Windows Phone 8.1, an upcoming update for devices running Microsoft’s iPhone and Android competitor, couldn’t possiblly come soon enough. That’s why it’s good Microsoft is sharing more details about when users can expect the update on their handset.
So when is the Windows Phone 8.1 release date officially? That much remains unclear. Typically, there is a grace period in between the time Microsoft finalizes an update and when it comes to older Windows Phones. Microsoft has said thatWindows Phone users won’t get the Windows Phone 8.1 update until sometime this summer. Officially, Nokia has been the only Windows Phone maker to confirm a time-table for the update. Lumia Windows Phone users should expect a Windows Phone 8.1 release date sometime over the summer.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that users will have to wait until then to download the update. Last fall Microsoft introduced a developer program that allows users to register Windows Phone developer accounts free. Users who do register are able to download pre-release versions of Windows Phone much earlier than casual users. Microsoft says users should expect a Windows Phone 8.1 release date for developers “later this month.”
Finally, devices built to run Windows Phone 8.1 should arrive in May and June. Former Nokia CEO Steven Elop took to the stage at today’s Microsoft BUILD conference to show off two new devices completely built for Windows Phone 8.1, the Lumia 630 and Lumia 930. Users should expect these devices to launch internationally in May and June. Nokia plans on following those initial launches up with a release for the Lumia 630 in the United States sometime after. Unfortunately, the Lumia 930 won’t be making its way to the United States. Here it’s already available as the Lumia Icon and exclusively available to users on Verizon Wireless.
Windows Phone 8.1 is exciting because it includes tons of new features that users have been clamoring to get their hands on for years. Windows Phone 8.1 users will be able to use a background for their live tiles that has a sort of parallax effect that isn’t all that different from what users get on the iPhone 5s. Its Cortana personal assistant sounds as if Microsoft has managed to best the iPhone’s Siri personal assistant too.
No other Windows Phone makers have announced when their users can expect Windows Phone 8.1 to be available on devices they have already purchased.