As I mentioned on the Windows Weekly podcast on May 16, current and potential Windows Phone users who've been hoping Microsoft might add VPN support to Windows Phone 8 this year could be disappointed.
One of my sources, who has been pretty accurate so far about Windows Phone futures, said that neither the GDR2 nor GDR3 updates to the Windows Phone 8 operating system are going to introduce VPN support to the platform. (GDR2 is supposedly rolling out to existing Windows Phone users this summer; GDR3 is rumored for this fall.)
It's unclear if Microsoft will relent and introduce VPN support with the follow-on to GDR3, which is known as Windows Phone Blue -- which is looking increasingly like an early 2014 deliverble. I hear there's still a chance it could be added at that point.
Microsoft officials said last year that the company had decided to rely on Secure SSL rather than support VPN with Windows Phone 8. One Windows Phone official told me Microsoft considered Secure SSL "a better, light-weight approach" to providing this kind of functionality in the new BYOD (bring your own device) world that is adopting Web servcies.
After Microsoft's introduction of Windows Phone 8, there were renewed rumors that Microsoft was planning to add VPN support to Windows Phone 8 at some point as part of what was known as "Apollo Plus." It turns out Apollo Plus was just a generic Microsoft name for the wave of updates to Windows Phone 8 and not a specific update.
The current plan, from what I'm hearing, is to focus this year on securing new Windows Phone 8 apps and devices. The GDR updates are meant to provide minor updates and tweaks to the Windows Phone 8 operating system. But my sources said the thinking by the powers-that-be in the Windows Phone team is that the base phone operating system is largely good enough for now, and apps and devices are what need the most attention.
The way to think about the three General Distribution Releases (GDRs) is that they are meant to provide bug fixes and specific updates requested by handset makers and mobile operators, I hear. GDR2 is about making some much-needed Xbox music app fixes, allowing Data Sense metering, and CalDAV and CardDAV support. GDR3 is the update that will help support larger screen devices.
Windows Phone Blue is where more major new features will be added. Will VPN be among them? No word so far.
Microsoft, unsurprisingly, isn't talking about GDR3 or Windows Phone Blue. It's shut-up-and-ship over there.
There is some good news for business users on the Windows Phone platform this week, however. Good Technology's enterprise messaging app is now available for Windows Phone 8.
There already was a version of Good's encrypted e-mail for Windows Phone 7.X. But the Windows Phone 8 version of Good's app didn't arrive until today, May 17, according to WPCentral. (The new Good app works on both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.) The Good WP app provides secure access to email, calendar and contacts; remote lock and wipe; supports blocking copy-paste policy; and more.