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Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers Program should go live Thursday, April 10

It’s Monday morning, just days before Microsoft’s Build conference kicks off in San Francisco. Windows Phone 8.1 is one of a few announcements expected by Redmond, with Nokia following up later in the day with some their own press event.

While Windows Phone 8.1 is going to be the big news, a lot of you are only concerned with one thing: When do you get it?

The distribution of 8.1 will include a few steps, including getting it into manufacturers’ hands, pushing updates through carriers and most tantalizing, the Developer Preview Program. That program, accessed through an app on the Windows Phone Store and open to anybody with a free App Studio account, will allow everyone to install Windows Phone 8.1 on any Windows Phone 8 device weeks before “official” carrier updates.

Windows Phone 8.1

A few days ago, we reported that this program was set to launch in ‘late April’. That was certainly a vague deadline, but the important thing to take away was that it won’t be released the same day as the Build announcement on April 2.  We now have confirmation that the planned release schedule for the Preview for Developer program should be Thursday, April 10, just over one week from the Build reveal.  That falls in line with our original report on the core of 8.1 wrapping development by Microsoft.

The Preview for Developers version of Windows Phone 8.1 looks to be the latest, with the final core of the OS and the hottest patches, referred internally as Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) update #5.

Assuming this schedule does not change, anyone and everyone who opts in to the Preview Program can have Windows Phone 8.1 on their current phones starting that day. Later, when the official update rolls out over-the-air – following carrier approval – those Preview devices will update to the latest version of the OS and firmware.

We should of course caution that Microsoft could change things at the last minute, but internal planning schedules show April 10 as the current date.

More details about the Developer Preview Program can be found on the Windows Phone Blog, which describes the features and limits of the older Update 3 preview.

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Reader comments

Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers Program should go live Thursday, April 10

402 Comments

Not too bad a delay, imo.
This update was long overdue, but if they pull this off and manage to get a decent adoption rate, I wouldn't be surprised.

I guess that depends on if you wait for carrier release. I just got GDR3 from T-Mobile maybe 2 months ago.

:-/

WPcentral's sources suck, please concentrate in the facts so you don't have to retract your misleading articles every week.

Do they? They seem to be pretty good about their sources. And state when they're not sure if its a credible source. I think you're thinking of wmpoweruser lol.

They retracted today with the developers program. They retracted last week with the RTM date. They retracted a couple of weeks ago about the release date of new devices.

WPcentral is hitting new lows on poor journalism.

Its hardly retracting when they are updating and zeroing in on a moving target that no one will officially acknowledge. But hey if you think its so easy and you can do better, let me know the details of your new blog and ill be happy to read it.

I remember Rubino bashing other sites for the same kind of mistakes.

Build is in three days, what's the point of trying to anticipate information that will be announced there if you don't have good sources and the probability of making a mistake is so big?, just cheap sensationalism.

What sensationalism exactly? The title is straightforward and the article states that they have conformation. Maybe I'm missing something.

And each time for those (except today) they clearly stated this news was not fully credible IIRC (rumometer is often included). Today they said this date is supposed to be it from what they understand, but I don't remember an article giving a definitive date (I may be forgetting though). Regardless, even if they did, who's to say that was the date and it didn't get delayed internally? My point is their info is pretty accurate for a large majority of their articles, and they usually state if an article isn't based on a fully credible source. In fact, the only site I see as having a better track record is the verge, but they really don't report much on WP, plus they seem to have a pretty apparent bias (IMHO) against all things MS (except xbox). If these sorts of things bother you, you may not want to read about any leaks or rumors before they become official.

It's NOT COOL to slam another very good source of W8Phone news to take up for another one.
WMPoweruser is a excellent source. They constantly update with news. I'll admit none of their apps can touch the quality of WPCentral. Still they both are GREAT SOURCES for the W8Phone community.

Are you kidding me? Wmpoweruser is so incredibly shameless in the way they report news its ridiculous. They portray every rumor as fact and when it's proven wrong, they shame other websites for reporting about it from such a weak source. I'll admit I read their site regularly, but their titles (that aren't from other sites) are totally click bait and the articles seem to be posted based on every little rumor that pops up. My perspective as a long time reader of their site. There's nothing wrong with calling out issues with sites, even if they like what you like.

