The next Windows Phone update (GDR2), shipping with the Lumia 925, is coming to more devices this summer

Lumia625_group_465This morning (very early this morning, if you’re on the US west coast!) Nokia officially announced the Lumia 925, a lighter aluminum body version of the Lumia 920 that’s coming to T-Mobile here in the US, Vodaphone in Europe, and China Mobile and China Unicom in China.  Later in the morning (at a bit of a more decent hour!), a blog post on the Windows Phone blog clarified just what’s shipping with the 925, and when we’ll be able to expect the same for current Windows Phone 8 devices:

Speaking of updates. As I mentioned earlier, the Lumia 925 comes with the latest update to the Windows Phone 8 operating system that includes a small number of improvements and upgrades. (It’s similar in size to the one we delivered earlier this year, which brought new Wi-Fi and messaging improvements like the ability to text a reply to an incoming call.)

The new update, which is expected to start rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 phones later this summer, brings back support for FM radio (we heard you!) and makes the Data Sense feature of Windows Phone 8 available for more carriers to offer. The update also makes it easier to select, download, and pin tunes in Xbox Music and improves the accuracy of song info and other metadata—something I know music fans will appreciate. (FM Radio and Data Sense availability depend on your phone model and carrier.)

The update includes hundreds of other small quality improvements. One final one worth highlighting, as we announced earlier, is that the update also ensures Windows Phone continues to work with Google services by adding support for the company’s newest sync protocols—CalDAV and CardDAV.

This updated operating system, known internally as “GDR2” (GDR1, or Portico, came earlier this year and brought messaging, wifi, and IE improvements to Windows Phone 8, and there will be a GDR3 later this year) will update Windows Phones to be able to continue to sync Google contact and calendar information just in time: Google’s deadline to drop support for Exchange ActiveSync for free accounts was extended until July 31st.

That means that hopefully we’ll have GDR2 in hand sometime before then.  Google has been playing roulette with its mobile sync APIs recently, first announcing a decision to drop EAS for CalDav and CardDav, then announcing that it was also dropping CalDav in favor of it’s own Calender API, and then backtracking in March, noting in an update to its “A second spring of cleaning” blog post that:

Update March 15, 2013: We worked with the developers who provide 98 percent of our current CalDAV traffic to assure access to the CalDAV API, which means many popular products will not be impacted. We remain committed to supporting open protocols like CalDAV.

While it may not be much clearer from this update whether or not Google will actually support CalDAV for Windows Phone (which just might fall into that missing 2%), and it’s probably incorrect to call CalDav and CardDav Google’s “newest sync protocols”, as today’s Windows Phone blog post does, we’re hoping that Google won’t send Microsoft scrambling once again in order to sync Google services to Windows Phone.

Still, we’ll soon be able to listen to FM radio again, hurray!