Windows Phone users (more specifically Windows Phone 8 users) have two really important things to look forward to in the near future. One is the GDR3 update to the platform, and another a full version upgrade, codenamed Windows Blue.

Microsoft is hard at work on both these new versions simultaneously. And although the company has taken the secretive route this time around and not is not sharing too many insights on what is to be included, new details regularly leak out.

And now we have a whole bunch of them from various sources.

These bits of information come from a Twitter user that claims that Windows Phone 8.1 will fly onto devices with some completely new and rearranged icons in the status bar.

Microsoft has decided to group these icons based on their purpose — meaning, those showing connectivity will be placed on the left side of the screen, and the icons related to system information will now occupy the right.

As this report suggests, Redmond is also throwing in a little asterisk icon in the system area to the right. This is supposed to inform users that a notification is present.

More importantly, however, there are plenty of new changes besides these visual ones. Windows Phone 8.1, for example, will bring a whole bunch of applications to more devices out there. In other words, exclusive Lumia apps will now be made available to all Windows Phone handsets out there.

It is still a rumor, yes, but software like Nokia Pro Cam and Glance Screen will be pushed to smartphones from other vendors like HTC, Samsung and Huawei.

Next up is Cortana — codename for a Siri like personal assistant for Windows Phone devices. It now appears that this service will become available, in the United States at least, starting early 2014. This feature is already in testing at Microsoft and will be rolled out to other countries soon after.

Having said that, there is still a chance that Cortana could arrive with the GDR3 update — it has been sighted inside Nokia’s Bittersweet Shimmer update. We will know for sure in the next couple of months.

And in the end, some bad news for Nokia Lumia 520 owners! It appears that due to some hardware issues, this particular handset could be left out of the Windows 8 GDR3 update.

On the flipside, however, Nokia is not the only smartphone maker that will be launching Windows Phone 8.1 devices — it appears that Samsung also has some new handsets in development.

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  1. Good news. Good updates are always great news

  2. how sure are we that the Lumia 520 won’t be updated to Update 3 or 8.1? I’m looking to get it until my contract runs out (currently own a damaged Lumia 800) then handing it over to my parents, but if its not going to be updated then there’s no point and instead going for the 620 that’s more expensive but has little difference in specs…

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