Dude, wpcentral are speculating on executive decisions, if you have ever worked in a bureaucracy then you would know how challenging this is. I think late April vs 10 April is pretty damn close enough for me.

Lets just hope this isn't a sick April fools joke haha. April 10 is sooooo sweet. Just enough time to read through all the hands on reviews and wp8.1 summaries then it's go time.

Very nice, and I can't wait❕
It's like after all these years the lights have finally been turned on for the OS with the addition of background images.
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Background images make the start screen look more inviting, and adds warmth to WP... I think WP will have a much better presence on store shelves next to iDroid devices...
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I just hope that carriers, or OEM's, take advantage of the feature in tasteful ways, with their preloaded images, that help devices look more attractive to potential new WP users.

There's only one background image available on WP8.1.. The background of the tiles... That's what I'm talking about..

Funny how no one has mentioned it till now, what would be the accent colour if you've set a background image ? Or would there be a separate setting for that ? I havent heard any such thing being mentioned here..

Not really, because the accent colour is used throughout the OS and not just on the tiles.
So I think you'll still be stuck with that very very limited colour pallet for the OS accent colour.

You got me right, but my question was, we havent seen a setting for accent colour, we saw either accent colour or photo, what if we select photo ? How would we select accent colour then ? No leaks yet about it.

Good point!!.. Maybe you can select both and the background image takes precedence over the start screen only.. Who knows..

I think that you'll still have to select an accent colour. The parallax effect on the tiles is separate I think. Think of it sort of the way Skinnery works. If you ever used Skinnery Themes, you see that you can create tiles with colours or pictures or whatever you want. Yet, it won'd affect the accent colour of your phone. I think it's the same here: even if you use a photo on the tiles, it will not affect the accent colour and you'll still have to use one.

That isnt called background, that is called tile background. Background would've been if the black colour behind was changed. It isn't. Dynamic Tile background is correct.

We'll see what MS calls them tomorrow.... Whatever MS says is what we'll all have to agree with.. How about that❔

Well, the WP community is considering them background images because the information that's overlaid over the images is in the foreground... Therefore WP has background images on the tiles...

Another thing which hasn't been mentioned yet... In the article "windows phone 8.1 features" for which comments are closed, in the apps+store section, i caught THIS !!

  • Facebook app comes with OS, updates independently, hooks into OS

Well, 'hooks into' means integration. So we're still getting the fb integration ? (except for messaging presumably) It seems so, and it seems GREAT !! More updates, better control over your account, and FASTER ! :-P

How come this went unnoticed ?

Can't wait!!!! I'm using a Samsung ATIV S on T-mobile. Being that phones with 4.5 or bigger screens get 3 rows of tiles. Plus apps can be stored on a memory card. I'll be rocking a TOP OF THE LINE 8.1 device.

I expect a full review... seeing that every screenshot you use as a opener has a different configuration of Windows Phone 8.1... we all know you have it. ;)

Who at WPcentral has the SDK? Jay Benett, the developer confirmed (unless he lied) that he did not get access to the SDK. The screenshots look so real. And I noticed that the tile configuration is different in each article, unless I'm wrong. Or, maybe they are really good at photoshop and that sort of thing :)

Yes! Basically any app that changes tiles with accent colors currently will be able to use background image. Example - Fb messenger will use it. Facebook in current state wont. Twitter wont but Gleek will.

Nice, thanks guys! Good part of my apps on Star Screen will be transparent, and some apps won't!

Will be great and smooth and beatiful haha

Can't wait!

Hopefully MS will updates its own apps to follow the accent colour; right now all my tiles but Skype, Office, OneNote, OneDrive, Music and Big health already do it.

Damn it. Another week and a half?
I hope they still show us all the goodies in detail in two days stll

Yep when they LL show us the mouth watering new functions
We will be banging our heads on walls when we will get the dev. Prev. ;)

What would be the 'downside' of opting into the preview program? I'm interested in doing it - bit having never been a part of it I'm curious to know all the details...

Well, you cannot revert to the previous state so if, by any chance, Microsoft pushes a doodoo that kills your phone, bummer. :) But that won't happen. You could void your warranty, though.

