Windows Phone 8.1 Rollout Starts for Lumia Devices

Nokia Lumia users running Windows Phone 8 will soon begin receiving the Windows Phone 8.1 and "Cyan" updates, Microsoft announced Tuesday.

"Starting today, the Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphone family will receive the Lumia Cyan software, the new Windows Phone 8.1 update and Lumia features upgrade," the company said on a July 15 blog post on the Nokia Conversations blog.

The updates will be released gradually to users worldwide and will be spread out over "the coming weeks," the blog said. Microsoft is keeping track of the updates' status by region, carrier and device model on this page. The updates currently appear to still be in the testing phase in the vast majority of regions; as of this writing, the updates are listed as available only to Lumia 625 devices in Thailand and Lumia 925 devices in Finland.

The rollout of Windows Phone 8.1 for non-Lumia users is widely expected to begin sometime this summer, though Microsoft has not said precisely when.

Microsoft officially announced Windows Phone 8.1 in April's Build conference. Since then, it has been available only as a developer preview release. The update notably features the "Cortana" personal assistant, which responds to both voice and typed queries and replaces the Bing search tool. Other new features include an Action Center that can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen, customizable lock and start screens, support for VPN and S/MIME, an updated Internet Explorer 11 browser, and a new feature to control how the device connects to Wi-Fi networks.

For Lumia devices, the Windows Phone 8.1 update will piggyback on the Lumia-specific Cyan update. Cyan will bring improvements to the Camera, Storyteller and Creative Studio apps.

Microsoft is rumored to be planning at least two incremental updates, called "general distribution releases" or GDR, to Windows Phone 8.1 this year. GDR1 is reportedly close to the release-to-manufacturing stage and may bring native folder support.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.