Hints of Windows Phone 8.1 start to show up on Microsoft website [Update]

It appears that Microsoft has already started to update it's main Windows Phone website to include references to Windows Phone 8.1, a full two weeks before it's expected to be announced at the Build conference taking place from April 2 in San Francisco.

The link displays an error page when clicked on, but it's possible that Microsoft will start to add pages for Windows Phone 8.1, perhaps ahead of April, perhaps not. Microsoft hasn't formally announced when the update will be made available (initially to developers), but it's widely anticipated to happen at Build, with a public rollout occurring in the summer. 

In any case it's rather interesting to see placeholders at the official Windows Phone site happening well before the anticipated announcement. Should anything happen sooner, we'll let you know.

For everything else, Neowin will also be attending Build so look out for that in two weeks.

Update: It appears that it was a mistake after all, the link to Windows Phone 8.1 has been pulled from the Features page.

Source & top image: Windows Phone Central

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#4 on their list is the main reason I left WP. The lack of mainstream apps was too much for me.
Also why are #1 and #4 the same thing?

SK[ said,]#4 on their list is the main reason I left WP. The lack of mainstream apps was too much for me.
Also why are #1 and #4 the same thing?

#5 Peer pressure?

Developers need numbers to take Windows Phone seriously. Each platform started out the same way really, and the big problem for Windows Phone is that it was the last of the main platforms to "get serious" so many missed opportunities :(

neonspark said,
although that is debatable, and the existence of the MAC proves it, MSFT should get android apps to run on WP.

...because that worked SO WELL for BlackBerry 10...

Even it it were technically feasible, they shouldn't. Killing the well-honed responsiveness of WP8 with a virtualization layer to provide access to a subset of non-native applications that not one single 'happy' WP user is currently using, at the same time deflecting devs from the mutual rewards of coding for the WP platform, would serve no-ones but the hard-core geek's interests.

Early users of Android were utterly envious of all those iPhone apps (I was!) - Google stuck to promoting their platform and do Android owners worry now..?

neonspark said,
although that is debatable, and the existence of the MAC proves it, MSFT should get android apps to run on WP.

That's hardly even necessary anymore.

mikesingh said,

...because that worked SO WELL for BlackBerry 10...

BB ran out of cash. totally different story.

remember, WP has 3% marketshare so it isn't as if their strategy is the miracle of the decade. In fact, if you give MSFT the working capital of BB, they'd have gone under long ago with WP. sorry to burst your bubble. Get WP to 30% and then say "we're right"

Don't wave that pathetic marketshare number being kept afloat by MS cash as somehow validating the ridiculous policy to avoid the inevitable: run android apps. Basically every MS strategy has proven to be wrong. time for a change.

Does it even matter anymore? Do the general public even care? I think Microsoft missed the boat a long time ago, people can blame Ballmer for that.

Unless they come up with a new OS that could run both Android apps and iOS apps, I don't think Windows Phone is in Microsoft's interest in the long run.

So because they were a year behind releasing a competitor to the iPhone, should they just not bother. Should I have to put up with a sub-par IMO Android experience, and give up my Windows Phone.

I have never understood people who regurgitate the same tired response when people who like the platform discuss new features.

Idiotic post really. How far were Android behind Apple in market share on both smartphones and tablets, probably a good idea they didn't just say "we missed the boat" given they overtook on both!

mdtaUK said,
So because they were a year behind releasing a competitor to the iPhone.

Over three years late if we count WP7 as the competitor.. (Windows Phone user here).

cetla said,
Unless they come up with a new OS that could run both Android apps and iOS apps, I don't think Windows Phone is in Microsoft's interest in the long run.

Exactly the reason why OS/2 died. Because it ran Windows apps. If WP runs iOS and Android apps, say goodbye to WP

And FFS, that doesn't make an ounce of sense.

Steven P. said,

Over three years late if we count WP7 as the competitor.. (Windows Phone user here).

It's easy to say they were behind, and sure even with WP8 they still missed things but so far from the leaks of 8.1 I don't think there's any one major feature the OS will lack after this that the others have, at least nothing that's just purely cosmetic in nature. After 8.1 the only short coming of WP will be apps but if MS gets on it's A game with developers and makes it as easy as it can be and as cheap as it can be to bring their apps to WP then even that will be worked out.

