Microsoft shares details on next Windows Phone 8 update

Since launching Windows Phone 8 in late 2012, Microsoft has already released one update to the operating system, which brought various improvements to messaging, WiFi and Internet Explorer settings. The update brought the OS version up to 8.0.10211.204, and was widely known by its development codename, "Portico."

You may also know it as General Distribution Release 1, the first of three planned updates to the OS for 2013 – and today, Microsoft posted release notes for the next update, GDR2, which will begin rolling out to devices over the next few weeks. 

GDR2 will bump up your OS version to 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78, depending on your device and mobile operator. In Microsoft's words, the specific improvements on the way include: 

Xbox Music. It's now easier to select, download, and pin music. Plus, music fans will see more accurate metadata (such as song and album information) and many other performance improvements.

FM radio. Listen to FM radio right from the Music+Videos hub. (Not available for all phones.)

Data Sense. Stay on top of your phone's data usage with Data Sense. You can set a limit based on your data plan, or just keep track of which apps use the most data. (Not all mobile operators offer Data Sense.)

Skype. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps like Lync and Skype now feature improved stability and performance.

Internet Explorer. Your web browsing experience is now better than ever with improved HTML 5 compatibility.

Camera. Set your favorite Lens so it opens automatically when you press the camera button. (Not available for all phones.)

A range of further unspecified improvements is also promised, likely in the form of minor bug fixes and performance improvements. 

The next update on the horizon is – yep, you guessed it – GDR3, which is expected to arrive before the holiday season. It's not yet clear what improvements this update will bring to existing devices, but it will be significant in opening up the platform to new, more powerful hardware, introducing support for quad-core processors and 1080p displays

It's believed that more substantial changes to Windows Phone – including some of the "Start screen innovation" that Microsoft promised in its twelve month roadmap – will come when the company delivers the "Blue" update for the platform. That update, which is likely to take on the Windows Phone 8.1 name, is now not expected until early 2014

Microsoft announced this week that it will extend the support lifecycle for Windows Phone 8 from 18 to 36 months – guaranteeing updates to all devices until January 2016 – and promised to deliver a new "enterprise feature pack" that will greatly improve the platform's appeal to corporate customers, with features such as email encryption, auto-VPN and improved device management controls for IT administrators.

Source: Windows Phone 8 Update History

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