Microsoft yesterday revealed the exact contents of the upcoming General Distribution Release 2 (GDR2) software update for Windows Phone 8. It points to a relatively minor update that comes with improvements to Xbox Music, the return of FM radio which had been dropped for the release of Windows Phone 8, a new Data Sense app to monitor data usage (requires support from the carrier as well), an improved Internet Explorer and the ability to set your favourite Lens so that it’s immediately available when you press the camera button.
Here is the full changelog for Windows Phone 8 GDR2 (version 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78 depending on the device):
- 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.)
- Other improvements. Includes many other improvements to Windows Phone.
The Verge has learned that Microsoft is also planning to roll out GDR3 later this year. It will include support for 1080p displays and quad-core processors and allow Microsoft’s partners to release the first Windows Phone 8 Full HD smartphones (including a WP8 version of the HTC One?). It could also include a rotation lock option.
A more significant update, Windows Phone Blue, is expected in early 2014. Among the features it is set to include are a notification center, improved multitasking and updates to the built-in apps. A “feature pack” is also expected to add some enterprise improvements and VPN support.
The report adds that Microsoft had been hoping to push out more frequent updates this year but ran into delays over new chipset testing and bugs in the GDR updates.