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.