The rumor of the day is that Windows Phone 8.1 will officially release sometime in the next few hours. With that in mind, whenever there's a phone update, it's always interesting to hear the common question of: "When will I get the update?"

With Windows Phone usage increasing steadily, there are quite a few people out there who are new to the distribution process for Windows Phone updates; new Windows Phone users may have come from a platform that handled updates differently, and are just unaware of how it works for Windows Phone.

Even if Windows Phone 8.1 releases today, the service provider still has to test the update on the smartphones it carries. Also, before it decides to set a schedule for approving and allowing the update to deliver to your handset, the provider also has to include any special drivers from the manufacturer and the stack of carrier-specific crapware. Ultimately, the availability of the update will vary depending on your phone model, region, and mobile operator.

Waiting on the carrier to supply the update for your specific smartphone can sometimes take months. It's OK to be impatient, just realize that you'll probably have a long wait.

However, if you're on a carrier plan where you're due for a new phone, phones with Windows 8.1 already installed (including drivers and crapware) are now becoming available.