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Windows Phone 8.1 is already in manufacturers’ hands, new devices due late April

Earlier in the week we reported that the development of the Windows Phone 8.1 core had finished. There were some minor bugs by the secondary team that still needed to be ironed out, but in essence, the OS is completely wrapped.

What wasn’t clear was when the OS would be dropped to OEM partners to be put on devices. We assumed that it would be after some of those minor tweaks had been ironed out, but as it turns out it was March 26. In other words, the final build of Windows Phone 8.1 is now in Microsoft partners’ hands, being tested and prepped for devices.

That leads us to some other questions, like scheduling. Through various sources we’ve been able to verify that starting Wednesday, April 23rd, new phones running Windows Phone 8.1 will be available. It’s not clear which phones those are, but presumably the Lumia 630, Lumia 930 and Samsung ATIV SE (for Verizon) are top contenders. We’re also supposing that this is for US markets although it’s not known at this time.

Likewise for the much anticipated Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. That program, which is open to anyone with a free App Studio account, is expected to be rolled out by ‘late April’. We’re not aware of a firm date yet for that program, but it is in its final stages of preparation.

The Preview for Developers program will allow anyone with an App Studio account and the Developer Preview app to download and run the final 8.1 bits on their Windows Phone 8 device – much earlier than waiting official updates. While technically for developers, it’s a wink and a nod to the ‘enthusiast community’, who want 8.1 just weeks after its announcement.

Finally, as to when those official over-the-air (OTA) updates will go out, it’s not clear. Official updates for individual phones are slightly more complicated due to the corresponding firmware that needs to be developed and the added hurdle of carrier testing. Ultimately, it is the carriers who will roll out the updates and like previous ones that could take months. Luckily if you want Windows Phone 8.1, you can have it within the next 30 days.

Windows Phone 8.1 is presumed to be announced next week in San Francisco, during Microsoft’s Build conference. We’ll be on hand to cover it live.

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.

