back to article Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare

Developers can now be among the first to experience Windows Phone 8.1 on real-world devices, provided they opt into Microsoft's preview program – and they're willing to risk wrecking their phones. The software giant made the latest version of its smartphone OS available for download on Monday for registered Windows Phone …

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Anonymous Coward

I upgraded this afternoon. Went smoothly and it looks very nice. Plugs many many functionality holes that have long been requested. For instance VPN support is included.

I think the current UK Windows Phone market share of over 11% (consumers) and 17% (enterprise) will continue to grow rapidly - especially once WP 8.1 and the Lumia 930 arrive.

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"...UK Windows Phone market share of over 11%..."

Feb 2014 was 10.1%, down from 11.3% in Jan 2014, and down from 12% in Aug 2013 (ComTech Survey).

So I'm sure the Lumnia 930 will right the ship.

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> I think the current UK Windows Phone market share of over 11% ... will continue to grow rapidly ...

Do try and keep up with more current data :-

http://blogs.computerworld.com/windows-phone/23737/windows-phone-share-dips-worlwide-should-microsoft-bet-big-android

"""Overseas, things are worse. In the U.K, its market share in February, 2014 was 10.1%, down from 11.3% the month previous. Back in August, 2013, its market share there was 12%, and it's been on a downward trajectory ever since. In France, things look more dismal. In February it had an 8.3% market share. It was all the way up to 12.9% there in November. In China, things are bad as well. It had a 1% market share in February, slightly up from 0.7% in January, but well under the 3.5% share it had in October, 2013."""

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"I upgraded this afternoon. Went smoothly and it looks very nice"

Given MS has apparently just dumped support 8.1 on PCs I'd suggest you enjoy it while you can. You might soon have a very expensive brick on your hands if you attempt an upgrade.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/04/15/0053213/microsoft-confirms-it-is-dropping-windows-81-support

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Anonymous Coward

"Given MS has apparently just dumped support 8.1 on PCs"

Erm, no. Microsoft have just stated that to get future patch updates you need to install 8.1 update 1. That's not unusual - there have been many previous cases where specific Microsoft updates are required to continue receiving updates.

And installing developer updates on phones has always been at your own risk.

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Facepalm

"Risk wrecking their phones" ???

How the fuck do you wreck such an unusable car crash as a Windows phone?

That's like asking visitors to a sewage farm not to fart or it'll make the place smell bad.

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Re: "Risk wrecking their phones" ???

LOL, then you charge them for fart bags so they can contain the contaminated air! LOL

Windows Phone? I am guessing they will start paying people to use those things and signing a contract that you WILL use the damn phone. LOL

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Re: "Risk wrecking their phones" ???

"unusable car crash"??? You sound like the people criticising Android who have never used it, or the apple haters who've never used an iphone.

I'll criticise windows 8 with the best of them, because frankly the UI is shit, but Windows Phone is nice. Very nice. The metro interface actually makes sense on it and the performance is excellent.

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Developer unlocked?

I was under the impression that Windows phones could not be rooted. What do I have to do to unlock my stinking HTC Radar Windows Phone 7.5 phone? I'd prefer to install Android, but anything beats Windows Phone 7.5, probably even Windows Phone 8.1.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

developer unlocking a windows 8 phone is easy you just plug it in to your computer and visit the developer site.

Your windows 7 phone won't run windows 8 though, windows 8 needs a dual core processor.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

Seems to me that would require me to be an actual Windows Phone developer, which I'm not. Just a very disappointed Windows Phone user.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

Check out the articles on Winsupersite.com and WPcentral.

You go to the online developer site and register for free, download the SDK, developer unlock the phone and download the 8.1 experience app. It is 'for developers', but anybody with a Windows Phone 8 device and an internet connection can sign up - the Dev Unlock application needs the phone to be tethered to a Windows PC, the rest is over the air.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

You don't need to be a developer at all. The Preview for Developers app is what you're after. It's basically a getout for Microsoft so they can get around carrier restrictions and deliver the update ASAP.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

Robert, as far as I understand it, you are correct, you "just" need the app, but in order to install the app the phone has to be developer unlocked, a free process.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Developer unlocked?

