Windows Phone 8.1 reaches RTM, new devices expected in weeks

This week, at its BUILD conference in San Francisco, Microsoft is expected to officially unveil Windows Phone 8.1 – the most significant update to its mobile OS since its launch in late 2012. The update has already been extensively (and unofficially) detailed in recent weeks, thanks to a leaked SDK, but there are still many questions yet to be answered. 

With its official unveiling now imminent, many have wondered about the progress and status of the update’s development behind the scenes, since Microsoft has remained tight-lipped regarding its plans. But WPCentral has revealed that Windows Phone 8.1 finally reached its final development milestone earlier this week, with the completed build being sent to Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners a few days ago, on March 26.

With RTM now reached, the finish line is finally approaching in the marathon wait for Windows Phone 8.1. Device manufacturers will now be focusing on integrating the OS with the new hardware that they’ve got lined up, as well as preparing updates for existing handsets.


Existing users may have to wait a while before they see this screen again

Microsoft has previously stated that all Windows Phone 8 devices will be eligible for the update to 8.1, but carriers and OEMs will have the final say on whether individual handsets will actually receive the update. Last month, T-Mobile US refused to update its Lumia 810 Windows Phone 8 handset to the most recent Update 3 build, for example, and the wording the company used makes it sounds unlikely that that device will receive any further updates, including 8.1. 

For those existing devices that are destined to receive 8.1, the process of rolling out the update could take months. Those eligible to download updates early via the Developer Preview program should be able to do so by the end of next month, according to WPCentral.

 
Hope you like soft buttons!

The first all-new devices sporting Windows Phone 8.1 are expected to launch in the last week of April, perhaps as early as April 23. These may include the Lumia 630 'Moneypenny' and 930 'Martini', which Nokia is expected to announce this week, at an event complementary to Microsoft’s BUILD conference, and other handsets such as the Samsung ATIV SE for Verizon, and a rumoured Windows Phone version of the new HTC One

Source: WPCentral

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I hope dev unlocked phones get this update pretty close to next weeks Build conference. Also hanging to see Nokia's new hardware.

trip21 said,
I hope dev unlocked phones get this update pretty close to next weeks Build conference. Also hanging to see Nokia's new hardware.

I'm looking forward to what ms brings out after the merger completes, along with the hopeful slew of android devices with wp roms added (it should be that easy for OEM's now).

duddit2 said,

I'm looking forward to what ms brings out after the merger completes, along with the hopeful slew of android devices with wp roms added (it should be that easy for OEM's now).

You're not going to get dual booting devices. Both Google and Microsoft put an end to that nonsense.

Dot Matrix said,

You're not going to get dual booting devices. Both Google and Microsoft put an end to that nonsense.

I think they are talking about the ability for OEMs to install WP8.1 on some existing Android designed devices, that isn't the same as dual boot.

However, you are correct, that Google is trying to fight even this, threatening to revoke their App certifications if OEMs use WP8 on the same device. (They haven't liked the performance comparisons.)


Mobius Enigma said,

I think they are talking about the ability for OEMs to install WP8.1 on some existing Android designed devices, that isn't the same as dual boot.

However, you are correct, that Google is trying to fight even this, threatening to revoke their App certifications if OEMs use WP8 on the same device. (They haven't liked the performance comparisons.)

Installing WP on Android designed devices is kind of a crappy deal. I'd rather Microsoft and OEMs work on designing hardware specifically for WP.

Dot Matrix said,

Installing WP on Android designed devices is kind of a crappy deal. I'd rather Microsoft and OEMs work on designing hardware specifically for WP.

If the hardware is agnostic, like the buttons, or software buttons, there is no reason they couldn't use WP. (Most Android devices already use the same 3 button design or onscreen buttons.)

Microsoft is expanding out the WP8.1 HAL and drivers for more CPU/chipset support for this reason. The problem is being locked to OEM availability, which is the downside of how devices are 'secured' in contrast to the open nature of PC hardware.

Windows did well by being a universally installed OS without hardware restrictions. So for WP8 to move in this direction it is a good thing.

(For example in the early Win3.x days, the PS/2 was popular with OS/2 1.3, but it required buying a specific type and brand of hardware; and this killed the PS/2 and OS/2 1.x, just as Microsoft warned IBM.)

I personally would like to see Microsoft offer WP8.1 for $10 to Android users that want to upgrade. Technically this has a lot of hurdles with legality and how devices are locked, but if it was possible, it could flip the phone market almost overnight.

pratnala said,
No carrier-specific sh*t here in India \m/
Nokia releases the update irrespective of carrier \m/

It's really just the US that messes around with this thing, other parts of the world don't have carriers blocking updates and so on.

pratnala said,
Even Europe has it no?

