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Windows Phone 8 update rolling out with return of Gmail calendar and contacts sync

Windows Phone 8 update rolling out with return of Gmail calendar and contacts sync

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Microsoft detailed its latest Windows Phone 8 update recently, but there was no promise of when it would arrive. The Verge has received several reports from readers with unlocked HTC 8X and Samsung Ativ S Windows Phones that are starting to see the update rolling out. Named General Distribution Release 2 (GDR2), the latest update enables Data Sense, a way to track how data is being used, alongside FM radio, and the ability to set other applications as the default camera. Recent reports have suggested that the update will roll out to other existing Windows Phones later this month.

GDR2 also includes support for Gmail's CalrdDAV and CalDAV implementation, allowing Windows Phone users to continue syncing calendar and contacts after Google announced its intention to pull its Exchange ActiveSync service earlier this year. Google granted Microsoft an extension to allow Windows Phones to continue syncing until July 31st, so the roll out of the latest update comes just weeks before that deadline. The update also includes some HTML5 improvements in Internet Explorer, and improve Skype stability.

Overall, the changes are fairly minor. Microsoft is currently working on a GDR3 update that is designed to support 5- and 6-inch Windows Phones along with new quad-core chipsets. GDR3 will debut initially on new Windows Phones later this year, before it's rolled out to existing devices. The Verge understands that Microsoft is currently considering back porting some of the planned features for its next major Windows Phone release back to a GDR3 update. Windows Phone "Blue", the next major update, may include a notification center and multitasking improvements. Microsoft is expected to release Windows Phone "Blue" in early 2014.