Windows Phone 8 notifications center and UI changes appear in leaked screenshots

With all the hubbub about Windows 8.1 in recent weeks, you'd be forgiven for wondering what Microsoft's plans are for its Windows Phone platform. While a major update in the form of Windows Phone 8.1 is now not expected until early next year, interim updates to Microsoft's mobile OS are on the cards this year in the form of two 'General Distribution Releases' (GDRs) to be made available to all Windows Phone 8 handsets. 

One GDR was already released earlier this year as the 'Portico' update, but GDR2 is currently in testing, and will bring support for international podcasts, CalDAV/CardDAV and FM radio when it starts rolling out to devices in the next few weeks. GDR3, due to arrive towards the end of the year, is expected to introduce support for larger screen sizes with higher-resolution displays and quad-core processors, along with other features that haven't yet been made publicly available. 

Some of those features may have just been prematurely outed by Reddit user 'ChinaMan28', who claims that a Nokia Lumia 920 that he purchased from eBay featured a previously unseen build of Windows Phone 8 - version 12084.WPMAIN(wpbldlab).20130509-1407. This indicates that the build was compiled on May 9th.

The Calendar gets an updated Live Tile design on the Start Screen, featuring darkened backgrounds for boxes within the tile, which looks like it could now support displaying multiple upcoming events. Within the Calendar app itself, a new weekly view has been added. 

The Apps List now offers the ability to sort applications by frequency in addition to alphabetically. When sorted by frequency, apps are listed into categories including 'most used', 'moderately used'... 

...'least used' and 'never used'. You'll notice that many apps shown here are preceded by the letter 'z'. This is common in developer builds, with many of these apps being versions for testing. 

Data Sense is also included on this build. Data Sense has so far been exclusively available to customers of Verizon Wireless. Its presence on this build may indicate that it will finally become available to users of all Windows Phone 8 handsets. Various test apps were also found in this developer build. 

Perhaps the most exciting feature is what appears to be a new notifications center. It seems to be pretty basic in its features, with notifications sorted by application and what seems to be the ability to clear all notifications at once. According to the reddit user, the notifications app is accessible via a Live Tile on the Start Screen. Additionally, apps can now be closed via the multitasking pane. 

While we can't yet speak to the authenticity of these images, the amount of detail in them - including different times and 'Saving to screenshots...' - certainly makes them appear like the real deal. Either that, or they're a very elaborate hoax - but the user who posted them has promised to share video of the software soon. 

Source and images: Reddit | via The Verge

Update: While Microsoft isn't commenting on the screenshots, The Verge has confirmed with its sources that they are legitimate, and come from an early build of the Blue update, which is expected to carry Windows Phone 8.1 branding when it launches.

Additionally, as pointed out in the comments, the calendar seen in the screenshots is the third-party app Chronos Calendar, not the default calendar app in Windows Phone 8.

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Fritzly said,

I would like a " swipe to the right from the start screen" as shown in some concepts....

Anything that requires you to jump back to the start screen is not great. Why not just make the notifications drop down from the menu when you press the volume button? Or at least offer instant jump to notifications from the volume button menu.

Avatar Roku said,

Anything that requires you to jump back to the start screen is not great. Why not just make the notifications drop down from the menu when you press the volume button? Or at least offer instant jump to notifications from the volume button menu.

I don't think they'll try to do it how it is on other platforms but first see if they can come up with a new way to do it. If it's a button in the drop down menu when you push the volume buttons that is one different way to do it.

Change TellMe to long press the search button, long press the Windows button bring up notifications. This is how I'd like to see it done.

Stryker297 said,
Change TellMe to long press the search button, long press the Windows button bring up notifications. This is how I'd like to see it done.

That sounds doable.

I'd rather they alter the search button to perform OS-wide searching (like it used to be on WP7) with a short press, and access to Bing search from a long press.

Maybe a double tap on the Windows key for bring up notifications?

notification center looks ugly, Notification center should be on left side of start screen and closing any app should be by just dragging the app down or up from multitask screen and there should be a way to organize apps by Type in categories these screenshots looks Ridiculous and unacceptable

Edited by subcld, Jun 8 2013, 2:31pm :

Windows Phone 8 already supports four cores. In fact, it can support up to sixty four cores because it's based on the NT kernel. Why do you insist upon continuing to say otherwise?

Douglas_C said,
Windows Phone 8 already supports four cores. In fact, it can support up to sixty four cores because it's based on the NT kernel. Why do you insist upon continuing to say otherwise?

That's incorrect. Microsoft currently only allows dual-core devices with Windows Phone 8; it's been rumored it will support quad-core devices in the future for a while now, but nothing has been made official.

Not only does it look fake, but I hope it is, because I don't like it.
I really don't want notifications under a tile. That's completely stupid, since duh you can look at the tile of the app you're interested in rather than open another tile.

This needs to be a swipe menu.

/sigh

whoa, wha? Notifications in the Me tile look sooooo much better than that. I hope Microsoft does a better job. All this look pretty bad! I will miss my Windows Phone 7.8 if i'm upgrading to this!

This can't be it, looks quite bad several non-metro elements and there is no way the notification center that we have been waiting almost two years for will looks as simple as that.

Update 9:30am ET: We'have had some more information come forward to us via a trusted source. They confirm that these shots were from an "earlier" build of the next-version of the OS, but that subsequent releases since have had the Notification center removed. In addition, before it disappeared, its look became more inline with the People Hub design. What does that mean in the long run? Just that Microsoft is experimenting with different feature sets and some may or may not make it to the final build. So take these screenshots as being accurate, but only as a snapshot within the development process.
Wow, such a relief. For my heart of hearts I want a notification center, but only if it's done right -- and that thing is anything but right.

LOL This is obviously fake. The font rendering from the 'updated' parts to the real parts is obvious for a noob in Photoshop.

That notification center is hideous and useless and obviously not what it would look in the final build. This is not something that the Windows Phone team would design... and if it is, it's obviously a very early brainstorming mockup.

j2006 said,
LOL This is obviously fake. The font rendering from the 'updated' parts to the real parts is obvious for a noob in Photoshop.

That notification center is hideous and useless and obviously not what it would look in the final build. This is not something that the Windows Phone team would design... and if it is, it's obviously a very early brainstorming mockup.


Multiple Microsoft sources have said it's legitimately from an early build of Windows Phone 8.1.

j2006 said,
Sorry ya I just saw that now. But as others have said, that Calendar tile is not the built-in WP8 calendar.

Thanks -- I'll clarify that in the article.

meh, still not exactly where I want to see wp, but its still nice to see it going in the right direction I suppose.

Please tell me the lock screen will get some love. I miss the ability of iPhone's lock screen showing snippets of more than one email. I want that for Windows phone.

"Perhaps the most exciting feature is what appears to be a new notifications center."

I beg to differ. It's going to end being as useful as a junk mail folder.

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