506 Comments
  • I'm feeling it!
  • Whoaa!!! That was quick
  • I miss my TV serial "FRIENDS"...IT'S BEST
  • I do too.. But what does that have to do with this??
  • One of the worst sitcoms I've ever seen come out of the US, it could barely make me smile. I guess we have nothing in common. ;)
  • C'mon. You guys can still see each other. Really. You'll find something to talk about.
  • :)
  • That's prob just coz you are a miserable, miserable person.
  • Hahaha... Did I talk badly about your crappy show? Did I hurt your little feelings...hahaha:)
  • I can't wait anymore ...!!!! 2nd april CME up soon
  • Don't think we will be able to update on April 2nd. Since Daniel said late April...
  • Yeah, but he didn't say 2014 now did he? 
  • Official update .....wat is it ??
  • Is the developer preview really coming in late April ?
  • That's what she said...
  • Fail^
  • +620
  • I want it❔
  • How about a motion wallpaper like a gif behind the tiles that would be awesome
  • That's what I was saying yesterday... I've been thinking that since day one with WP7.0... We're getting closer to that.
  • THIS!!!!!!!!!! +10000000!!!
  • Not available for your kind.
  • Your female sex toys aren't available for my kind.. Tell me something I don't know❕❕... :-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o:-o
  • oh my....  
  • What kind of female sex toys do you require?
  • Dyke sex toys... Lol!!...
  • I love THIS website.  Definitely the best site for Windows Phone news! :)
  • +1520
  • This site?? You must be confused with another website...
  • +920❕
  • also xbox :P
  • Daniel what about countries like India where phones are carrier neutral ? It depends on nokia/htc etc here, regarding when the firmware is launched. When is that expected then ? Would it be when nokia finishes the firmware, by june/july maybe ?
  • Bro you will recevie the update in late May or early June depending on your device. Better go for Developer Preview program if you know how to do it.
  • Dev preview has some disadvantages
    A) warranty gets void (main reason, i dont change phones every 6 months, that's why I'm on nokia)
    B) no firmware update
    C) some bugs are present
    D) people have experienced some issues after updating from Dev preview to black, issues which were not experienced by direct black update.
    That's why i don't want dev preview.
  • In that case, keep calm and keep walking...
  • ;)
  • Exactly how is Apple able to bypass carrier for OS updates?? Why can't MS do the same for their windows phones.. At least should do it for Nokia if not anyone else.
  • All to do with its massive popularity. Because everyone (sheep related) and their Gran thinks it's the best, Apple can set the rules rather than the carriers, same with pricing etc. Thankfully this power is starting to fade but WP as no where near that pulling power unfortunately.
  • This late April talk is really depressing. I know MS never committed to a date but if they plan to reveal it on the 2nd then they should have it all ready to go at most a few days after. Like Apple does most of the time. I mean if Apple can why can't MS? All this talk of mobile equality and apps being on all platforms this is where it has to start! I'm still hoping MS surprises us and releases everything on the 2nd...
  • No matter what Apple does, the iFans would still line up to buy the latest and "greatest". Not so with Microsoft, that's why they need to be strategic with their moves. Which means, they first have to wait for the new handsets to start selling in the market before releaseing the update to existing phones. Otherwise, the new handsets will end up gathering dust in the shelves. But can't wait for the 930 - the anticipation is like a pain in the gut!!! I'm also excited to see the WP8.1 version of the HTC One (M8) - how will they call it, the HTC 8.1X?
  • HTC 8.OneX
  • Because of the iPhone's popularity. If the carriers want to have iPhones they have to play by Apple's rules.
  • Doubtful, the iPhone had this ability since day one....
  • They kinda did. Their other power source came from the fact it was among the first popular smartphones wuith touch screen and apps. Because of the popularity it starteted to gather is that Google went and bought Android. I hate how Apple gets to manage the US market. However, I'm sure sooner or later they will decline exactly like they did long time ago.
  • cause apple does not change his hardware by one millimeter for carrier needs, and since it's apple they can do what they want. The costumers expect a certain user experience and (you can admire them on that ) they are not willing to compromise.
  • Because apple makes their own software and hardware
  • Main reason is that iPhones are same regardless of the carrier they are on. But for wp, each carrier modifies the Lumia a bit, and then each has to adapt the firmware to its phone. Not with iPhone.