I think so too, but you know how dogdy those service centers could be. At least in Croatia they are. They could argue it's only a beta version of the software, thus not covered by warranty. :) But warranty expired on my device so I don't care, personally :)

What Kris said above.

Microsoft does warn you that this MAY void your warranty. At least in the US anyway, here carriers will definitely be douchebags and try to pull that line on you lol

The only down side is that you miss out on firmware update.... If its Nokia you will no longer have features such as glance, etc

Are you sure? :/ I mean, I honestly don't know, that's why I'm asking. This should be an OS upgrade and it shouldn't interfere with firmware. In other words, it's not as if we'll be flashing our devices, this is going to be an OTA upgrade. Gee, I hope it doesn't screw with Nokia's extra goodies but hey, I'll sacrifice that, if need be.

No you not opt-ed out Nokia firmware the only real downsize is a company can void the warranty of the phone because its not a hack but its not a real phone companys have the right to not warranty developers devices cause of some clause...its stated in the terms

He's wrong, you will not lose Nokia's firmware. They are independant of each other, so in the past, if you used the developer preview and you had amber, you would be updated to GDR3 and retain amber. And then when the carrier officially rolled out Black, then you would get the firmware. The same thing now, you will get 8.1 with all of Nokia Black extra goodies, and then you will get cherry blossom or whatever Nokia's new firmware is called when your carrier releases the official update.

I thought Nokia recently updated Glance (and a few other thingys) for 8.1? Or is that just for the official release?

False, glance was available days before Black to any amber Nokia phone or anyone with the preview, you can't go back BUT YOU CAN FLASH ANY PREVIOUS ROM IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT OR HAVE ANY TROUBLE

True. In case of Lumia devices one can always use the official recovery tool to flash the latest official (i.e. non preview) combo of OS and firmware.

That doesn't sound right. It is not like you lose your current firmware, you just arent getting a new one until it is pushed out by carriers. Some stuff might not work, but we have already seen Glance get an update that mentions WP 8.1

I don't think you lose the firmware updates you already have, you just don't get the ones that will be bundled with the offical release later on. Maybe it'll be different for 8.1, but I didn't lose Glance going from GDR2 to Update 3.

This is not true.

You will lose NOTHING that you already have. What you won't get along with the preview is the firmware update that will be released later by Nokia. However, once the final update is released, you get the firmware update and any aditional update to the OS that may come (in GDR3 the preview version was basically the final version of the OS update).

You don't lose your firmware updates. If you have the Amber or Black updates you will still have those if you update to 8.1.

I have a 920 running GDR3 without black update installed yet I still have all my Amber features.

What the blankety blank are you talking about?lol I am in the developer's program and I did not miss any updates or specific Nokia firmware updates. You do not miss out on anything by doing this. It's one of the best things Microsoft has done for its customers.

not accurate, you keep what you have but anything made incompatible stops, and any new features requiring the new firmware don't activate.

We had glance in the last one but not the features from Glance Black and the other Black improvments but everything from Amber was still there. IIRC Storyteller stopped for a bit because it was only coded to work with GDR 2 and Amber or GD3 and Black not GDR3 and Amber

black came out later and everything was the same as the carrier versions or the ones that came out of the box with black and GDR3

@traceamar - you are wrong...
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1. This is OS update, it will not change your existing firmware. i.e. Lumia BLACK, it will remain the same...
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2. You will not get new Nokia firmware with this, that will come later...
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3. If (and it is a big IF) there are changes in SDK then certain Nokia features might not work as intended until Nokia updates those independent apps to work on 8,1, like Glance screen...
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4. Once Nokia and carrier realese final version of OS together with new Nokia firmware, you phone will get this update and everything will be the same no one can tell that you had preview version installed before...

This is false. The Developer Preview doesn't interfere with OEM and carrier firmware, the OS and firmware are seperate.

As such, one can update the OS to Windows Phone 8.1, and still be on their current firmware (likely Lumia Black, for a large percentage of people reading this).

Granted, Windows Phone 8.1 is a very major overhaul, so it's likely that older firmware may encounter some problems and issues. Shouldn't be anything too major and/or severe, and all such kinks will be worked out when your OEM and carrier push out their official update (rumored to be Lumia Blue for Nokia devices).

