Details on upcoming Windows Phone GDR3 and “Blue” updates emerges

By LiveSide | In Mobile | Posted July 12, 2013 18 comments

Windows Phone BlueMicrosoft is about to rollout their next Windows Phone update, referred to as General Distribution Release 2 (GDR2), which will bring minor enhancements and fixes such as CalDAV and CardDav support, FM Radio, Data Sense, Xbox Music, Skype and IE enhancements, and more. But details regarding what’s coming next are scarce. We know that the future roadmap includes another minor GDR update – called GDR3, as well as a major upgrade codenamed “Blue”, but exactly what each of these updates entails remains a mystery.

The Verge today reports that Microsoft is currently in a “shut up and ship” mode, where majority of the Windows Phone team’s efforts are towards the “Blue” update. The GDR updates instead are predominantly focussed on addressing feature requests from OEMs and vendors, including Nokia, which explains the lack of major features in the GDR1 (Portico) and GDR2 updates. In addition, bugs in the software have caused delays to the shipment schedule, with the “Blue” update not expected to be ready until early 2014.

GDR3 update

Given the situation, The Verge reports that Microsoft is currently considering back-porting some of the planned “Blue” features into the GDR3 update. One of these features includes a rotation lock option. The GDR3 update is also expected to bring support for 5 to 6 inch phones, 1080p resolution, and quad-core chipsets – features most likely to be at the request from OEMs such as HTC and Nokia.

Windows Phone “Blue”

Microsoft gave some teases and hints regarding what’s coming in Windows Phone “Blue” during the Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 this week. This includes improvements to the Bing and Skype apps, Start Screen innovations, as well as having a common app platform with Windows. Microsoft also announced an “enterprise feature pack” this week, expected to come along with “Blue”, and it will finally bring VPN support to Windows Phone users.

In addition to the above, according to The Verge, Windows Phone “Blue” is also expected to bring the following to users:

  • Notification center
  • Improved multitasking
  • Changes to built-in apps

Thanks to an accidental leak earlier this year, early prototype screenshots of the first two – the notification center and improved multitasking screen – were leaked to the web. It remains to be seen what “changes to built-in apps” mean, and what kind of innovation will Microsoft bring to these apps.

We certainly hope Microsoft could back-port more planned features to GDR3, bring some innovation to the platform as soon as possible. However, we probably won’t be expecting any significant upgrades to the Windows Phone OS this year, despite the OS is still lagging behind other platforms in particular areas. With Apple’s iOS7 and Google’s Android 5.0 expected later this year, we’re starting to worry if Microsoft can catch up their pace to the competition. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted July 12th, 2013 at 7:00 am
  • panagiώtis

    i don’t worry about updates. MS announced they will support for 36 months with updates. more than any other platform

  • panagiώtis

    i don’t worry about updates. MS announced they will support for 36 months with updates. more than any other platform

  • uberlaff

    Windows Phone looks to be the 1 major product that will benefit most from the MS reorg. The reorg must integrate the Windows and Windows Phone team, helping to improve collaboration and responsiveness to share best practices and integrate great features for this platform.

    The bugs slowing the Windows Phone team down would benefit greatly from the testing that goes on with the larger Windows product.

    I’m hoping the reorg means the ‘A’ team (Windows) takes on the majority of development and integrates the Windows Phone and Windows products. This would free up the Windows Phone team for doing what they do best… making excellent experiences and innovating. They can then bring that innovation to both Windows and Windows Phone.

  • uberlaff

    Windows Phone looks to be the 1 major product that will benefit most from the MS reorg. The reorg must integrate the Windows and Windows Phone team, helping to improve collaboration and responsiveness to share best practices and integrate great features for this platform.

    The bugs slowing the Windows Phone team down would benefit greatly from the testing that goes on with the larger Windows product.

    I’m hoping the reorg means the ‘A’ team (Windows) takes on the majority of development and integrates the Windows Phone and Windows products. This would free up the Windows Phone team for doing what they do best… making excellent experiences and innovating. They can then bring that innovation to both Windows and Windows Phone.

  • insanelyapple

    How about apps on SD card, improving discoverability of, writing to SD cards on HTC 8S? How about a real backup and restore from SkyDrive?

  • insanelyapple

    How about apps on SD card, improving discoverability of, writing to SD cards on HTC 8S? How about a real backup and restore from SkyDrive?

  • Lolly

    Custom sms/email tones Microsoft, y’know, as in the most requested feature by a long way for MONTHS now and even feature Phones have had for years.

    • Ben A

      errm do you know they are improving on that, that’s why they are working on thing called updates for windows phones

  • Lolly

    Custom sms/email tones Microsoft, y’know, as in the most requested feature by a long way for MONTHS now and even feature Phones have had for years.

    • Ben A

      errm do you know they are improving on that, that’s why they are working on thing called updates for windows phones

  • Agosto Nuñez

    Microsoft has invested a lot in the quick update route of Windows Phone in the past, now it’s the rule of the company, and (ironically) Windows Phone is the only one not a part of this, but then again, Windows Phone is awesome as it is now, and I personally don’t mind waiting for more awesome stuff, as long as I get my F.M. Radio back.

    • esail

      But I wonder why windows phone 9 wont come until 2015.

  • Agosto Nuñez

    Microsoft has invested a lot in the quick update route of Windows Phone in the past, now it’s the rule of the company, and (ironically) Windows Phone is the only one not a part of this, but then again, Windows Phone is awesome as it is now, and I personally don’t mind waiting for more awesome stuff, as long as I get my F.M. Radio back.

    • esail

      But I wonder why windows phone 9 wont come until 2015.