  • How are you "feeling it"? It is ANOTHER 30 days of wait. Ugh. Just when I thought, if Office for iPad can be available same day as announcement, surely WP8.1 dev preview at least can be available same day. Oh wait, same week? No may be same month. Ugh, Microsoft.
  • Microsoft suck
    Im sick of wp .
  • Good. Now that you've expressed your frustration how do you feel?
  • Get tha f*ck outta here! Microsoft has delivered.....the update has been released to manufacturers! What you jumping their *sees? They cannot force the carriers to prioritize over apple if the carrier doesn't want to. I'll bet if new devices come out, the ones at the Microsoft store will probably have the update
  • Have you guys ever heard of that thing called patience?
  • Patience...No, what is it? Is it another MS product? Please tell us...
  • No. But I dated her sister Abstinence.
  • Patiently waiting for windows phone one
  • Have you ever heard of "patience wearing thin"? I have and me and alot of people are getting to that stage now from the tiring wait. :|
  • Hang on. WP8 out in October 2012. I jumped onboard in May. Two updates including Amber and Black firmware. Now another substantial update, first of 2 rumored for 2014, then WP9 due 4Q or 1Q 2015.
    Your impatience with updates to software or new devices? Sounds like the WP devices field to get crowded soon. And since I dumped AT&T firmware in September, I will not be chomping at the bit quite yet.
  • I just think it all stems back from when this update was supposed to supposed to originally be released (which was I think supposed to be last Fall to coincide with the release of Windows 8.1, both of which were codenamed Blue). So we're at least 4 months removed from that and a year and a half removed from WP8 being released.....one could see how the impatience is hard to avoid. I'm looking forward to it still and hoping that it doesn't take longer than the week that Daniel originally mentioned in his tweet about it getting delayed, but we'll see.
  • @wtrmlnjuc You mean that thing we've been accumulating for 18 months for really basic features? Then yes, we have. Thanks.
  • so nuclax, you've been here since January of this year and made 103 comments with ZERO likes or thanks.... that says a lot
  • Good catch!
  • let's take care of that for you... (it's only forum posts that can be liked or thanked, and you haven't been posting in the forum much, and he hasn't at all)  
  • I'm not so active here true but I'm overly active in WMPoweruser to the extent that Android and iPhone fans call me the derogatory word Microdick (you know for Microsoft fan?) over there. But I'm proud to be a WP fan. I came from Android although I don't hate it, I just happen to love WP more. By the way, I also do there what you're doing here. I trace people's comments to ferret out the trolls from those with legitimate grievances
  • I've hardly spent any time at WMPoweruser, I'll have to take a look over there. That name is rather unfortunate, but it's good to meet another fan.  I certainly love Windows Phone.  Oh for sure there's stuff that's missing or needs to be fixed, but it is so much more stable than the versions of Android that I was running (Eclair and Froyo) back when I had an Android.   So I am definitely a fan and it's good to meet another fan...
  • +925. Yeah I'm fed up too of waiting for another Windows Phone upgrade from Nokia. I'll pass the L930 'cos of the 4.5" screen size. Hopefully the Goldfinger is 5"+.
  • "Ultimately, it is the carriers who will roll out the updates and like previous ones that could take months" Um, no ultimately it's how fast Microsoft gets the update to the carriers that will determine how long it will take. Every day Microsoft delays handing the code to the carriers adds more days before we see it on our Microsoft Windows Phones.
  • You don't know what you are talking about. I work for a carrier. Carriers don't receive the code. Never have, probably never will. MS hands the compiled OS (not the code) to the OEMs. The OEMs install the OS and optionally add their own firmware updates. All of that is then handed over to the carriers for testing.
  • so at what point does the carrier ad their crapware?   It's not the OEM that adds the carrier crap is it?    
  • Good point! But he works for a carrier so his comment is biased. It stands more to reason that if a phone is going exclusive on a particular carrier, the OS should already have the carrier "crapware" added to the OS before it gets installed in that particular phone.
  • Sometimes they take out little features.. Datasense..or cortana for example.
    (I am still mad at att for delaying amber and the removal of data sense)
  • They removed data sense ??? Thank god I'm in India, no carrier specific phones ;)
  • I feel slighted...:)
  • +930......waiting
  • And with bated breathe..... Come on Nokia, do us proud!!!!
  • Me too. I've been waiting since December. My 820 broke (I shattered the screen) so I've been using an old Samsung Focus 2... with WP7.5. Can't wait to upgrade to the 930. Hope it's beautiful device. :)  BTW, does anyone know how much it costs to get a new screen on an 820?
