Windows 9, Windows 8.2 and Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1: A few tidbits of information

Every so often, we hear content through the grapevine that helps us to better understand where in the development cycle each of Microsoft's next updates reside and today, we thought we would pass along some of what we have heard.

We have heard this information from two different sources over a span of several weeks, and while the content is not especially detailed in terms of features, it does provide a bit of insight into the continuing development process. When you know how far along each product is in development, of course, it helps to build up some idea - however vague - of when it might be released to the public.

Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 is currently being dogfooded inside of Microsoft. This means that Microsoft is in a later stage of internal testing and is beginning its preparations for release later this year. Internally, the update is still being referred to by its 'GDR' (General Distribution Release') name, but it remains unclear if this will be the name that Microsoft attaches to the update when it is released. The most recent GDR update was renamed as 'Update 3', so Microsoft could take this approach instead. 

Windows 9 is a bit less advanced in its development cycle than Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1. Microsoft's Windows team has begun to share its development progress with some other divisions across the company, but our sources do not yet have the OS on their machines. When we asked our sources if the OS was still on track, we got a simple response of 'yes'. We understand that development remains on track for a release next year, as previous leaks suggested.

The next update to Windows - which may be called Windows 8.2 or Windows 8.1 Update 2 - is getting close to release. Previous rumors suggested an RTM of July and that is what we are still hearing as well, which points to a likely release in August or September. A post in our forum said that the download would be 3GB, we wouldn't put too much weight into that, given that the information comes via a post on another forum, relayed by a user who said he heard it from a Microsoft tech support assistant.

All of the above info should help to paint a better picture - at least in fairly broad strokes - of where each platform is. While not the most detailed information, those of you who understand Microsoft's release cycles will appreciate that this gives us some hints of how close each product is to release.

Additionally, expect to hear what Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 will contain in the near future. Once the OS starts getting installed on more internal devices, the chances of a leak will increase significantly. And as for Windows 9, well, stay tuned.

image via Satya Nadella

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Gawd no please don't let it be another store update for Windows 8.2 or 8.1 update 2. That has caused enough damage as it is. Just let it be like the update 1 easy to install.

"currently being dogfooded inside of Microsoft." Sorry but that is not English: "inside Microsoft" is more than adequate.

i wanna see some screenshots already, i hope they have gotten to the point where leaked screenshots will start emerging

Allwynd said,
i wanna see some screenshots already, i hope they have gotten to the point where leaked screenshots will start emerging

Of Windows 9? At this point they would be no different than Windows 8.1.

Dot Matrix said,

Of Windows 9? At this point they would be no different than Windows 8.1.


i know, right? but they mentioned UI changes and stuff, also something about updating the kernel or whatever, so i guess 9 will really be a threshold

im really looking forward to this

Dot Matrix said,

Of Windows 9? At this point they would be no different than Windows 8.1.

Doubt it, usualy we start seeing changes to the UI or features after a couple of Post-RTM builds, the latest reported build of the next Windows version is version 6.3.9776, that's arlead 176 up, and the first builds usualy contain the big things that get refined later on. So, if screenshots of this build would leak ,no doubt there will be changes to the UI.

Dot Matrix said,

Of Windows 9? At this point they would be no different than Windows 8.1.


Did not you see the clips showing the new, interactive tiles? The guy even mentioned Windows Next. I do not have the link handy but they are on YouTube posted by Windowsblogitalia.com .

I really hope part of the WP 8.1 GDR update is a total revamp of the email app (basically, replace it with the Windows one). It desperately needs support for attaching files (which is now possible in WP 8.1 with the file picker), and I'd also like if it supported Outlook.com aliases, though that one isn't quite as necessary.

the numbering doesnt make sense anymore

first it was windows 8, then windows 8.1 then windows 8.1 update 1 (correct me if my wrong)

and now there is windows 8.2, but its also being called windows 8.1 update 2

You're right on the first part, on the second one not, because we don't know how it will be called, people are just throwing with names at the moment. It could be either Windows 8.2 or Windows 8.1 Update 2, but of course not both at the same time.

From a developer perspective, one thing I hope MS does immediately, is work on allowing Windows 8 apps to be listed on web sites / app stores, outside the Windows 8 app store. Developers who want to make money, need to list their apps as far away from the Windows 8 app store as possible, since the app store destroys the prices of their apps. Essentially allow Windows 8 apps to be listed similarly to the way Windows desktop apps are listed on various web sites, so that they can enjoy optimal prices from site to site, or independent app store to independent app store. See below for more information.

http://dctechnologynews.weebly...ity-of-windows-8-store-apps

Another important thing, is to update Windows 7 to support Windows 8 apps directly, so that developers can access this huge market. (Maybe the update could include an optional mode, which is on by default, which provides a UI theme update, which blends the Windows 7 UI with the Windows 8 apps UI.) MS could then supplement the above with virtualized access to Windows 8 apps, from any platform.