Key to this is more sales of course but with more OEMs jumping on the share should keep growing, even if it's not as fast as some would like.

All these new features in 8.1 sound great and I can't wait for them. But really these days the main thing 99% of people care about are apps, the OS is almost secondary as long as it covers the basics. I know we've got the main apps these days and things are much much better, but there's still enough of a gap that it puts off some people.

What 8.1 has to have is better dev tools, more APIs, more synchronicity with Windows and for MS to do everything they can to bring in more developers and a few exclusive good games to get some headlines. Things like Spartan Assault, but better and publicised more. Or, not better, but we need an "Angry Birds" or "Flappy Bird" type exclusive to capture the attention of the masses. That's something that could have happened with 7.5, let alone 8.1 - and while such hits are flukes, it's still something MS need to somehow make happen.

'Most people' don't buy an operating system. They buy into a device-family that they believe is good for them, based on the requirements they've established for themselves, and often on what they perceive as good product, based on other's experiences.

Most WP8 users have had a good experience, it seems (WP7 was obviously torpedoed), but that's because they perceive products like the Lumia range as a good experience. If Nokia wasn't delivering good product, WP8 would then be dead.

The reality is, they are and it isn't. Apps will be fulfilled (what's missing anyway?) and it will thrive as an alternative.

I don't think you can "miss the boat" in technology that is constantly changing. It would be like saying google missed the boat when apple launched the iphone, or that apple missed the boat when RIM launched the blackberry.

there are no boats, there are only companies that give up, and those that don't.

George P said,

It's easy to say they were behind, and sure even with WP8 they still missed things but so far from the leaks of 8.1 I don't think there's any one major feature the OS will lack after this that the others have, at least nothing that's just purely cosmetic in nature. After 8.1 the only short coming of WP will be apps but if MS gets on it's A game with developers and makes it as easy as it can be and as cheap as it can be to bring their apps to WP then even that will be worked out.

Key to this is more sales of course but with more OEMs jumping on the share should keep growing, even if it's not as fast as some would like.

Personally I am not so concerned about third party apps but about a decent, possibly good, app to sync WP8 with my desktop/Tablet. Both the Modern and Desktop ones available now are pathetic and so far I have not read anything about new ones coming.

pratnala said,

Exactly the reason why OS/2 died. Because it ran Windows apps. If WP runs iOS and Android apps, say goodbye to WP

And FFS, that doesn't make an ounce of sense.

Partially..

IBM also destroyed OS/2 by charging a TON of money for development tools and the SDK. So it wasn't that users would just make Win 3.x software, it was thousands cheaper to pick up a Win 3.x development tool.

The single input queue also crippled OS/2, which was embarrassing to have the UI lockup in situations where the non-preemptive 16bit Win 3.x would not.

It also hurt that OS/2 was stuck with legacy 16bit drivers/code/thunking when compared to NT.

(I don't know if MS allowing Android Apps would kill or help WP8, I could argue it both ways rather easily.)

pratnala said,

Exactly the reason why OS/2 died. Because it ran Windows apps. If WP runs iOS and Android apps, say goodbye to WP

And FFS, that doesn't make an ounce of sense.

Considering that initially OS/2 was developed by IBM and Microsoft it obviously had to run Windows programs.

Cosmocronos said,

Considering that initially OS/2 was developed by IBM and Microsoft it obviously had to run Windows programs.

It didn't 'have' to run Windows software.

To avoid litigation, the cross development contract was extended during the OS/2 breakup to give IBM access to Windows 3.x.

It was IBM that decided to embed Windows 3.x into OS/2. OS/2 and Windows 3.0 were not similar products beyond the shared CUI prior to OS/2 2.x.

The teams will be very busy getting the Build session content ready. They do need to get the web content ready also.

But I guess the placeholder link only appeared by mistake.

mdtaUK said,
The teams will be very busy getting the Build session content ready. They do need to get the web content ready also.

But I guess the placeholder link only appeared by mistake.

You're right, I think someone messed up but either way I'm sure that when BUILD starts on April 2nd that they'll have all the web content ready to go.

