According to an article on Chinese portal Sina.com.cn, the preliminary draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup (AFC confederation) will take place in April. Thanks Filipino Football for the info!
As usual, there's no confirmation on AFC's website, but that's the norm :)
It seems Brunei Darussalam (suspended) and Laos won't participate.
There's also a slight change in the format. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup preliminaries, the 8 lowest seeds advancing from the first round were required to play in the second round, while the other seeds involved in the first round were given a bye to the third round (the groups stage). Now, there will be a regular format - with less teams in the first round and more in the second round.
Again, AFC won't be using the FIFA ranking. The Sina.com.cn article confirms the performance base seeding.
First leg: 29 June, 2011
Second leg: 3 July, 2011
Pot A: India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam
Pot B: Mongolia, Palestine, Timor-Leste, Macau, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Bhutan, Guam, Philippines
First leg: 23 July, 2011
Second leg: 28 July, 2011
Pot A: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, China PR, Singapore, Kuwait, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Lebanon
Pot B: Yemen, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives + 9 winners from the first round.
Five groups of four teams.
The draw will take place on 31 July 2011, with Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, Korea DPR and Bahrain entering the competition at this stage.