  • 7.5? Not 7.8?:-o
  • It won't upgrade to 7.8.  Not sure why.
  • Use this method to update-
    http://m.wpcentral.com/tool-make-installing-windows-phone-78-update-easier
  • There's not much difference. The Start Screen on 7.8 lags on my Radar.
  • true, but the fixed sized tiles are kinda depressing in their own way...
  • Look up 820 digitizers
  • Thanks. But I wouldn't know how to install it.  Not sure if it's even worth repairing.  I could probably just buy a 520 off-contract for the same price, right?
  • Right! :D https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E45043A/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=hawk-future-20&...
  • May the lords in heaven listen to thy preach, because exactly at the end of April I will be in the land of the cheap electronics (US). Me wants the digievolution to my 920. :)
  • We used to be known as the land of opportunity. How quickly things can change. 
  • Opportunity is where you see it.....maybe :D
  • Exactly. It is much harder to "see" now than before.
  • Rishicash, nice avatar picture, Metropolis yes? I used to live in LB for years.  
  • Yes on Metropolis. I love living here (near the beach) except for the filthy air and recent B&E trend.
  • CANT WAIT
  • Me too! I love how the picture's static and the tiles glide over! Literally looks like you looking through 'windows'!
  • +8.1
  • It occurred to me to take a picture on my empty hand as if ibas holding the phone, then use it as the tile backgrounds so it looks like I'm looking through the phone. I know probably not the only person to think of this...
  • you, sir, are a genius. I'm totally doing this.
  • I concur with the other gentleman, you sir, are a genius.
  • I'm going to do some sort of cyberpunk-circuitry thing. Would look like I can see inside my phone. I wish we could set it to the camera...
  • I'm hoping WPC will have a contest for the most clever uses of this new feature so we can all benefit from the cleverness and creativity of it's members.
  • I can wait and happily will. No major improvements here for me and I am happy with the 1020 as it is. I am, however, looking forward to seeing how the rollout goes as I'm sure I will upgrade at some point just to keep current. Improvements to Nokia Drive+ is what I really want the most. Traffic rerouting is all I need! They should talk to the Bing Maps team that implemented this feature in 2009.
  • 8.1 surely will be daebak!
  • Daebak really!!!
  • Daebak means awesome or a big success in korean... saving the time of ppl who were gonna bing/google it...
  • +920
  • Choding
  • thanks, i was thinking about a taekwondo kick or something
  • +920
  • Rain as in 비? Just curious... :)
  • That's my name in Hangul!
  • Sploosh!
  • Pam?
  • why isnt the search button lit? is that a 920 that you guys have?
  • That's a 1020.
  • Just noticed that i asked a stupid question, i wanted to say is that a 920 you have with WP8.1, as do you guys at wpc have it? I think the answer is yes.
    And yeah just noticed it is a 1020. :p
  • +1
  • Sam, what is that an Archer reference?
  • So what's this talk about the developer preview delay then???
  • People over anxious, expecting it next week.
  • Delayed as in they won't stand on stage at build and say "download it right this second"
  • Ot technically isn't delayed since MS never said it would be available on 2 April. We all just assumed/hoped it would be. I'm still hoping MS surprises us and makes the dev preview available within a day or two of the presentation, but I'm not holding my breath for it.
  • This rumour of 2nd April that we might get the update became so much true that we all were anxious . Hope this rumour might be heard my Microsoft too so that they can surprise us.
  • LOL! @Agent-P is technically correct but I very much like your attitude :-))
  • Can't wait for WP 8.1. It's going to be great! :D
  • Nooo end of April was hoping beginning of April... Oh well
  • Late April for the Developer Preview?! Oh fish!
  • Cannot wait for a 920 replacement. :)
  • The 920 doesn't need a replacement. It's a all around awesome phone and will have 8.1 on it and run just fine. No need to replace unless yours is broke or something.
  • I absolutely love the 920 and there really isn't anything I'd change. But I'd very much welcome an AMOLED 1920x1080 display.
  • Indeed it would be a welcomed feature.
  • Amoled sucks trust me I switched from 920 to 1020 and those black spots are driving me nuts...
  • What black spots? I also switched from a 920 to a 1020 and I much prefer the 1020's deeper blacks.
  • He's talking about the burn-in.
  • Yeahhh! :( if you go to any phone shop that has a 1020 on display you'll notice the burn in is terribly severe! It makes customers think ok well I'm not getting this one if the screen does that! You can see the text from the demo app heavily burnt in, it makes it look seriously low quality. Why have I not seen Samsung phones do this? I'd rather an amoled but with the burn in I'd rather not, my 925 also has the issue and you can see the outline of the appbar buttons permanently and the screen colours are uneven and it flickers as you scroll :(