One thing which would be nice, is if Windows 9 includes a configuration that is highly optimized for keyboard and mouse users, allowing them to still use Windows 8 apps well in this configuration.

Patmore Douglas said,
From a developer perspective, one thing I hope MS does immediately, is work on allowing Windows 8 apps to be listed on web sites / app stores, outside the Windows 8 app store. Developers who want to make money, need to list their apps as far away from the Windows 8 app store as possible, since the app store destroys the prices of their apps. Essentially allow Windows 8 apps to be listed similarly to the way Windows desktop apps are listed on various web sites, so that they can enjoy optimal prices from site to site, or independent app store to independent app store. See below for more information.

http://dctechnologynews.weebly...ity-of-windows-8-store-apps

Another important thing, is to update Windows 7 to support Windows 8 apps directly, so that developers can access this huge market. (Maybe the update could include an optional mode, which is on by default, which provides a UI theme update, which blends the Windows 7 UI with the Windows 8 apps UI.) MS could then supplement the above with virtualized access to Windows 8 apps, from any platform.

One thing which would be nice, is if Windows 9 includes a configuration that is highly optimized for keyboard and mouse users, allowing them to still use Windows 8 apps well in this configuration.

They'll never update Windows 7 to include Store apps. The OS goes on extended support next year.

The fact of the matter is, the biggest and most lucrative market for Windows 8 apps is the business market, which is overwhelming on Windows 7 or lower. If MS wants to significantly increase the chance of Windows 8 apps succeeding, it really needs to make it easy for developers to target this market. Also, if Window 8 apps succeed, MS will make a lot of money from its 30% cut of sales.

Patmore Douglas said,
The fact of the matter is, the biggest and most lucrative market for Windows 8 apps is the business market, which is overwhelming on Windows 7 or lower. If MS wants to significantly increase the chance of Windows 8 apps succeeding, it really needs to make it easy for developers to target this market. Also, if Window 8 apps succeed, MS will make a lot of money from its 30% cut of sales.

It doesn't change the fact that Windows 7 is 5 years old. Those companies looking to develop for the Store already have deployed Windows 8. As I said above, Win7 goes on extended support next year. It would take considerable amount of time and resources to update both so that Windows 7 would run the Store apps, which isn't going to happen. By the time Windows.Next is released next year, Windows 7 will be three releases behind. Microsoft is looking forward, not backwards.

What does it matter if Windows 7 is 100 years old? A huge percentage of businesses have just migrated to Windows 7, and businesses are continuing to do so, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. The reality is that most businesses will continue to be on Windows 7 in the next 5 years.

The overwhelming majority of developers cannot make money from Windows 8 apps, and my suggestions are ways to make this happen. If MS cannot get developers to make money from Windows 8 apps, then the future of Windows is screwed. MS can either quibble over when it will stop supporting Windows 7, or take affirmative steps to ensure that Windows 8 and future versions of Windows are supported by ISVs. After MS gets the Windows 8 and up versions supported by ISVs and other developers, then it can worry about when to actually cut off support for Windows 7.

One other thing: MS may want to address the Windows 8 app problem on Windows 7 via only cloud based virtualization, but I'm afraid many users may not want their data residing in the public cloud. My suggestion addresses this problem.

Edited by Patmore Douglas, Jun 19 2014, 7:12pm :

Patmore Douglas said,
What does it matter if Windows 7 is 100 years old? A huge percentage of businesses have just migrated to Windows 7, and businesses are continuing to do so, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. The reality is that most businesses will continue to be on Windows 7 in the next 5 years.

The overwhelming majority of developers cannot make money from Windows 8 apps, and my suggestions are ways to make this happen. If MS cannot get developers to make money from Windows 8 apps, then the future of Windows is screwed. MS can either quibble over when it will stop supporting Windows 7, or take affirmative steps to ensure that Windows 8 and future versions of Windows are supported by ISVs. After MS gets the Windows 8 and up versions supported by ISVs and other developers, then it can worry about when to actually cut off support for Windows 7.

