.0 GDR3, thus requiring the downgrade. Microsoft is working to fix this so you either downgrade then re-upgrade (Cyan installs along side 8.1), losing all your files and non-restorable data (downgrading requires flashing the firmware, which resets the device), or you wait for Cyan to be patched, at which point Microsoft will release to the carriers to replace the current Cyan firmware, and to which then will be pushed to everyone including those running 8.1 -sans Cyan via the Preview.
  • Thanks for clearing that
  • Yes, you could change you car tyres before or after you have filled the gasoline tank...
  • Only if you have enough gas to get to the place where you change your tires.
  • I'm still waiting for the 7.8 update to come to my Samsung Focus 2! lol
  • It will be available August 19... ... 2233.
  • The funny thing is, were still in PFD 8.1 without Cyan and were gonna update to GDR1. Will there be any instability within the OS?
  • Only instabilities will be from the OS being in preview itself. None should arise from lacking Cyan rather than perhaps the missing "increased performance" of the device. Something that's a misnomer is that most of these "OS" features that are "included in" Cyan are actually 'System Apps' that most merely require the operating system being pushed along side the firmware. For instance, I have practically most of, with exception to a few, of the "features" from black and Cyan, with the only exceptions being firmware reliant software & settings (Beamer, new PlayTo, for examples), on my 810, and I'm using Amber firmware. After updating through the preview, the store notified me of updates to almost every single Nokia system app, which unlocked all but a few apps and features. As such, this goes to show that the firmware does much less then what they are marketed as doing, really only increasing performance and unlocking a few minor features, settings, and apps. So no. No instabilities [caused by lack of Cyan]
  • Are you sure about that? Because I remember reading not long ago during all the Cyan hype, that for some people Black wasn't released on their carrier until after the release of 8.1DP. But with 8.1DP installed on Amber, they haven't been able to update to Black, since the OS build of the 8.1DP is newer than the one included in Black...
  • Unlikely. The OS updates are not "included" in the firmware but rather pushed alongside the firmware by the carriers. For instance, those who were running 8.0 GDR3 with Amber (such as myself w/ my old 521) only recieved Black OTA, sans-GDR3 update. However, I suppose it is possible that Black had a similar issue as to Cyan, where installing Black on an OS surpassing that of the one pushed alongside previous firmware caused issues. But, as neither Microsoft nor Nokia made any confirmation of such an issue as they did Cyan, it is unlikely, imo, that this is the case.
  • I was discussing this on Reddit and one user now confirmed that he did indeed install 8.1 DP on Amber and is now stuck on Amber even though his carrier has released Black.
  • It's actually likely that all firmware updates are halted for 8.1 users. If the user tried retrieving black after the Cyan issue was found, its very possible Microsoft prohibited any carrier updates for those running 8.1 sans-Cyan, even for devices to which only black or earlier are available. However, if the user tried before Cyan was even released on ANY carrier, when only Black was available, then I'm at a loss. I'd recommend the user verify that firmware was indeed released for their device (some think that when a carrier releases firmware such as Black or Cyan, they release it for every device, to which isn't always the case), and that the device they use is indeed one sold by their carrier (some also fail to understand that even though the carriers "push" the updates, the updates are on Microsoft's servers, and since each device by a carrier has a different firmware {technically}, once an update is "pushed", the server checks the carrier to which the device is intended for and pushes the update accordingly. So even though you may be using a unlocked device on carrier X, the device still relies on carrier Y, to which the device was made for, to push the update)
  • So what do you prefer to do? Wait till they fix it with the patch? Or downgrade and then get update?? :)
  • Was in May, when I was on DP, that my network provider released the black. (i had DP since it's first release)
    At that time, i was running amber with 8.1DP.
    My phone wouldn't get the Black firmware, I had to downgrade it, get the black, and then install DP again.
    Lumia 620
  • But what if you have Cyan and get GDR1 vi