Meanwhile, Windows Phone 8 came out with a thud some 17 months ago. One of its biggest drawbacks has been a lack of apps available for the system, compared with Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Microsoft is starting to catch up on that front. It has also updated Windows Phone 8 three times since its release to add features. The upcoming update is poised to be the biggest of them all and might get a new name, Windows Phone 8.1.
The release comes as Microsoft prepares to buy Nokia's phone business and patent rights in a 5.4 billion euro ($7.4 billion) deal. The transaction should be completed in the next few weeks, pending regulatory approval in Asia. The deal already has approval in the U.S. and Europe.
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