Stay up to date with the WP8 Preview Program Alerts app

Earlier this week, the big news for Windows Phone users was the refresh for Update 3. More specifically, if you’re participating in the Preview for Developers program, you not only get the latest access to the Windows Phone 8 OS, but you also get updates.

That update was fascinating only because it was speculated that Update 3 preview was the final release. Technically, this is true as the Lumia 1520 shipped with OS 10517. But Microsoft had some OEM fixes and minor tweaks to add for other phones, so the latest version is 10521. No new features are present, so you can stop looking yesterday.

This news means Microsoft may on occasion push out patches for the OS, although we’re not expecting that to happen too often. Still, if you want to keep abreast of the latest info, you just head to Windows Phone Central, right? The one problem is, we tend to publish a lot of articles, and many of you may miss that post (by the amount of tips we received after our story, that’s more than obvious).

Luckily, there’s a free app called WP8 Preview Program Alerts that can help solve your problem. Developed by AdvancedREI and more specifically Robert McLaws (who’s well known in the Microsoft tech world), the app serves as a sort of filter for Preview Program news.

The app initially started as a tongue in cheek reminder to Microsoft about the promise of a Preview Program. That was way back in June 2012.  Now that Microsoft has delivered (after just 480 days) the app has taken on a new role, which is to just bring news on that program.

In the app, McLaws gives a little headline and summary of the news, which inevitably links back to the top news site for Windows Phone news aka WPCentral. What’s also really great is you can even enable notifications for alerts on that news, which albeit rare, should keep you on top of the latest happenings. The app even has a doublewide Live Tile, which flips with the latest post.

The app is free, has no ads and like a nail, it has a very specific purpose: keeping you up to date on the Preview for Developers program. So all in all, it’s pretty awesome.  Need info on that program? Read our article on getting the app.

Pick up WP8 Preview Program Alerts here in the Store or scan the QR code below!

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.

  • Daniel with the latest update you think its worth it for the 1520? I haven't updated it yet and didn't really see much need to. Obviously it fix some bugs, but I guess it was urgently needed.
  • Good question. Even I haven't done that update. Since there are no new features, I don't see a rush to do it. Then again, I can't say it'd be bad either. I'll go ahead and do it on mine, though I'm not really expecting much for change.
  • Thanks.
  • The update features improvements in boot and especially the direct3d part, so it should improve graphics.. Nothing the 1520 would need ^^
  • Thx.
  • After having to already replace my Lumia 1520 due to a touch screen issue (Bing search was continuously being "phantom" pressed), I'm a little worried to enable dev preview on this one...knowing my luck, something will happen and I'll end up voiding the warranty.
  • I don't know about your region, but here in Indonesia, I have the experience you talked about. I have 520 and installed the dev preview (the first batch of GDR3 preview). After a few days, my speaker ceased to function (for the 2nd time. The first event was fixed by reflash the OS by NCC). I came back to NCC and left my 520 on their care for a full month. Finally it fixed by replacing all internal hardware). All without additional charge because it still covered by warranty. And since it's internal is replaced, I had to reupdate using dev. preview again.
  • It looks nice, but why is the top bar black? If it was white, it took advantage of the whole screen. Now it looks like my screen is a bit smaller than it is...
  • The dev can set the colour of that, this dev just chose not to .. not a big deal IMO:P
  • The black bar is the System Tray, where the clock and wireless signal are. Most apps that show the System Tray leave that space the way it is, but the official Twitter app does not, and I like it better that way. I'll adjust it in the next release. Thanks for the feedback!
  • My phone won't complete the 'check for update', is anyone else having this issue?
  • I had two Microsoft updates when I just checked and installed them, too at most 10 minutes on my 925. I don't notice anything right off the bat.
  • I use an HTC 8X on the bell network, and ever since I downloaded and installed this update 2 days ago I have noticed a few new bugs on my phone. Facebook chat (native through the OS) no longer works, and the messaging app itself seems really buggy/laggy since the update. I did not have these issues before :( that being said this a good app for those in the preview program!
  • My 928 is much smoother after the latest patches.
  • Same for me with 920. I must say that with the GDR3 preview it was sometimes a little sluggish (app reloading, after unlock etc.), now it is significantly better.
  • Words with Friends has stopped locking up my phone with the latest update for me... Will have a look at this app as any news on updates is welcome although i do check wpc every few hours anyway for news...
  • My 521 has a little more zip to it after update.
  • I read wpc using your app but I'm also subscribed to your RSS feed in nextgen reader where news can be marked as read so that's impossible to miss something important :)
  • I want a way to let the WP team know that GDR3 f'd up my phone being used as a, well, phone. Whenever I try and use the phone next to my ear the person on the other line can not hear me at all. I have to use speakerphone or bluetooth. So much for using your phone as a phone...   I've tried posting in the developer forums and on another of the MS ran forums but nothing. Only other users complaining. WHY DOES MS NOT LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS? Isn't the point of this to help them develop it, at least to some degree, to trouble shoot it? Wouldn't it serve them well to investigate when customers are bringing up such huge concerns as not being able to use your phone as a phone. I'm getting fed up with MS, especially since Skydrive won't sync for me and they haven't responded to any requests for help in those forums either.   It's really really frustrating to not be able to talk to anyone about not being able to use the products you purchased in their most basic forms. Phone not being able to be used as a phone. Skydrive not being able to sync files. WHAT THE FUCK?!
  • In a similar way, I've published an app called Update Central. It provides release history along with rumors of future updates. Still working on it, but it's already helpful!
  • Really this app is useful in what criteria? 3 months update with 1 news appear? or 6 months once? hmm
  • You should download the app and find out :). I've actually pushed new alerts every couple weeks as GDR3 rolls its way onto the various phones and carriers. There's a long way to go before it gets out to everyone, not to mention that Nokia "Black" is only on the 1520 at the moment. Also, it looks like Windows Phone "Blue" will be available to people in the first part of April, so it will probably only be quiet for a few weeks between the final GDR3 rollout and developers getting access to "Blue".
  • I always expected notifications on my glance screen in my 720... Will it come as an update?