  • I love my 928 and the AMOLED screen. Since those don't show up in any legitimate usability condition, they don't bother me.    Also, 920 is a great phone, but it's behind the curve nowadays. It needs a new SoC, and a slightly updated camera badly to stay ahead of the curve, and a new display wouldn't hurt either. There's a reason they released the Icon and the 930 :P
  • I find the camera good for me. Obviously its and "outdated" phone in terms of technology and how fast things move along nowadays but it will handle 8.1 with ease and do the job for me until it shits out on me one day lol. I agree with you though.
  • The camera trumps my girlfriends S4, so I'm pretty happy with it for the most part, sure having something like the 1020/1520/Z2/etc is going to well and truly trump it but for its age it still holds up pretty well.
  • Where do you see black spots exactly? Is it on a picture, app, video? I have a Super Amoled phone, had a Oled Vita, but don't know what you guys are talking about. I'm curious.
  • Every AMOLED screen I've used has black blotches when the screen goes dark (but is still on). The worst is probably the Vita but it happened with my Lumia 900 too.
  • I do know what you're talking about. It's a non issue really. That's like a split second thing. I remember that on the Vita. Haven't seen it on my phone though. Once you're in an app it goes back to those deep blacks.
  • I also have seen couple of straight lines in night when lights are off!! Annoying
  • I'd like it to have the 20mp camera from the Icon, and the sharper screen, but only if it doesn't prevent Glance.
  • Indeed, but still nokia needs a 5ish inch device with the new snapdragon thinner with 1080p for att to replace the segment of the 920
  • I agree with you there I suppose.
  • How come you know about his needs?
  • 2 words for ya, guitarist.... HiDef Screen.
    No, three words... Or is it two?? Hmmmmm... Either way, that is what I have been holding out for- a hi def screen (3 words?) on a 5" or there about screen. That is what emwe need when replacing a 920.... Or 900.
  • Hi def screen is nice but definitely not a must have feature. Especially for the 920.
  • Lousy camera. So much dust under the proximity sensor and the FFC that I often can't hang up calls, and I really can't ever Skype. Weighs a ton and is really thick. Battery life is really poor...although on random days can actually be awesome (so software bug?). There is /plenty/ to improve.
  • That's just YOUR phone though being a POS. Lousy camera?? Idk what kind of 920 you have but mine is an amazing camera.
  • 920's camera is good, but a bit outdated and no match to the one on the 1520 and icon, and obviously really far from the 1020
  • The 920 camera is not just dated.  It was not good when it came out.  It is not just my phone, as my phone is exactly the same as your phone because they are mass produced to exacting standards.  And by the way, I have three 920s in the family and they all take exactly the same shots.  Furthermore, when they do take their crappy shots, they are so slow.  My wife's 8X can take like four pictures in the time it takes (any of) my 920 to take one. Check out this comparison of the 920 vs. some of its contemporaries, and even a device from several years earlier: http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/features/item/17055_The_big_shootout_Nok... Obvously, the 920's not going to beat the 808, which remains the reigning champ (better even than the L1020). But you'd think it could hold it's own against the N95 from 2007.  It can't: Nokia 808 PureView (running Symbian): 53 pts HTC One (running Android): 37 pts Nokia N95 (running Symbian S60 from 2007): 36 pts Nokia Lumia 920 (running Windows Phone): 30 pts
  • Nah man the few I've owned ALL have had excellent cameras. They all take great pics and take them in a timely manner. I don't believe any of that bogus crap you just posted for a second. No shit they are all produced to "exact standards" but nothing is ever perfect. Flaws happen with anything and that included hardware. Anymore bogus excuses for you shitty experiences with the 920?
  • No, they didn't. Your pictures were mediocre. Sorry to burst your bubble. Buy I am sincerely glad that you think your phone is perfect. That must be nice for you. Not sarcasm. I consider the 920 to be a mixed bag. I love how durable it has proven to be. I like the styling. And I still think WP OS is a pleasure to use as long as you stay within its somewhat smothering confines. That said, the phone could clearly be thinner and lighter, the camera needs marked improvement, the dust issue is a serious one, and WP is horribly, horribly behind the features curve WRT the market leader, Android. Thus, I hope to see substantial improvement in future iterations of both hardware and software. I am also not willing to wait much longer for these things to happen.