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Windows Phone 8 'feature pack' update due in early 2014, includes VPN support

Windows Phone 8 'feature pack' update due in early 2014, includes VPN support

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Microsoft has stayed fairly tight lipped about its future Windows Phone plans recently, but software maker appears to be ready to talk updates. In a Windows Phone blog post on Wednesday, partner and channel marketing VP Tony Mestres revealed that Microsoft is planning a "feature pack" update to Windows Phone. The update will include some form of VPN support, with app aware "auto-triggered" VPN according to Mestres. It's not clear if apps will need to support this functionality, or if it's system wide, but Windows Phone appears to be finally getting VPN support.

Other improvements include Wi-Fi security improvements for the enterprise, extra email encryption support, and certificate management. Microsoft is also doubling the support lifecycle for Windows Phone devices from 18 months to 36 months, meaning devices will get incremental security or feature updates for 36 months. Mobile operators and phone manufacturers can control these updates, so availability could vary by region, but Microsoft is at least focused on providing lengthy update support.

A feature pack or Windows Phone Blue?

The "feature pack" as Microsoft describes it, will be made available in the first half of 2014. It's likely that the update is simply the "Blue" version of Windows Phone that Microsoft is currently working on. Recently leaked screenshots revealed that Microsoft is potentially building a notification center and other improvements into Windows Phone "Blue." Microsoft is expected to deliver its Blue update for Windows Phone in early 2014.

We've reached out to Microsoft to clarify its VPN support and update plans for Windows Phone, and we'll update you accordingly.