Today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft has officially confirmed that Windows Phone 8 is set to receive a major update this spring, and it also took its time to offer some details on the changes that will be included in it.
According to Joe Belfiore, VP, Operating Systems, Microsoft, the upcoming OS version is meant to provide users with a new experience, which includes support for dual-SIM hardware.
Users will have full control of each of the two SIM cards, the company says, adding that the platform will also feature Live Tiles for each of the cards.
The upcoming version is also meant to offer expanded hardware support, which includes more flexible hardware requirements, Belfiore said.
Among the enhancements that the platform will feature, and which have been detailed today, we can count support for a wider range of Qualcomm processors (Snapdragon 200, 400, and 400 LTE), with a focus on bringing Windows Phone devices to more price points.
One major change that Windows Phone 8.1 will bring – provided that Microsoft indeed releases it under this name – will be support for on-screen keys.
Basically, the three front buttons that Microsoft has imposed on Windows Phone devices will no longer have to be physical/soft ones. At the same time, a camera button on Windows Phone 8.1 will no longer be required, Microsoft has unveiled.
The update will also add support for more connectivity, along with enhancements for devices featuring only 4GB of internal memory and 512MB of RAM. This includes support for having apps stored on microSD cards.
The company is also working with partners to bring more applications to the platform, including Facebook. In fact, Belfiore confirmed today that Facebook Messenger would arrive on Windows Phone soon, maybe in a matter of weeks, but he did not offer a specific release date for it.
Another important announcement made today was that more companies will be jumping into the Windows Phone boat, including Foxconn, ISR, Karbonn, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, ZTE, and Xolo.
Microsoft did not unveil a new smartphone, but it did say that its partners might be making such announcements in the coming weeks. Rumor has it that Windows Phone 8.1 will be fully unveiled in April, most probably accompanied by the first devices to run under it.