Carriers test it and push it out but so far I don't know of any EU carrier not supporting a device yet. So far when updates go out AT&T is always dead last to do it.

Either way my HTC 8X is unlocked and not tied to any carrier, best way to go really if you can pay the upfront cost.

pratnala said,
Even Europe has it no?

Only if you buy a branded device; you can go in any store and buy Unbranded devices there, something impossible in the US thanks to the carriers racketeering...

The 520 with its limited RAM could not be able to run all the new functionalities though. My daughter has one and I read conflicting comments about it.

Cosmocronos said,
The 520 with its limited RAM could not be able to run all the new functionalities though. My daughter has one and I read conflicting comments about it.

I have seen some things that will run on the 520 with WP8.1 that wouldn't with WP8.

This has to do with the unlocking of some of the OS level Apps. For example, one feature was Podcast support in the Music Hub wasn't available on 512mb devices. However, with WP8.1 this will be a separate App from the OS, so it will work on the 520.

Things may change, but I have some optimism for the lower memory devices like the 520 and WP8.1. (Remember Windows 8.1 itself runs better on 1gb PCs than Windows 8 did, so it is possible even at the core OS level, especially if a lot things are pulled from the active portion of the OS remaining in RAM.)

You can get Windows 8.1 for free on day one. You, Dot Matrix, of all people I thought would know this.

Microsoft changed policies since Update 3 that allows anyone with any Windows Phone to get the latest update bypassing the carrier for free.

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
You can get Windows 8.1 for free on day one. You, Dot Matrix, of all people I thought would know this.

Microsoft changed policies since Update 3 that allows anyone with any Windows Phone to get the latest update bypassing the carrier for free.

Yeah, the developer's path, but I didn't really want to do that in fear of bricking the phone.

Dot Matrix said,

Yeah, the developer's path, but I didn't really want to do that in fear of bricking the phone.

How cute, you make it sound like an Android update.

It is a failsafe install, If there is an issue, it rolls back. The GDDR3 release from Microsoft had no reported issues.


Dot Matix, I want you to note this. The "preview" builds you are getting is are not "preview" builds at all. They are RTM builds. They are not beta. They are not release candidates. They are gold RTM build that everyone's going to get with the carriers.

At least that's how it was with GDR3 and will be with Windows Phone 8.1.

They say "void your warrenty" to cover their butts with the legal guys. They call it "developer preview" as a loophole with the carriers. They can't call it enthuists's or early adapter or the sorts. The carriers won't like that. The name developer is the one they can get away with.

This is not like Apple's dev builds, where you pay $99 for a beta build. This is for everyone that wants it. You pay zero dollars and you get the RTM buits. Not beta, but RTM. Think about that. It's like getting Windows 8.1 RTM from MSDN before the GA build in October.

and just remember the developer preview gives you access to only the software side of 8.1. it will not give you the firmware from nokia or such, so some features may not function correctly until you officially get the firmware side of the update.

Mobius Enigma said,

How cute, you make it sound like an Android update.

It is a failsafe install, If there is an issue, it rolls back. The GDDR3 release from Microsoft had no reported issues.


The update could still go successfully but introduce show stopping bugs. Most phones have recovery methods available but some don't.

mrp04 said,

The update could still go successfully but introduce show stopping bugs. Most phones have recovery methods available but some don't.

The phone could catch on fire and explode killing you. This also hasn't been the case.

If anyone has trepidation about a non-direct update, wait a few weeks to see if they are any publicized problems, or until the code is released by an OEM or Carrier.

The point is that the update will be available, even if you don't want to install the developer day one version. Wait a while and then apply the update when it starts rolling out so you are sure it isn't filled with bugs.

So the point is users are not going to be 'locked' to an older version just because the OEM or Carrier won't support it.

This is true in the world of Windows PCs as well. I, like most users, have laptops here that were sold with Vista and Windows 7. The OEM does not support or provide Windows 8 drivers.

However, I can install Windows 8 directly from Microsoft and use the built in drivers and the laptops work just fine under Windows 8, even if Toshiba or Dell or HP doesn't 'technically' support Windows 8 on these older devices.

So in a way, Microsoft is offering the same policy to end users that they do with Windows on the PC. It is then the user's choice whether they want to take the risk to update to the newer version even if the OEM doesn't directly support the device anymore.

Go to store, download developer preview, sign up, then you will bypass the carrier and get all updates without waiting.
FIXED.

mrdeezus said,
Go to store, download developer preview, sign up, then you will bypass the carrier and get all updates without waiting.
FIXED.


We don't know for sure this will let you get 8.1 early. If it requires new drivers and they haven't been released yet how would you upgrade?

Hope this hits my new at&t lumia 520! It'd be great alongside 8.1 on my laptop. Knowing att though, I'll get it a year after all other carriers roll it out, lol! Here's hoping!

