Windows Phone 8 update to bring FM radio and other improvements

It's been almost five months since Windows Phone 8 launched, and since then, we've already seen the first OS update being deployed in the form of 'Portico', which was first officially announced back in December, and is continuing to roll out to handsets around the world. While it brought relatively minor improvements to the OS, Portico is the first of a wave of updates collectively referred to as 'Apollo Plus', but more formally referred to as 'General Distribution Releases' or GDRs. 

The second such update is already in the works, and The Verge has spoken with "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans" to get a few bits of info on what's in store. According to those sources, one major component of the GDR2 update will be the activation of FM radio support. Many first- and second-generation Windows Phone 7 handsets offered FM radios, but the feature has not been supported in Windows Phone 8 since launch. Devices such as Nokia's Lumia 920 and 820 include FM radio hardware, but without the OS support, it has not yet been possible to enable this feature on handsets.

Nokia is said to be planning its own additional improvements to be included with the GDR2 release. "Sources familiar with Nokia's plans" have suggested that various features will be added, including a 'flip-to-silence' option, and Lumia colour profile settings for the Start screen and OS; from my own conversations with Nokia, I can confirm that these two features are indeed being prepared; the latter feature was originally pencilled in for the first quarter of this year, but is evidently due to arrive later than originally hoped. 

One further feature that's expected in GDR2 is the ability to double-tap the screen to wake the device from standby, rather than pushing the power/sleep/wake button along its right edge. This feature is said to be destined solely for the higher-end Lumia 920 and 820, though we can perhaps expect it to also feature on the upcoming Lumia 928

There's no solid info on exactly when we can expect GDR2 to be officially announced or released, so for now, watch this space. 

Source: The Verge | Image via Nokia

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Xbox Music app updated, brings various improvements

Next Story

Microsoft gives more info on how IE10 handles historic dates

40 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Flip to mute? I have seen the Omnia W and Lumia 510 (WP7 products) do this. Was it removed in WP8 or what? That's like a standard smartphone feature now. Almost all the level of screen turning of when phone is held against the ears.

I'm willing to bet that a larger number of people would benefit from FM radio than VPN support and it also makes sense for them to add a feature to WP8 that was present in WP7.

With any luck VPN support will be included in this update though as MS said last year that it's coming.

The 8x already has flip-to-mute, quiet-ring-on-pickup, and increase-ring-when-in-pocket.

Should really be a standard OS features, though.

yowanvista said,
WP really needs to natively support mkv playback.

It wont, Microsoft wont support MKV, they even stopped supporting AVI (which is almost the same as MKV).

Shadowzz said,

It wont, Microsoft wont support MKV, they even stopped supporting AVI (which is almost the same as MKV).
Wtf? WP8 can play most AVIs, and how the heck is AVI the same as MKV? lol

Shadowzz said,

It wont, Microsoft wont support MKV, they even stopped supporting AVI (which is almost the same as MKV).

It is possible Microsoft might support MKV in future (based on an email response I had). But I don't believe they will support now even though I too want it.

Crimson Rain said,

It is possible Microsoft might support MKV in future (based on an email response I had). But I don't believe they will support now even though I too want it.

Cant see the edit button. Just wanted to clarify my comment is not directed to any Microsoft product specifically.

Nokia has had FM tuners in a lot of their older dumbphones as well. Odd that they had this feature but not the software to support it. I only use a FM radio in my care these days. I use the app TuneIn radio the other times as I can get radio stations from all acrossed the country and not have to worry about being out of range. IMO, FM tuners are just a waste. But to each their own.

no he said its a waste. like infra red. no point un using this. its not like xbox music or nokia music or pandora or beem or whatever would offer you music for free .. its like putting video calls via gsm as a new feature again

ahhell said,
So Nokia is giving users a free feature and yet you feel the need to complain about it.
Nice.

If thats what you saw/read...then yea, sure..whatever. Go forbid I give my opinion on FM tuners in general.

techbeck said,
Nokia has had FM tuners in a lot of their older dumbphones as well. Odd that they had this feature but not the software to support it. I only use a FM radio in my care these days. I use the app TuneIn radio the other times as I can get radio stations from all acrossed the country and not have to worry about being out of range. IMO, FM tuners are just a waste. But to each their own.

