Report: Windows Phone 8 adding notification center, improved multitasking in early 2014

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is at work on a significant Windows Phone 8 update bringing a notification center, enhanced multitasking and improvements to built-in applications, The Verge reports.

Citing sources familiar with Microsoft's Windows Phone roadmap, the report states the so-called Windows Phone Blue update is expected in early 2014, but notes the company could back port some features including a rotation lock option to later this year. Any ported features would support hardware arriving within 2013 and would likely arrive at the request of manufacturing partners like Nokia (NYSE:NOK).

The Verge adds that Microsoft had planned to roll out Windows Phone 8 updates more frequently but experienced a series of chipset testing delays, also grappling with bugs. One particularly troublesome bug, afflicting unbranded smartphones not sold by carriers, impacted the way a device is identified on a wireless network. Efforts to resolve the issue reportedly delayed other planned WP8 projects. Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft issued its Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release 2 on Thursday. The minor update is highlighted by the restoration of FM radio support--a longtime Windows Phone OS feature dropped with the late 2012 launch of WP8--as well as Xbox Music improvements to provide more accurate metadata, a Data Sense app tracking device usage and stability improvements to services like Internet Explorer and Skype.

Microsoft plans to support Windows Phone 8 through mid-2014. Earlier this year, Microsoft Senior Marketing Manager Greg Sullivan told PCMag.com that WP8 smartphone owners will be able to update their devices to future versions of the OS, avoiding the fate that befell previous Windows Phone users.

Despite positive reviews for Windows Phone 8, consumers have been slow to embrace the platform: WP8 devices accounted for just 4.6 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the three-month period ending in May 2013, increasing from 3.7 percent in the year-earlier period, according to a recent report issued by research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system powered 52 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. between March 1 and May 31, followed by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 41.9 percent.

For more:
- read this Verge article
- read this Windows Phone 8 update history

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