One other thing: MS may want to address the Windows 8 app problem on Windows 7 via only cloud based virtualization, but I'm afraid many users may not want their data residing in the public cloud. My suggestion addresses this problem.

It matters because Microsoft will be cutting off support for Windows 7 in terms of software. Hence "extended support". Second, like I said above, they are working on multiple projects that will eventually accumulate into Windows 9, Windows Phone 8.1, and beyond. To undertake a large project just to bring trivial support for Store apps to a 5 year old OS, isn't going to happen. Microsoft didn't do it to XP when people clamored for extra support, and they're not going to do it for Windows 7. Just because the Store apps won't run on 7 doesn't mean developers, users, or Windows itself are screwed. Why are they screwed? The Store will still be present in Windows 9. There developers will be able to target new users with new technologies.

Windows 7 is a great OS, but brining the Store to the OS, just isn't going to happen. If you want the Store apps, install Windows 8.

I certainly hope MS doesn't have your attitude, because I'm running out of patience over the economic viability of the Windows 8 app store. With you it is about rules. With me, it is about accomplishing goals, and doing whatever it takes to do so. If MS doesn't remedy the problem with its app store for developers quickly, I'm either going to Apple or to the Windows desktop.

Patmore Douglas said,
I certainly hope MS doesn't have your attitude, because I'm running out of patience over the economic viability of the Windows 8 app store. With you it is about rules. With me, it is about accomplishing goals, and doing whatever it takes to do so. If MS doesn't remedy the problem with its app store for developers quickly, I'm either going to Apple or to the Windows desktop.

Huh? What app store problem? There is no problem here, if you want users to use those apps, you'll need Windows 8. Windows 7 just wasn't built for that. As more users upgrade, they'll have access to the store. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Dot Matrix said,

Huh? What app store problem? There is no problem here, if you want users to use those apps, you'll need Windows 8. Windows 7 just wasn't built for that. As more users upgrade, they'll have access to the store. Rome wasn't built in a day.


But last one thousand years...

"The most recent GDR update was renamed as 'Update 3', so Microsoft could take this approach instead."

Correction, ALL GDR updates are named "Update X". Portico is named Update 1, GDR2 is named Update 2 official.

Isn't windows Phone 8.1 gdr the same as the last developer preview + some bugfixes. Why would you expect it to contain more features?

Because GDRs always contain more features, perhaps? GDR1, of Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 - as it will be called, given that Microsoft renamed all WP8 GDRs to "Update" - will probably contain features that weren't finished for WP8.1.

Oh ok, got it now, it's an update to windows phone 8.1 not THE windows phone 8.1 update. They really really need a better naming system :p

They need a new number scheme, Windows 8.1 Update 1 really rolls off the tongue lol

8.1.1 would be better but then people would only complain they are copying apple, or that apple copied microsoft and now microsoft are copying apple who copied xerox, who copied HP, who copied IBM, who copied HP, who copied apple, who copied xerox

Through 8.1.1 is an understatement for what Windows 8.1 Update 1 brings. 8.1.1 implies that it is just some patches, but 8.1 Update 1 is a feature update with interface changes and improved browser.

There isn't much known about future features in Windows, except for everything Microsoft told us ourselfs: start menu and windowed apps. And of course, the obvious stuff: improved security, Internet Explorer vNext and a new kernel.

The main goal of "Threshold" is to bring Windows Phone and Windows RT programming APIs closer together, so that developers can write ONE app, and it'll run across all platforms from phone to tablets to laptops to PCs.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Phone 8.1 got them part of the way there, Threshold is supposed to take them most of the rest of the way.

I would assume this would mean that in addition to the desktop improvements planned, they also plan to bring a lot more of Windows Phone features (unified notification center, Cortana) to Windows. Unifying the user experience and features as well as the developer APIs.

Studio384 said,
There isn't much known about future features in Windows, except for everything Microsoft told us ourselfs: start menu and windowed apps. And of course, the obvious stuff: improved security, Internet Explorer vNext and a new kernel.

I think we will see the new tiles as well, at less I surely hope so.

Looking forward to a unified notification center in Windows ... and am hoping that desktop apps can hook into it (as well as hooking into the share, device, and settings charms). I also hope Microsoft takes a cue from Apple and does more work on integration and cross-device operation... especially the stuff about letting me make and receive texts and calls on the device I'm actively working on (laptop, desktop, xbox one, or tablet) as long as my phone is nearby.

