Microsoft shares details about its next Windows Phone 8 update

Microsoft shares details about its next Windows Phone 8 update

Summary: Microsoft is starting to detail features coming in this summer's GDR2 update to the Windows Phone 8 operating system.

TOPICS: Windows Phone

Microsoft is starting to open up a bit on what Windows Phone 8 users can expect with the next version of its Windows Phone 8 operating system, known as "GDR2."


On May 14, company officials shared a couple of the expected GDR (General Distribution Release) 2 features in a blog post that was primarily about the new Lumia 925 phone that Nokia unveiled today. That phone, codenamed "Catwalk," is due out in June on Vodafone and some time after that on T-Mobile. It is Nokia's first lighter-weight, aluminum-body Lumia.

Microsoft's supposed plan, according to my tipsters, is to release three GDR updates to the Windows Phone 8 operating system before delivering what we've been calling Windows Phone Blue.

The "Portico" update -- OS build number 8.0.10211.204 -- which began rolling out last year was considered GDR1. The GDR2 update -- which Microsoft officials never actually call GDR2 in today's blog post -- is coming "this summer." GDR3 sounds like it may be timed to arrive this fall. And Windows Phone Blue is sounding from tipsters more and more like a 2014 release.

In today's blog post, this summer's Windows Phone 8 OS update is described as including "a small number of improvements and upgrades." The post said it will be similar in size to the last update, a k a Portico, which included Wi-Fi and messaging improvements, among other new features.

The new update will include support for CalDAV and CardDAV, so that it will continue to work with Google contact and calendar syncing services, officials said. This CalDAV/CardDAV support previously was rumored for GDR2.

The update will reintroduce support for FM radio (as a feature carriers can opt to support or not) -- a feature which was part of the Windows Phone 7 operating system platform, but which was cut for Windows Phone 8. The update also will make the Data Sense monitoring feature of Windows Phone 8 available for more carriers to support if they decide to do so.

The coming update also will improve the ability to select, download and pin tunes in Xbox Music and improve the accuracy of song information and "other metadata."

"The update includes hundreds of other small quality improvements," according to Microsoft's blog post. There may be some other major features not yet disclosed by Microsoft officials coming, as well, but right now that's all the Softies are saying.

The GDR2 update will be rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users starting "later this summer," officials said today.

Topic: Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Microsoft shares details about its next Windows Phone 8 update

    Looking forward to installing these updates on my Microsoft Windows Phone 8. The Xbox Music is the one change I'm wanting to see the most.
    • Agree about Xbox Music app...

      It's been a disappointment so far. It oftentimes doesn't load half of the songs in my playlists (citing some "error")... but it's not always the same songs. It's odd.
      • Not sure if its the same issue...

        But sometimes when I play a song it says "Windows Phone cannot play that song," or something like that and it just plays the next song on the list... However, if I go back to the song that says it doesn't support, it plays.

        Pretty annoying.
        • Re: Not sure if its the same issue...

          I have had the same problem, but it still plays the song. I hope they do fix the issue.
    • Lover ock....

      Not hanging on SJVNs every word? Focus Lover, Focus. Follow your heart. LOL!!
  • Hope there's More too the Xbox Music Improvements

    I hope this was an understatement and that there are MAJOR improvements to XBM. And I do miss my FM radio from my Sprint Arrive.
  • FM Radio....

    Care to elaborate on the FM radio statement "as a feature carriers can opt to include or not"? I thought this was firmware/OS update by Nokia and MS? It definitely is a nice to have feature. Why would my carrier even be able to "opt out" on offering this?
    • Carrier support optional

      Hi. I am just reiterating what MS says in its blog post today. Officials said in that post that FM radio and Data Sense are both carrier optional. These will be built in, but carriers can opt not to let users turn them on... MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
    • to make more money

      when you listen to FM the phone company is not racking up minutes against your account so they may not enable the FM. iPhones have the FM ability as well but Apple does not enable it because of the money they make with iTunes. I think all phone vendors should enable FM for dissemination of emergency information
  • Hate to say it

    but, while I appreciate the updates, Microsoft needs to be more agile and get updates to market much faster.
    • And avoid Carriers interference

      Only the OEM should have a word to say (it might need to write a driver after all).

      The carrier should not have a word to say about an OS update on my phone.

      The Android free for all drove my away from Android... failed promises on updates and upgrades... over customization of the UI it sometimes didn't even look like Android anymore... (And why Samsung puts the back button on the right side at the bottom of the screen?!?!? It's so unnatural! Back is on the left... period!)
      • We'll get there eventually

        It used to be a lot worse in the feature phone days...

        Slowly the OEM's will adapt to the new reality - that these £500 phones are desirable enough that the networks have to carry them. You have to play hardball with them like apple did in the beginning... There is no user advantage to carrier intervention. It's even more annoying on some android handsets where you have to wait for your carrier to decide to give you an update. Let the OEM's handle the software... Let the carriers work on their signal and bottlenecking problems
        • Agreed

          but, Microsoft still moves way too slowly in some cases.
      • That's why...

        I always buy unlocked phones these days.
    • They are...

      With Blue they are getting real updates out much faster. Not just minor bug fixes, which they do more often now too.
      • Re: With Blue they are getting real updates out much faster

        Why should we believe that?

        Windows Phone Blue code will somehow automagically rewrite itself, but Windows Phone 8 code does not yet know how?

        I call that wishful thinking.
        • With Blue they are getting real updates out much faster?

          Wishful thinking? Is that a short meaning for "Pie in the sky." dreams?
          Just hope it ain't Lemon.
      • I haven't

        seen any updates from Microsoft on my Nokia 920 (I've had it since Feb).
        • I got my Lumia 920 when it first came out.

          I think I've seen two major updates. That's enough for me. As much as the upgrade process seems solid, everytime you blow that flash, there's a slight risk of bricking things.
  • Catwalk

    what's up with the codename Catwalk? are they trying to appeal to fashionistas?