The future of Windows Phone: WP 8.1 next year, another 'clean slate' for WP9 in 2015?

The future of Windows Phone: WP 8.1 next year, another 'clean slate' for WP9 in 2015?

Microsoft has detailed its forthcoming GDR2 update to Windows Phone 8, but given the platform's continued slow rate of progress, it's inevitable that questions are being asked about WP's longer term roadmap.

One has already been answered by Microsoft itself, with the company admitting Windows Phone's version of the 'Blue' update recently announced for Windows 8 will only emerge next year.

That means major upgrades such as the notification centre we've been waiting for for ages and improved multitasking are still some way away.

Instead, GDR2 will dish up gentler improvements such as more accurate metadata in Xbox Music and the return of the FM radio, global rollout of the Data Sense app, the option to set a Lens app as the default camera and some HTML5 updates.

This all comes from The Verge, which quotes sources as saying Microsoft is in “shut up and ship” mode, which is invariably one of those nice catchphrases that actually means pretty much nothing at all.

There is speculation that the GDR3 update expected later this year could feature any of the Windows Phone 8.1 'Blue' features that are ready to go early, but at this point there's no telling what those might be.

As it is, GDR3 is set to be more significant than GDR2 even on its own. It'll be that update that brings support for 1080p displays and quad-core processors, and Microsoft is reportedly working closely with OEMs to ensure hardware support is present and correct for the wave of 5in-plus WP 'phablets' expected to launch with GDR3 on board.

But wait – our old friend Eldar Murtazin has looked even further ahead and claims Microsoft is effectively wiping the slate clean as it prepares to get work underway on Windows Phone 9.

It's apparently formed a working group to “develop a blueprint” for single WP9 OS covering both smartphones and tablets.

No changes are seen as being off-limits, we're told, and the 'Metro' UI is reportedly set to be significantly overhauled, or even scrapped altogether.

Murtazin does clarify that nothing regarding either the OS' feature set or its UI actually exist yet, so in other words any or most of this could be pure speculation. Which is about par for the course, really.

Windows Phone 9 is (loosely) pencilled in to launch in 2015.

Via Unwired View

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