Windows Phone 8.1 'Blue' | Windows Central

Windows Phone 8.1 'Blue'

Windows Phone 8.1 'Blue'

Windows Phone 8.1, codenamed ‘Blue’, is a forthcoming milestone update to the Microsoft Windows Phone operating system. It is expected to be announced at Microsoft’s Build 2014 conference in April, with new hardware arriving in June.

A 'developer preview' program, akin to Update 3, is expected to be announced at Build, with immediate availability for the general public.

All current Windows Phone 8 devices, including the Lumia 520, are expected to receive the update. 

History and Future

Following the re-launch of Windows Phone 8 back in late 2012, the 8.1 update follows on Microsoft’s planned 18-month upgrade path for their mobile operating system. While Windows Phone 8 had three feature-adding updates during its life-cycle (‘Portico’, Update 2, Update 3), the 8.1 update is a significant overhaul of the OS.

After Windows Phone 8.1 is announced (May 2014), it is expected to receive numerous General Distribution Release (GDR) updates, finally being supplanted by a spring 2015 release of ‘Threshold’ aka Windows Phone 8.2 or Windows Phone 9.

On February 11, 2014, the beta SDK for Windows Phone 8.1 leaked. You can follow all of that coverage here:

Features (rumored)

On Tuesday, February 11, the SDK for 8.1 was leaked with various feature confirmed.

Features of the 8.1 update, part of Microsoft’s ‘Blue’ initiative, have not yet been announced as of February 2014. However, there are rumored to be numerous new features, including:

Finally, the whole OS will have numerous smaller tweaks throughout, including background syncing of Tile color (to match and sync with Windows 8.1 devices), better emoji support, updated keyboard, new version of Internet Explorer, app list sorting, 70% API overlap for Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x apps, VPN support via ‘Enterprise pack’ (built in to the OS), and better backup of app and OS settings akin to Windows 8.

More coverage

Is Windows Phone 8.1 still a viable mobile OS?

Now that official support has ended, is it worth carrying on using your older phone with Windows Phone 8.1 onboard?

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Mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1 ends tomorrow

Heads up to those still hanging onto a Windows Phone 8.1 device: mainstream support for the platform is set to end tomorrow, July 11.

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It's time for Microsoft to push Windows 10 Mobile to 8.1 devices

Windows 10 Mobile is still an opt-in upgrade for eligible Windows Phone 8.1 devices. But it's time for Microsoft to change that.

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Having trouble signing into your Microsoft account on Windows Phone 8.1? You're not alone [Update]

If you’re hitting a snag trying to sing into your Microsoft account on Windows Phone 8.1 after a rollback or factory reset, it looks like you’re not alone.

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Microsoft working on FYCPT, a Windows Phone game controlled by the Microsoft Band

Microsoft is developing a Windows Phone 8.1 game called FYCPT, which requires the use of the Microsoft Band fitness wearable to control its character, a paint drop.

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Windows Phone 8.1 owners who upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile will still be able to downgrade

If owners of a Windows Phone 8.1 device who can upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile decide they like the older OS better, they can still downgrade back to Windows Phone 8.1 via their original recovery images, according to Microsoft.

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Verizon's LG Lancet on sale for just $75 at Microsoft Store

The Microsoft Store is currently selling the Verizon Wireless version of the LG Lancet for just $74.99 without a contract. The Windows Phone 8.1 device normally costs $119.99 from Verizon.

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Some Windows Phone 8.1 devices will get firmware updates before official Windows 10 Mobile release

A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that some older Windows Phone 8.1 devices will get a separate firmware update before they can receive the big Windows 10 Mobile software update.

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Windows 10 Mobile updates for older Windows Phones delayed until early 2016

Microsoft has sent out a statement that officially says that over-the-air updates for older Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 devices to Windows 10 Mobile will be released in early 2016, rather than in December as previously announced.

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Skype receives another minor update on Windows Phone 8.1

Skype for Windows Phone 8.1 has snagged yet another update, bringing the app up to version, but unfortunately it doesn't contain a current change log.

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