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
You can get it on day one by downloading this app http://www.windowsphone.com/en...6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96

and logging in to Windows Phone App Studio account for free.


its important to note when advising people of this option that warranty may be invalidated by doing this, although i choose this path and cant imagine having a problem.

i mean the issues with a phone that may require warranty service are things like full failure. If you drop it your insurance is still active (because this isn't a warranty issue).

Obi-Wan Kenobi said,
Hope this hits my new at&t lumia 520! It'd be great alongside 8.1 on my laptop. Knowing att though, I'll get it a year after all other carriers roll it out, lol! Here's hoping!

I have Lumia 520 (Pay as you go) w/o activating the Sim / Phone service. (Perfect $40 amazon deal for a wifi device). I've done Nazmus Shakib Khandaker's developer activation. I always wanted to play with windows phone.

It updated me to: 8.0.10521.155 so it appears Ms has not finalized Lumia 520 (or at least they pay as yo go model) 8.1 update yet.

(Edit) You **may** be able to use the Nokia Recover Software to go back to official factory, however I'm only going to say it's giving me the option (not tested reverting) on my phone. Your millage may vary. http://www.nokia.com/gb-en/sup...gleTopic&topic=FA142987

Edited by Jason Stillion, Mar 30 2014, 2:22pm :

Obi-Wan Kenobi said,
Hope this hits my new at&t lumia 520! It'd be great alongside 8.1 on my laptop. Knowing att though, I'll get it a year after all other carriers roll it out, lol! Here's hoping!

I wasn't paying attention and let the Nokia Recovery software download and run.
It restored the phone to when I wasn't paying attention. It did successfully down grade it from 8.0.10521.155 (not officially released) back to 8.0.10517.150. My Phone model is Lumia 520, RM-915. Your millage may will vary.

just so you know 8.0.10521.155 is GDR3 and not any part of wp8.1 depending on what region and carrier you are with GDR3 may be available or not. but you can always use the developer preview to get the software side of the updates minus nokias firmware.

That's why I still love Apple... Bypass the carriers and no OEM.... Nobody except Apple can decide if your iPhone can be upgraded or not.

TruckWEB said,
That's why I still love Apple... Bypass the carriers and no OEM.... Nobody except Apple can decide if your iPhone can be upgraded or not.

I thought Microsoft decides if your phone is upgraded.

Did you read the article?

"but carriers and OEMs will have the final say on whether individual handsets will actually receive the update"

This will be an interesting scenario to watch, as the terms in the past were "You are permitted to skip only one update at a time"

TruckWEB said,
That's why I still love Apple... Bypass the carriers and no OEM.... Nobody except Apple can decide if your iPhone can be upgraded or not.
Agreed. While I think Microsoft has done a very good job with it, Apple still has it the best. Granted, its *only* them making iOS devices, whereas OEMs might want to obsolete hardware sooner rather than later.

I really wish Google had followed in their footsteps, but it seems more like Android was made to please carriers and OEMs more than anything else. At least early on. They've been improving, too.

TruckWEB said,
That's why I still love Apple... Bypass the carriers and no OEM.... Nobody except Apple can decide if your iPhone can be upgraded or not.
Exactly!

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
No, anyone can get Windows 8.1 on their 8.0 phone the day it is released, bypassing carrier intervension, legally and for free from Microsoft. All you have to do is log in to the Windows Phone App Studio, and download this app:

http://www.windowsphone.com/en...6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96

This unlocks your phone and you will start getting updates from day one forever no questions asked, regardless of your manufacturer or carrier.

thanks man I was looking for this!!

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
No, anyone can get Windows 8.1 on their 8.0 phone the day it is released, bypassing carrier intervension, legally and for free from Microsoft. All you have to do is log in to the Windows Phone App Studio, and download this app:
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96

This unlocks your phone and you will start getting updates from day one forever no questions asked, regardless of your manufacturer or carrier.

Thank You !!!
If this was reddit, I give you gold right now
(and understand this voids my warranty)

This is true. But this does not update the firmware. I have HTC 8X (Tmobile), and TMobile would not update to GDR3, so I used Developer's Preview and update to GDR3, but corresponding firmware was not updated. Firmware update would have solved a couple of minor issues, but GDR3 is pretty good.

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
No, anyone can get Windows 8.1 on their 8.0 phone the day it is released, bypassing carrier intervension, legally and for free from Microsoft. All you have to do is log in to the Windows Phone App Studio, and download this app:
http://www.windowsphone.com/en...6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96

This unlocks your phone and you will start getting updates from day one forever no questions asked, regardless of your manufacturer or carrier.


I don't think this has been confirmed that it will let you get 8.1 early. If 8.1 requires new drivers to work then I don't think you'll be able to get it until the OEM releases them.