Good news... We have some details on the software update everyone's waiting to get for their Nokia 3310!
Just kidding, we're here today to talk about the 8.1 Windows Phone update I know you're all waiting for. We've seen the posts, the tweets, the facebook comments... It's something you guys really want, so we're pleased to bring you more details and information on the new 8.1 update that's headed your way soon. Let's lay it out in an easy-to-read Q&A. We all love Q&A's right?
Why didn't we get this update on 24th June?
24th June was the official start date for the "lifecycle" of the 8.1 update. This wasn't necessarily the date when WP users would get the update, but merely the beginning of its life. From then, it would take Microsoft several weeks to push the update out across continents, countries and networks. We and the UK simply had to wait our turn, that's all.
Okay, okay... Where's my update?!
Don't worry, it's coming soon. We have already started testing the software on our key WP devices that will receive the 8.1 update. We're testing these to ensure the device performs as expected and without any major issues, and to ensure it performs as expected on our network. All-in-all, we want to make sure when the update leaves our hands and reaches yours, it works the way you expect it to.
A DATE! I WANT A DATE!
So do we, with Cheryl Cole if that's at all possible... Microsoft wants you to get this update as soon as possible. Nokia want their devices to get this update as soon as possible. And so do we - As soon as we're confident and happy the update will run smoothly for you, we'll release it back to Nokia for them to push out to our customers. Due to there being a lot of Lumia devices, we're unable to test them all at once so the update may launch at different dates for different devices. We hope and expect for the first 8.1 updates to begin rolling out towards the end of July with others following over a few weeks past then.
Good stuff... What about the Cyan firmware?
As some of you may know, Nokia are also working on a new firmware update they've called 'Cyan' (following on from the previous Black and Blue naming scheme). This will be bundled in alongside the 8.1 update your phone will receive from us, so there's no need to wait for a seperate update for it. What's this update about? Cyan is essentially an expansion on the 8.1 update you'll receive - it will include enhancements such as Bluetooth 4.0 LE support, a new 'Creative Studio' app, camera improvements, and some other device-specific updates too.
What new features can we look forward to in 8.1?
There's genuinely just too much to mention, so we'll highlight some of our favourites:
- Wi-Fi Sense
- Battery Sense
- Storage Sense
- Start screen customisation
- Word Flow keyboard
- New People Hub
- Improved Phone UI
- Action Centre and extended System Tray
You can find out more about what features the 8.1 update will include here
Our Gurus have also blogged about some of the great 8.1 features with videos over here
Anything else we can look forward to?
As a matter of fact, yes, and it will launch exclusively on O2. Visual Voicemail! Want it? You got it! We've been working closely with Nokia to implement this feature into our network and to get it enabled on devices with an O2 Pay Monthly SIM via the new 8.1 update. This works similarly to how it does on an iPhone - when you receive a voicemail it is downloaded to your handset and gives you visual controls to play, pause and delete. No more calling 901/Voicemail for you.
I've got my update. How do I use VVM?
It's easy and straight forward but requires you to activate it first. We've written a guide here on how to activate and use this new feature.
What Nokia devices will we see the 8.1 update on?
We're working on all of our portfolio devices, so this will include the 520, 620, 625, 720, 820, 920, 925, 1020, 1520. The above VVM feature will be bundled into the 8.1 update for these devices, but will not be enabled immediately for the new 8.1 devices - the 630, 635 & 930. We are again working closely with Nokia and the VVM feature will come to these devices as part of a future maintenance release. We don't have any dates ironed out yet but we'll keep you in the loop.
Will we have Cortana once we update?
Unfortunately not – the Cortana feature is being rolled out as a separate feature by Microsoft. The roll-out has already begun in some parts of the world but we’re within the UK we don’t expect to see this feature enabled until some time in Q4. Sorry for any frustration this causes as we know Cortana is a feature many are looking forward to. As rollout plans from Microsoft progress, we’ll keep you updated whenever we know more about release dates.
Windows Phone apps from O2?
The following apps are already available for WP 8.0 devices and should work absolutely fine on 8.1 too: Up at The O2, My Network, O2 Academy, O2 Tracks & O2 Priority Moments.
Where's O2 Wifi, TU Go and My O2?
Our team have been working on these tirelessly and we're looking to bring these to you soon. Don't worry, we'll make sure to keep you updated along the way!
Don't forget if you'd like to discuss any particular O2 app or would like help or assistance with any of the apps or their features, we have a dedicated O2 Apps board here
Fancy the chance to win a WP 8.1 powered Lumia 930?
What sort of a question is that? Of course you do... Join us on Twitter (@O2) from 9am Friday 18th July where we'll be running a series of games. We'll choose a winner from each game who'll win a Lumia.
More info on the competition over here
The O2 update to 8.1 with VVM is now available on all Lumia devices
1st August Update
Unfortunately many of the 8.1 updates had been slightly delayed in being pushed out to customers - this impacts all networks across all countries. It's important to understand that O2 have already approved all of the 8.1 updates which are sitting with Nokia - at this stage, there's little we can do to speed up the process as the last part of the equation is for the update to be released to customers.
On the other hand, it's also important to realise that Nokia have several hundred updates, all of which will differ from release to release. This spans across all network, all countries & all continents that Nokia operate in - it's a very important update for Nokia and their users so they want to get this right and ensure all updates go out as planned without any issues.
We have however met with Nokia and discussed this and we hope to have our updates streamlined and prioritised as much as possible. We currently hope to see updates begin rolling out again late next week but please bear the above in mind - unfortunately delays can happen, especially when the update is as big and widespread as 8.1.
VVM on 8.1 Devices (930, 630, 635)
We will shortly be approving a maintenance release for these devices which will be sent to Nokia to join our current queue of 8.1 updates awaiting being pushed out to customers. This update is only for enabling VVM - it won't include any other changes
VVM on Business tariffs?
Yep, it works - you got it!
Where's my update? WHERE IS ITTTTT?!?!?!
It's closer now more than ever! We're extremely, insanely, massively, immensely hopeful that the 8.1 update will roll out to the rest of the Lumia devices before this weekend. Given there's not many weekdays left this week... It'll be pretty soon.
18th Aug Update
VVM Update for Lumia 630/635/930
This update went live over the weekend so you should have it available to you now if it hasn't already been updated. Remember this update is only to enable VVM - it doesn't contain any other changes.
So hopefully we should all get it by the end of August do you know the order of the phones to get the update e.g. 1520 first then the 520 last or is there no order for the update,anyway thanks for the update
There will be no real order but in terms of our testing & approval process, some focus did go into the more popular Lumia models such as the 1520 as it would mean getting the update out to a large number of customers from the start, but this by no means goes against the other models - updates are likely to come out fairly close to one another and again the order of these may seem random.
Could windows phone 8.1 ever tempt me away from Android and my Note 3?
It is possible. ........ One day.
Never say never. I'm a huge Android & Note 3 fan but I recently got to try a handset with 8.1 (a developer preview) and it was a very fluid and different (good different!) experience. It seems very intuitive and the new customisation/personalisation features of 8.1 put a smile on my face.
My opinion? Give one of the new 8.1 devices (630/635/930) a test run next time you're near an O2 store. It may not tempt you away from what you're used to but at least you'll get a feel for if it's for you or not.