Windows Phone 8 Reportedly Gained A Notification Center Before Losing It Again

When I buy gadgets off of eBay, I’m lucky if half of them haven’t previously been gnawed on by dogs. Meanwhile, this redditor who picked up a second-hand Nokia Lumia 920 from the auction site seems to have gotten much more than he bargained for — he’s been posting screenshots from the device for the better part of a day, because the thing appears to run a previously unreleased build of Windows Phone 8.

The big tip off? Well, there’s a handful of UI changes (including the newfound abilities to kill apps from the multitasking screen and sort them based on frequency of use), to say nothing of a slew of curious pre-installed test apps that seem tailor-made for internal development use. Really though, the most notable addition to the device is a notification center, one of the features that’s notably missing from current versions of Windows Phone.

As the story goes, the notification center was being considered for inclusion in the initial Windows Phone 8 release but there just wasn’t enough to time to complete it, prompting the company to play up its ever-updating Live Tiles as a sort of replacement. Those sorts of sentiments certainly jibe with other accounts of WP8’s last frenzied days of development — one senior Microsoft official told me last year that the whole Windows Phone team was “coming in hot” just prior to the OS’ official reveal in October 2012.

Sadly, a centralized spot for app notifications may not be in the cards for Windows Phone after all. According to a follow-up from WPCentral, Microsoft’s WP team was indeed working on that notification center until it was removed in later builds for reasons that haven’t been made clear yet. Meanwhile, The Verge leaned on some unnamed sources to determine that these screenshots are actually from an early build of the Windows Phone Blue update (released on May 9 or thereabouts), so if the notification center really did get the axe, that decision should have been made very recently.