Don't know if it voids the warranty or not. All I can say is that I had to bring my 920 to a Nokia repair center cause it stopped vibrating (not a sw problem, mechanical failure) they repaired it under warranty and I had the preview installed.

No, that's a carrier specific thing. Verizon did not end my warranty when I installed developer/GDR3.

Don't know if it's carrier specific. I'm not on Verizon tho, I'm in the EU and I went directly to an authorized repair center which sent the phone to Nokia.

Microsoft is mostly saying this to cover their asses, so should a repair center try to be a jerk in regards to warrenty, Microsoft won't have people coming after them.

In most cases (especially if your device is bricked, which is a likely reason why you're seeking service in the first place), a service center won't be able to tell if you have the Developer Preview installed. Furthermore, once you receive the official update from your OEM and carrier, it will be impossible to tell the Developer Preview was ever installed to begin with.

By using the Developer Preview, you do indeed run the risk of bricking your device, or encountering some killer bug that ruins your phone. However, this is true of any OS update, and the Developer Preview is pretty much the final release version that was shipped out to OEMs.

As such, seeing as the Developer Preview is in such a finalized and polished state: I encourage everyone to indulge. WP8.1 is truly the update we've been waiting for, and I see no reason to wait any longer than necessary.

The Devs Preview app itself warns you about the downsides. You will NOT opt-out of firmware updates as someone uninformed said and you won't have any problems with Nokia's or any other software beyond those you may already have due to hardware limitations on your device. However, you will CERTAINLY void your warranty. It's not a "you might" as some people think, it's a total certainty. Nonetheless, if you own a Nokia device, you could always flash your old ROM with the official Nokia software to flash ROMs (I don't remember its name now) and that should be enough to get back your warranty.

No downside that I've experienced. The tremendous upside is that you can run the latest version of the OS without having to wait for your manufacturer and carrier to approve.

If you read the terms and condition, there is a section saying that the software MAY cause irreparable damage to your phone or data, in which case Microsoft will not take responsibility for it.

Having an actual date is comforting. That being said, I probably won't sleep for the next 10 days but hey, at least we will be entertained by all the official announcements this week. :)

Build has me covered for now. Just want to have official word on what they've been working on all along.

Hope Cortana doesn't disappoint though.

She won't, as long as they don't region lock it, as rumored. :) I mean, I'm aware she won't be speaking Croatian any time soon but I hope at least they will let us all play with her in English.

I've put a reminder on my phone not just to download 8.1 when it's released but to make a decision on whether I'm gonna keep Cortana as "Cortana" or switch to the male voice and call him "Jarvis" :P I'll probably stick with Cortana as I love Halo but never say never

Sorry, you have miscalculated days. That would be atleast 20 days without sleep. Once you get this update, you going to need another 10 sleepless night to play with all this goodness...lol :)

"weeks before “official”"... Would be better to say "months before", right? :D
Many carriers around the world still didnt approve Update 3, wich is in fact a small update... Now imagine a massive update like the 8.1...

Letting carriers interfere with OS updates is the stupidest thing ever, imo. But I suppose they all have to dance to the carriers' tune otherwise sales would come to a screeching halt.

they didn't give it to them. The carriers have a lot of power so concessions must be made. They are not in the throne of power like the iPhone.

haha that would just be too much for a techie in one day sir!

I believe April 8th is when Windows 8.1 Update 1 comes out on patch Tuesdays :D

two days later... Windows Phone 8.1

then late April Xbox One update is scheduled as well.

You just mention all the windows phones in my house lol. I uses the 925 my mom the 8x and my little brother uses the 525 as backup phone :)

I have the 925 and 520 for XBox Music and gym. I gave my sister the 8X. She loves the color and loudness of the speaker.

Buhahahahahahahaha !!!

On a more serious note, you can only update One device with the Developer Preview. So pick wisely ;)

I guess since my body was ready first, I'll upgrade it. On a more serious note, I think I'll just do the Lumia 925 then.

Not sure this might work or not, but just an idea...set up each device with different MS account, register each account as Developer account, update, re-set and then set-up all devices with your main MS account..would it work?