"I was under the impression that Windows phones could not be rooted"

It is possible - and at least one method based on vulnerable vendor crapware has been previously found - but Windows Phones are certainly far more secure than IOS or Android.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

"Your windows 7 phone won't run windows 8 though, windows 8 needs a dual core processor."

There's a nice bit of built in obsolescence there from MS. I'm surprised they don't supply some KY Jelly with the phone so you can shove the it up your @rse yourself after a year to get that true MS customer experience.

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Re: Developer unlocked?

Really?

Pretty sure IOS and Android leave older models behind when new versions come out...

If it was the other way and you could upgrade your single core phone to 8.1 you would be complaining that it was too slow.. like me years ago when I had a iPhone 3g and wanted ios5 so rooted it... quickly realized why apple didn't think it was a good idea and took it back off again...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Developer unlocked?

"I'm surprised they don't supply some KY Jelly with the phone so you can shove the it up your @rse"

I think Apple already patented the curved corners required for that.....They are the masters of short design lifetimes...

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Anonymous Coward

Installed it last night.

It was quick, entirely painless and adds a wealth of nice touches, handy features.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Features that should have been there when WP was first released, not YEARS after.

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Anonymous Coward

Likewise, install was straightforward on my 920. A lot of nice features that admittedly were glaring omissions...but still. No need to caveat a winpho recommendation with any 'but's now, well rounded and usable OS, good app ecosystem, sanity is prevailing on the under the hood tech. Thumbs up from me. Switch your region and language to US and Cortana works fine btw, even here in Germany.

All the paid Google and Apple shills go ahead and downvote/mock. Or maybe you're just people with an opinion, who knows. (although going by the standard of commentardery on the reg I think 'people' might be a bit optimistic).

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Usable?

Yes, it's "usable", but it's still more of a toy than a something useful for work (i.e. a tool). At least the "download" folder I read about suggests that now I'll be actually able to download anything I want -and- access it from a PC. What science! Now if only the one usable file explorer wasn't paid and extremely limited in what it can do. If only there was a way to opt out of "we save all your private data to the clod". If only I could rebind or simply get rid of that "search" button. If only there was a way to tell applications what can they access. If only there was a "storage" mode, not just "device" for connecting the phone to a PC with USB...

AND SO ON

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Re: Usable?

The file system is locked down intentionally. It means that one app cannot access another app's data unless the developer built in a mechanism to do that (like for example contacts, calendar and photos). If an app does access a shared data source is must declare that requirement in the app's manifest.

If all of that's too long-winded and boring for you, just know that you can't get a usable file manager for the same reason Whatsapp cannot be pwnd on Windows Phone like it can on Android.

You can indeed opt out of cloud storage for your data. Look for "backup" in settings, where you can see what gets backed up to the cloud, and turn individual items on or off. Windows Phone 8 already acts as a "storage mode" device from your PC. Your other points are addressed by 8.1 (e.g. not needing a search button).

As for your comment further above (that 8.1 features should've been in 7) - yeah. Absolutely. Like copy/paste on IOS. Or NFC on Android.

But hey, what I really suspect would make you happy is a Samsung G5 or an HTC One M8. All the freedom you want.

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Re: Usable?

Oh god... Please, do you think I don't know that it's locked down intentionally? Do you think that I care about that? If I wanted a tightly closed toy OS, I'd go with Apple. There is security and then there is annoyance. If they wanted the former, they would give users an option to toggle sandboxing almost EVERYTHING. Even if it was only on first startup.

Thank you for having me repeat things I've repeated about ten times before. "backup" does not say ONE WORD about contacts or calendar. Even if it did (it doesn't), it would be too late, because the phone kindly asks you to import your contacts via Bluetooth on first startup before you have any chance of changing any of these options.

