Microsoft is planning to deliver a Windows Phone Enterprise Feature Pack for Windows Phone 8 in the first half of 2014, officials announced on July 10 at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference.
- The Enterprise Feature Pack will include the following set of features:
- S/MIME support for mail encryption
- Auto-triggered VPN (which seems to mean VPN that is automatically triggered by specific apps, if it is like the auto-triggered VPN in Windows 8.1)
- Extended mobile device management
- Certificate Management
The new pack will be available some time in the first half of 2014, said Tony Mestres, Vice President of Windows Phone Partner and Channel.
Microsoft already was not expected to add VPN support to Windows Phone 8 in this calendar year. VPN was not planned to be part of any of the three General Distribution Releases (GDRs) -- the minor updates to Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft is in the midst of rolling out in calendar 2013.
It's not clear whether the Enterprise Feature Pack will require Windows Phone "Blue," which according to my sources is an early 2014 deliverable. I've asked Microsoft officials for more details and will update this post if and when I get them.
Update No. 1: A Microsoft spokesperson declined to answer my question about whether the Enterprise Pack will have any Windows Phone Blue dependences. The official statement: "The enterprise feature pack will be part of an upcoming update to Windows Phone 8."
Update 2: Microsoft also announced it is lengthening its support lifecycle for Windows Phone from 18 months to 36 months. Starting with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft will make updates, including all security updates, available for three years.
"These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it. The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities," according to a new post on the Windows Phone blog.