Microsoft is readying a Windows Phone 8.1 update that's expected to debut in early 2014. While the company is in "shut up and ship" mode, it's currently pushing out smaller updates primarily designed for new hardware. Two images have surfaced this week that may provide an early look at Windows Phone 8.1. The first, posted to the XDA-developers forum, shows a Lumia 620 with a notifications tile and some type of combined Skype and Outlook functionality.

Two notifications can be seen on a Live Tile, alongside a star in the task bar. The Wi-Fi indicator appears to have moved to the left, which matches up with a screenshot that Microsoft's Joe Belfiore accidentally posted to Twitter recently. The second photo, published by Windows Phone PL, shows the same notification center tile, with some Start Screen changes. It appears Microsoft may be testing ways to select multiple tiles on the Windows Phone interface. If this is genuine, and we're unable to verify immediately, then it would bring Windows 8-like functionality to Windows Phone.

Looks almost identical to previous leaks

Microsoft has previously promised "Start Screen innovation," and now that Joe Belfiore is leading a group focused on phones, tablets, and PCs it's natural to assume Windows Phone and Windows will move even more closely together. The source of both images is unclear, but earlier this year an early build of Windows Phone 8.1 leaked when a Microsoft employee lost a handset running the prototype software. That particular version also included a notification center with the star icon, and UI improvements.