Microsoft hasn’t said much about the future of Windows Phone recently, preferring to let the ongoing proliferation of hardware do most of the talking. But the question of when Windows Phone ‘Blue’, the next major iteration of the software, will be revealed is a big question hanging over the company’s head, especially as it plans to release Windows 8.1 to the public this fall.
We already know that the Amber update, so-called GDR2, is already available pre-installed on some high-end Nokia devices like the Lumia 925 and 928, and will be hitting existing devices later this summer. Another relatively minor upgrade, GDR3, is supposed to come later this year, bringing support for quad-core processors and 1080p screens. But a full feature release, one that adds the rumoured notification centre and improves multitasking, isn’t expected until early 2014.
Microsoft issued a blog post today outlining some changes to the Windows Phone support cycle, as well as divulging some future enterprise additions users can expect. Starting in early 2014, a “feature pack” will be released to address some major omissions in the current WP8 software for business and enterprise users. These include full VPN support, enterprise WiFi support with EAP-TLS, S/MIME signing for encrypted email, and improved MDM for improved application management.
Microsoft is also lengthening the Windows Phone 8 support cycle to 36, doubling the current 18 month period. This means that even if your phone is relatively out of date, it will still receive important bug fixes and minor performance improvements as newer devices are released. Carriers and OEMs are still required to implement these changes, so your particular phone may never receive the software, but it’s good to know Microsoft is looking out for consumers in this way.