Windows Phone 8.1 In Testing?

If new screenshots posted to the Reddit social network are true, Windows Phone 8.1 a possible update to Windows Phone 8 could now be in testing on a small amount of devices.

The screenshot, taken by a Reddit user who created the Archiver application that’s currently available for download in the Windows Phone Store, depicts a breakdown of what versions of Windows Phone his application has come in contact with.

While those version numbers are completely dominated by code branches of the 8.0 operating system –today’s shipping version of Windows Phone, near the very bottom of the photo is a notation for Windows Phone 8.10.12076.0.

So far, this is the first time that version number has shown up publicly. What makes it more interesting is that this number lines up with the branding that Microsoft’s using on Windows 8.1 or what it had been codenamed Windows “Blue” until Microsoft announced its final branding for the update back in May.

Analytics results from Windows Phone app Archiver that depicts the small scale usage of an operating system reporting it's self as Windows Phone 8.10

Analytics results from Windows Phone app Archiver that depicts the small scale usage of an operating system reporting it’s self as Windows Phone 8.10

Unfortunately, if it the operating system is in testing, it might not be widespread as the Archiver application has only come in contact with that version of the operating system just twice. The developer hasn’t yet posted any information about a possible time frame for when his application first encountered the operating system.

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Read: Windows Phone ‘Blue’ Update Arriving later This Year

Currently next to nothing is officially known about the next version of Windows Phone 8 other than the “Blue” codenamed that has been a topic of discussion for Microsoft watchers who are usually pretty accurate like Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. It’s been her assertion that the Blue codenamed referred to an entire wave of products updates across many of Microsoft’s businesses.

If that’s true, it’s logical that this 8.1 operating is the final branding for a coming up to Windows Phone, as Microsoft seems to be attempting to keep its consumer operating system branding for Windows Phone and Windows in lockstep, even if it has to fudge update numbers to do so as is the case with Windows 8.1.

According to Foley, Windows Phone Blue is believed to include developer facing features and an application development model that mirrors the one used in Windows 8, further unifying the two operating systems. If this is true, users could expect a much better application situation than the one they are saddled with now.

While Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 have interfaces inspired by Microsoft’s Metro design principles, applications purchased for one operating system don’t work on the other. As a result apps like the new Halo: Spartan Assault game that users have been excited about recently, will require separate purchases if a user wants to play the game on both of Microsoft’s mobile platforms.

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Microsoft plans to discuss Windows Phone development at its BUILD conference later this month according it’s the conference’s website.

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