Microsoft is in the best position, imho, to not only match the features of other platforms, but take them to the next level in ways other platforms cannot go... as well as taking things far more "across platform" than others. There's no reason that Skype can't be as good as facebook messenger AND iOS FaceTime for example. They just have to want to do it.

pmbAustin said,
Looking forward to a unified notification center in Windows....

I'll bite. Why -for one's mental sanity- do you want this on a desktop??

I effin hate it on my phone, and will turn it off when MS adds it to Win8. There's nothing more desruptive as constant nagging of a NC while working.

Just don't get this at all.....

Dutchie64 said,
There's nothing more desruptive as constant nagging of a NC while working.

Just don't get this at all.....

What's worse is being nagged from a bunch of different places at once. Unifying it all will make it easier to cut any nagging from one place.

Dutchie64 said,

I'll bite. Why -for one's mental sanity- do you want this on a desktop??

I effin hate it on my phone, and will turn it off when MS adds it to Win8. There's nothing more desruptive as constant nagging of a NC while working.

Just don't get this at all.....

Yeah, I don't get you here. You LIKE missing notifications? Or having different ones come at you from all sorts of different areas? Seriously?

I want one central place to go... so if I see a toast-pop-up out of the corner of my eye while my attention is elsewhere, I can go back and see what it was rather than just missing it. As well as one central place to turn off all notifications (i.e. I have to go to the center to see them, rather than them interrupting me).

I'm not sure why you would think this is a bad thing. It boggles my mind that anyone would think a unified notifications framework and central control of notifications by the user is a "bad thing" in any way, shape, or form.

Some people will find any excuse to complain, I guess.

Dutchie64 said,

I'll bite. Why -for one's mental sanity- do you want this on a desktop??

I effin hate it on my phone, and will turn it off when MS adds it to Win8. There's nothing more desruptive as constant nagging of a NC while working.

Just don't get this at all.....

Well, AFAIK, there's already an option (and has been since 8.0 RTM) to turn off all notifications for I think either 1,4, or 8 hours, depending on which option you choose. So there's that.

Sszecret said,

Well, AFAIK, there's already an option (and has been since 8.0 RTM) to turn off all notifications for I think either 1,4, or 8 hours, depending on which option you choose. So there's that.

Yeah, but that's only for the new toast notifications... it's not unified across all notifications (including any coming from desktop apps, etc).

pmbAustin said,

Yeah, but that's only for the new toast notifications... it's not unified across all notifications (including any coming from desktop apps, etc).

If they connect the two NCs in WP and Windows, who knows? I wouldn't bet on them adding support for desktop apps though.

Interesting if true about GDR1 for WP8.1 seeing as how the public rollout of 8.1 hasn't yet started but with the developer program for those who want it then we'll get it quick while others have to wait for their carriers.

Also if a update 2 or a 8.2 is on the way so soon i'm surprised we haven't heard anything about what is going to be in that one yet considering we had a good idea about update 1 in advance.

George P said,
Interesting if true about GDR1 for WP8.1 seeing as how the public rollout of 8.1 hasn't yet started but with the developer program for those who want it then we'll get it quick while others have to wait for their carriers.

Also if a update 2 or a 8.2 is on the way so soon i'm surprised we haven't heard anything about what is going to be in that one yet considering we had a good idea about update 1 in advance.

I'm presuming smaller fixes and updates to apps? I don't expect much more big releases for Windows 8.

Update 1 didn't change anything on the app side. In fact, since Windows 8.1 RTM, we only have seen small bugfix releases for all Windows apps, nothing more. If I'm right, only Reading List got new features, and Xbox Music. I do not think Microsoft is going to update the apps through an update of the OS. That happens through the Windows Store or whit a brand new version.

You just know people are going to scream at Microsoft for bringing the Menu back. No matter what this company does it can never win.

Vlad Dudau said,
You just know people are going to scream at Microsoft for bringing the Menu back. No matter what this company does it can never win.

The issue is forcing it either on or off, rather than giving users the option to choose. By all means bring it back, but have an option to let the user decide which they want. Have it similar to how the boot to desktop option works now.

yardmanflex said,
Start menu!.....we don't need no stinking start menu!!!!!!

I am with you on this... That's like asking to bring back cassette tapes to go alongside an MP3 player.

gregalto said,
Some good info on the dev spots, still want to know when the start menu will be back.

Until the when happens use Classicshell.

Microsoft may have run out of ideas for another major update (just like Apple). There's only so much you can add/change to an OS. 'Saturation' is when it gets to the point of changing things just for the sake of it.

Windows 8's framework will be with us for a while.