Good news for Windows Phone fans, as Microsoft has reportedly shipped the next version of the operating system to handset manufacturers. This means that, assuming that tests are successful, we should have the first devices powered by Windows Phone 8.1 as early as next month.
We've been reported on the Windows Phone 8.1 upcoming release over the last couple of days and it seemed that Microsoft was forced to delay the release of the Developer Preview for about one week.
At the same time, it wasn't clear when exactly the operating system would be shipped to OEMs, so that they could test it and put it on their devices.
Given the fact that the Windows Phone 8.1 core was finished just a few days ago, we assumed that Microsoft's bug fixing team would have to work for another week or so to iron out all the issues and bugs, but things turned out to be slightly different.
WPCentral reports that Microsoft shipped Windows Phone 8.1 to OEMs on March 26, which means that handset manufacturers are currently testing the new operating system and if nothing bad happens, they will be able to bring their first smartphones on the market no later than April.
We have already reported on the first smartphones that should be introduced next week at BUILD 2014 developer conference, Nokia Lumia 630 and Lumia 930.
Aside from these Nokia devices, Samsung plans to launch another Windows Phone 8.1 called ATIV SE. The smartphone should be launched in the United States on April 18 and will be exclusively available through Verizon Wireless.
Although the Samsung ATIV SE might be introduced on April 18, there's a high chance that the phone will not go on sale until April 23.
According to WPCentral, various sources close to the matter have confirmed that beginning April 23, new smartphones powered by Windows Phone 8.1 will be available for purchase on the market.
However, it's unclear which device will go on sale on April 23 and where exactly. The unnamed source has not clarified whether or not these Windows Phone 8.1 handsets will only be launched in the United States in late April.
In the same piece of news, Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview that should have been released at BUILD 2014 on April 2-4 is now expected to be delivered by “late April.”
For the time being, no exact release date has been decided, as Microsoft is now making last-minute preparations for the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.