All eyes are on the Windows 10 for phones preview these days, but it appears that Microsoft is working on several different updates for Windows Phone users at the same time.
A screenshot that got leaked via Chinese website IThome reveals what seems to be Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2, a second update for Windows Phone 8.1 users, that could be shipped in the next few months.
The screenshot with the OS information screen reveals two unconfirmed projects.
First, the screenshot appears to come from an unlaunched phone model, namely Lumia 965, so this could be a sign that Microsoft might prepare a new device. But if it does, how come it's called Nokia? Using the old Nokia name is a bit odd given Microsoft's recent rebranding work, but more information will most likely be provided next month at MWC.
Second, the photo also reveals what seems to be Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 (or GDR2) with version number 8.10.15116, so Microsoft could indeed be working on a new update for Windows Phone 8.1 users, that could be released before Windows 10 for phones gets the go-ahead.
At this point, we can't confirm the legitimacy of these screenshots, but there's probably some truth behind this leak, as it's not the first time we hear about a second update for Windows Phone 8.1.
If we put together all pieces of the puzzle, it might seem like Microsoft is planning to launch a new update for Windows Phone 8.1 users before bringing out the new Windows 10 for phones. In fact, Update 2 could prepare devices for Windows 10 for phones and bring several prerequisites to make sure that everything works well.
Windows 10 for phones will be offered free of charge to all Windows Phone 8.1 devices, including those with 512 MB of RAM, but certain updates are still needed, and that's exactly what Update 2 is going to do.
In terms of new features, Update 2 won't bring anything exciting and it's easy to see why. Microsoft wants to keep all the excitement for Windows 10, so Update 2 is likely to bring a few improvements here and there, such as a number of small visual tweaks for the Start screen and the settings menu.
And yet, these changes won't be as significant as those in Windows 10 for phones, again because Microsoft wants the upcoming full OS update to be a hit in all respects.
As far as the release date is concerned, there's a lot of talk online as to when Microsoft could introduce the second Windows 8.1 update.
Basically, this year's edition of MWC in Barcelona, Spain, which takes place next month, could be the right moment to deliver a new update for Windows Phone devices, but we doubt that this is going to happen.
What we hear is that MWC will be mostly about Windows 10, so expect some news on the way Microsoft is working to bring its new OS on phones at the event. There will also be some new Lumia devices, most likely in the low-end or mid-budget range, but no flagships.
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2, on the other hand, is expected to ship in April or May, probably for Preview for Developers devices first.
There are also some reports out there suggesting that Microsoft could bring out a new flagship in May, which aligns with the release of Update 2, but this information can't be confirmed right now and contradicts previous rumors suggesting that flagships would come in the fall of 2015.
Either way, Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 will most likely be launched a few months before the debut of Windows 10 for phones, but nothing very exciting is expected to be included, so you don't really have to hold your breath for it.