Not everyone has access to internet everywhere every moment.

Crimson Rain said,

Not everyone has access to internet everywhere every moment.

I didnt say everyone. I gave my opinion and what I use. That is all.

Crimson Rain said,

Not everyone has access to internet everywhere every moment.

Not only that, an FM radio is MUCH less strain on the battery then listening to internet music...

techbeck said,
Nokia has had FM tuners in a lot of their older dumbphones as well. Odd that they had this feature but not the software to support it. I only use a FM radio in my care these days. I use the app TuneIn radio the other times as I can get radio stations from all acrossed the country and not have to worry about being out of range. IMO, FM tuners are just a waste. But to each their own.

Tune in or similar apps use data, if you are using at&t or verizon you wont have unlimited data and even if you do have unlimited data it drains battery quickly. FM doesnt use data and cosume battery a lot less because it wont use cellular

You guys are missing the BIGGEST upshot of enabling the FM radio:

The next update of Nokia's Here Drive+ COULD include live traffic, which relies on FM

With WiFi being everywhere, data is not an issue. With plugs for phones being everywhere, and Android cables being compatible with most electronics, not an issue.

But like I said, to each their own.

FM radio a needles feature? For you maybe, but many, many people will not buy a phone if it does not have an FM radio built in. There is a HUGE market to be won and especially in these (Asian) markets this is definitely NOT a needles feature..

I can see your point but for me, there are many times the utility of FM is hard to beat. FM is such a simple, basic feature I don't see why they excluded it initially.

I mean, I'd have to carry around a $5 device to do what I assume can be shoved in these larger and larger devices.

Well with the kernel rewritten I guess we have to be happy for these basic features. I hope they will have implement USSD, too, I kinda miss that.

Crimson Rain said,

Not everyone has access to internet everywhere every moment.

And not everybody wants to use a metered da plan to stream music.
I am still amazed that FM was ditched from WP8; a really stupid decision. I cannot wait to get it back.

techbeck said,
With WiFi being everywhere, data is not an issue. With plugs for phones being everywhere, and Android cables being compatible with most electronics, not an issue.

But like I said, to each their own.


Not true at all; when I go running, in the middle of nowhere, there is no WiFi.

Fritzly said,

And not everybody wants to use a metered da plan to stream music.
I am still amazed that FM was ditched from WP8; a really stupid decision. I cannot wait to get it back.

It wasn't really ditched. I don't think the move to NT kernel gave them enough time to implement a solution for this.

Anyways, what I am happy about is that nokia has radio in 920!!!

Fritzly said,

Not true at all; when I go running, in the middle of nowhere, there is no WiFi.

And it may not be available for everyone. For me, it is. I never said everyone or that everyone would experience the same thing.

I cannot believe I have to explain my own opinion. If I am posting a fact, I will post a link to prove it.

Internet radio in my office is blocked. I can't always use my phone because so many are flash based players.

So yeah, FM radio for me would be awesome

techbeck said,

And it may not be available for everyone. For me, it is. I never said everyone or that everyone would experience the same thing.

I cannot believe I have to explain my own opinion. If I am posting a fact, I will post a link to prove it.


It does not help to say "for me" after calling it a waste etc.

The proper way to word that is: "For me, FM radio is unneeded because I always have access to Internet everywhere I go and use online radios."

Instead you called them a waste in such a manner people who use it feels to comment.
There is a difference between "For me it is a waste" and "IMO it is a waste."

Also, there could be a LOT of things in your phone that you will never need...always.

Crimson Rain said,

Instead you called them a waste in such a manner people who use it feels to comment.

No, people comment because they cannot differentiate between what I say is a personal preference as compared to me meaning everyone. What I originally said wasnt to hard to understand and I have said things like this several others times with no issue. The issue people have with what I said is that I said a feature I wouldnt use is a waste and since I am talking about WP8, people are sensitive to comments about it.

Its common sense what I meant. I do not know everyone and what they use so why would I mean everyone.

And thats all I really have to say on the subject.