Not true. I've updated 3 devices last time with the same account.
Microsoft isn't really enforcing the rule of limited devices ;)

Interesting.. Never tried, just assumed they enforced it lol, well the multiple accounts thing works too, its how I unlocked my 925

Indeed. While I haven't actually been able to test if it would work: when I got my Lumia 520 to compliment my Lumia 1020, I decided to test it out and installed the Developer Preview app to my 520. Sure enough, it said I was enrolled. No hassle or any work arounds.

I guess Microsoft is saying the "one device" thing to try and make it seem like they're keeping it for developers only, while turning a blind eye to the fact that it isn't be enforced. Maybe they're trying to subtly undermine the carriers, wink wink?

Yes! We need cursor in the dialer http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/2294827-cursor-in-phone-dialler-to-allow-editing

Also, when you are on call, if you open an email, the dialer notification is snapped at the top. But if you put phone back to your ear and see it again, you will find that the dialer is back and email is not in the task-switcher!!! Sometime back and forth is required. This is a real inconvenience!

Finally, call from Skype button in dialer would be much appreciated. :)

Technically they say it does, but as soon as the official carrier version drops, you just update to that and your are back in warranty.  Haven't heard of anyone getting bitten by this though.

Very rare for Microsoft to release a buggy windows phone OS. The steps, layers and precautions they take with this Operating System is something I haven't even seen Apple do with iOS lol and we all know iOS is very smooth and stable

So I wouldn't say buggy, more like some bugs here and there lol nothing to render your phone useless or unreliable I would predict. And Microsoft already went through Beta builds and testing with inside IT players and enthusiasts, so that's why this is a DEV Preview and not a Dev Beta.

Sounds like an early April fool but hey, please wish for the right thing too: The Nokia update for 8.1 arrive early !! That would be beneficial for masses.

After reading a couple of rumors from other websites, I have been waiting patiently for you to wake up and set them all straight! Haha thanks again WPC

Hi, I just downloaded the preview for developpers app and accept it, and now my phone is downloading an update ...

Do you know what is it ? I hope it's not GDR3 preview, I don't even konw if it's again available ... (I have a lumia 920 with GDR3/black)

The update is called "Microsoft Update 8.0.10521.155

Daniel, is there any particular reason you don't have the extra 3rd row of tiles on your Lumia Icon? Great background pic btw

As my main OS and without Nokia phones, yes (Unless Microsoft manages to bring Sony in and they put out equivalent hardware to their Z line).
But I'll still be using it on the 1020 which I use exclusively as a camera.

I see. You must have been a hard core Nokia fan and got Lumia more because of Nokia than WP. But I highly doubt about Sony ever making a WP8.1 if Xbox games and other XBox service integration continues (which most probably, will).

I am and yes, Nokia is the only reason I ever came to WP. I've been with Nokia for 15 years.

And we never know though. Microsoft is removing the Xbox features from the core OS which means, theoretically, they can end up conceding and allowing Sony to replace those with their PS services. It depends on what Microsoft values the most. Xbox services on WP or the growth of WP itsel. Given how they neglected Xbox on WP so far...I wouldn't be surprised if they allowed Sony to remove the Xbox stuff in favour of Sony's services. We'll have to wait and see.

Agree, Microsoft has been neglecting Xbox lately. And developers are neglecting because of Microsoft's neglect. Microsoft may try to keep the growth of both WP and Xbox adequate, be it independently or dependently by some extent, but XBOX games has been a sales point for Windows Phones so I guess they shouldn't make a quick move.
We can't say removing core feature say Xbox or music and videos hub or Facebook integration indicates Microsoft's less interest in it but maybe the other way around? Like frequent updates and better monetization? But yes there prolonged Xbox games certification process puts one in doubt.
Apart from "services" I would be surprised to see Sony's PS games replacing Xbox games ;) Nothing exactly can be predicted now, yeah have to wait.

Having the extra column (not row) is a choice. You can either turn it off or on according the released settings screenshots.

Cool... My 1020 is ready! Then the next big question; when are we getting Nokia Blue?! I can't wait to see a real successor to the 1020 (if there ever is one)

When? The article.
Only Lumia 630 and 930 are expected yet. Maybe 1080 be a successor? But can there be a Lumia phone with >41MP camera? It'll be an epic then.

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