No, it doesn't act like a storage mode, it acts like a "device" mode. I don't know the technical terms for either, but the fact that it shows under "Portable Devices" and not "Removable Disc" should give you a slight hint.

Yeah, no. I'm not letting Google (or poor engineering in case of Samsung) take over my most personal device. If I had to buy a phone today, it would be Jolla. But my 808 would have to die first.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Usable?

""backup" does not say ONE WORD about contacts or calendar"

Because these are already backed up to your Exchange server, Office 365 or Outlook.com

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Re: Usable?

Oh, you assume I use any of those and that if I used them, I would synchronize them with my phone. Funny, in a sad way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Usable?

And you are sad in a funny way - can't see what your issue is versus the backup which uses OneDrive. Those are you choices. Or a pen and paper....

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Re: Usable?

I'm not sure if you understand, but the fact that there is no choice is the problem.

Of course, I went back to Symbian, which has none of this stupidification.

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You have to wonder if Microsoft is really taking this whole "Windows Phone" thing seriously.

Can you imagine google saying that to app developers?

"Yeah, we've got a new version of android ready to go lads, but by the way, if you install it, you can never go back. Oh, and the development tools are still in RC status."

...Then you remember that it's Microsoft, and contempt for their user base is pretty much par for the course. Such a shame, because I really like the devices, and I love the UI, but I'm just not prepared to buy one for my own personal use until I'm convinced that they're not suddenly going to pull the rug from under me.

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Anonymous Coward

"Can you imagine google saying that to app developers?

That's only because Android's security model has more holes than a Colander and there is no way to prevent downgrades....

"and the development tools are still in RC status."

And are still miles ahead of anything from Google.

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Damned if you do

... While the non-Microsofties are saying "Look at Microsoft releasing bug filled betas!" while those who use their phones and are 'in the know' about them say "Look at Microsoft bypassing the lengthy operator release process and letting us in with a wink and a nudge".

To paraphrase the noble Mr. Thurrott, this is pretty much the final product.

I just wish I could use Cortana without having to crap out the App Store, it does a good job with my Welsh accent..

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Re: Damned if you do

The app store issue affected, from what I gather, all users - including those still on WP8. Most likely cause being everybody downloading WP8.1 and it updating everyone's apps from the store at the same time. It just fell over.

Store came back up sometime late last night I think - working fine today too.

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Facepalm

Re: Damned if you do

Ahh yes, I remember the days of BBS's on 9600 baud dialup. It's nice to see they are still in use for low traffic requirements such as this, but clearly here more than one simultaneous user was considered so unlikely it wasn't even tested.

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Guz

Rolling back

Actually you can roll back to get rid of the preview, with Nokia phones. Nokia has their Nokia Software Recovery Tool which will restore the phone back to the current supported versions of firmware and O/S via USB (been there, done that).

Personally, after having used iPhones, and Android I REALLY like Windows Phone. It's fast, fluid, and easy to use. Haven't had an issue yet. As for the "lack of apps" argument, I don't see it. The majority of popular apps are there from the originators, and if not, there are third party apps that fill the void. And those that are still missing, they are on the originators roadmap and are in development.

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Re: Rolling back

I stand corrected.

Believe me I want to like Windows Phone. In most respects I _do_ like windows phone, I just get the impression that Microsoft is messing about a bit and doesn't really know where it's going or how to get there with this one.

So yeah, I like it. I just don't _trust_ it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rolling back

There are over 400,000 Windows Phone apps now - pretty much nothing I care about is still missing.

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Well, that was easy.

Just done my T-Mobile lumia 920. Went without a hitch..

Thanks MS. At least I wont have to wait for the bloody carrier to fuck it all up and riddle it with crap...

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Re: Well, that was easy.

Did have a bit of an issue getting cortana to work but a bit of perserverance soon sorted that out.

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Lumia 810

Install went fine. no hardware issues. The added Commands in Cortana is nice. the old Voice features allowed basics. the slide from the top to get to settings etc is convenient. over all I like it. Hopefully MS does not POOCH it when the final version is released.

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