Can't wait... so far from the leaks seems that 8.1 will basically gain all the features of Android and iOS, making it actually up to speed (if not better) than competitors.

I think it's odd that the placeholder links are already there (supposedly) two weeks before the announcement. Maybe we'll be surprised and it is announced sooner for developers? (one can hope and dream!) :p

Has anything been confirmed/hinted that those of us with dev unlocked phones will get access to 8.1 as we did with GDR3? If I have 8.1 to play with it will less the anxiety of waiting for the next gen Nokia handsets to become available.

Microsoft announced that developers will get early access to updates (we covered it here) so that would suggest that it'll be released for developers at Build, although nothing concrete has been announced.

Steven P. said,
Microsoft announced that developers will get early access to updates (we covered it here) so that would suggest that it'll be released for developers at Build, although nothing concrete has been announced.

I think the odds of it going out at BUILD are high, otherwise they wouldn't have already sent out the limited/closed beta that gave us all those leaks. A more open preview build that's close to final should go out with a updated SDK at BUILD and when phones hit the market in May-June apps will be updated/ready for 8.1.

AlexMagik said,
Can't wait... so far from the leaks seems that 8.1 will basically gain all the features of Android and iOS, making it actually up to speed (if not better) than competitors.

it doesn't matter. it will not get new features for 18+ months as it was the case for WP8. Meaning it will fall behind again.

Until Terry Mayerson isn't kicked out of MSFT, late to the game WP releases will remain the norm. It has been that way under him, so it shall be.

AlexMagik said,
Can't wait... so far from the leaks seems that 8.1 will basically gain all the features of Android and iOS, making it actually up to speed (if not better) than competitors.

Are you kidding? Google is far ahead.

Whatever features Windows Phone users will begin to enjoy that Android and iOS user have already, Android Wear is taking Android OS to the next level. With Android Wearables taking center stage this year, who will want to buy a Windows Phone?

VictorWho said,

Are you kidding? Google is far ahead.

Whatever features Windows Phone users will begin to enjoy that Android and iOS user have already, Android Wear is taking Android OS to the next level. With Android Wearables taking center stage this year, who will want to buy a Windows Phone?


Pebble works with WP as well.
And what is there that Android has superior over WP8 after 8.1? Pretty much all the short comings of the OS itself I have issues with are taken care off.

What that Android can Multi-task fully? Oh no. Not my concern though, I wouldn't want an app in the background acting like I'm actively using it at that moment. I prefer the tombstoning, if done right, you won't even notice it isnt true multi-tasking. Because while in the background, apps can still perform tasks and do stuff.

It's a phone, give me battery life and endurance.
True multi-tasking is done on productivity devices, laptops and computers. Not phones, and maybe tablets. Or am I mistaken? Anything else Android does superior?

VictorWho said,

Are you kidding? Google is far ahead.

Whatever features Windows Phone users will begin to enjoy that Android and iOS user have already, Android Wear is taking Android OS to the next level. With Android Wearables taking center stage this year, who will want to buy a Windows Phone?

You would be shocked how many things that can already be done on WP8 that cannot be done on Android.

If you evaluate inherent functionality, the number of these items increases significantly.

Try this, put 25 years, 65,000 messages, and 10gb of email on your Android phone. (Pick any built in or custom Email App.) This is easy for WP8, has no impact on performance and even puts all the emails into the People Hub 'History' effortlessly. This is one reason I won't carry an Android device for my personal use.


Mobius Enigma said,

You would be shocked how many things that can already be done on WP8 that cannot be done on Android.

If you evaluate inherent functionality, the number of these items increases significantly.

Try this, put 25 years, 65,000 messages, and 10gb of email on your Android phone. (Pick any built in or custom Email App.) This is easy for WP8, has no impact on performance and even puts all the emails into the People Hub 'History' effortlessly. This is one reason I won't carry an Android device for my personal use.


Try putting all your past events to show in your calendar in WP8.....
You cannot.... WP8 will not sync them,

i do, from 365. they are all there :)

Cosmocronos said,

Try putting all your past events to show in your calendar in WP8.....
You cannot.... WP8 will not sync them,