Everything we know about the Windows Phone 8.1 update
Cortana voice assistant
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As we said, the average user still isn't that big on voice command with phones, which puts Cortana in a tricky position. But, the rumors point to quite a bit of functionality beyond just voice control to a more comprehensive service which learns what you need and do. Of course, that's all still just potential and possibilities, if we are talking about the major new feature for Windows Phone 8.1 that will get the most daily active use, the most useful feature could be the new Action Center, which is what Microsoft is calling the coming notification center for Windows Phone.
The screenshots we've seen have shown four Quick Settings slots, but the question is in what those slots will hold. So far, we have only seen screenshots that show settings buttons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, and Driving Mode; and, a new video is showing that the Quick Settings options will be customizable. This means that you could choose to swap out any of those four options with buttons for: Camera, Rotation Lock, Internet Sharing, Brightness, Do Not Disturb Mode, VPN, Location Settings, and Screen Mirroring.
As far as notifications themselves, they will be organized similarly to what you would see on iOS with each set of notifications listed under the app they represent. Users should be able to swipe away notifications, but we don't yet know how interactive they will be. It could be that tapping a notification will simply launch you into the app. But, given that the feature is called the Action Center, we would expect users to be able to perform actions on those notifications, which could mean replying to or deleting messages and maybe audio controls.
We don't know what kind of interactions users will have with notifications, but we do know that app developers will have deeper control over notifications than what you might find on other platforms. It has been said that developers will be able to add, update, or delete notifications. This would mean that notifications should always be up-to-date, and developers would be able to remove notifications that you may have dealt with on another device. It is unclear yet if Microsoft will have a service like Google to help with syncing read notifications across devices or not.
Apps & Windows Phone Store
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Apps & Store updates in Windows Phone 8.1
1. Windows Phone Store updates
Apps can be installed to an SD card, but you can only have apps from one originating phone. Any apps from a different phone will have to be deleted before installing new apps to an SD card. Apps can be moved back and forth between internal storage and an SD card.
New apps will be recommended either by your location or based on your Facebook profile.
Apps will need to be updated to support WP8.1 and will not automatically work if written for WP8. This could be due to a push to make apps universal, which would mean an app would work on both Windows Phone and Windows RT.
2. App organization
3. App sync with Microsoft sign-in
4. App data backup
6. Facebook integration?
7. Camera app
8. Photos App
9. Internet Explorer
10. Internet Explorer tabs
We'll be keeping an eye on this one, because it's hard to imagine this method of tab control making it through to the final product.
12. Universal Bing Search
14. SMS Messaging
15. Office & OneDrive
We've already seen the rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive, which right now is just a name change, but with WP8.1, OneDrive will also serve as a local file explorer in addition to how you access files in the cloud.
System & Settings
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Windows Phone 8.1 System & Settings updates
1. Gesture keyboard
2. Lock Screen
3. Virtual Navigation Bar
5. Multitasking gesture
6. Windows Phone 8.1 icons
7. Volume control
8. Wi-Fi auto-on
Front-facing system changes
- Share to any app
- Start screen themes and backgrounds
- Downloads folder
- Double-tap to unlock phone
- Double-tap to sleep
- Swipe away Live Tile updates
- Favorite photos with heart icon
- Set notification Quiet Hours
- Take screenshots with Power + Volume Up (changed from Power + Start)
- Audio/video editing and effects
- Slow motion video
- Grid view for apps
- Sort phone contacts
- Create Inner Circle contacts group of up to 40 people
- Speed Dial
- File explorer
- Option to always download pictures in emails
- Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps replace than Music + Video app
- Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
- Upload status for photos
New Settings options
- Battery Sense - monitors apps for how much power they use
- Battery Saver mode will allow exclusions for certain apps to run in the background
- Wi-Fi Sense - allows you to share secured Wi-Fi networks with other Wi-Fi Sense users without sharing the password
- Project My Screen - mirror mobile device display on compatible TV or PC display
- Phone Storage renamed Storage Sense
- Advertising ID - control if apps can keep track of you through ads
- USB - confirm USB connection and notify when connecting to a slower charger
- NFC support including tap to pay
- VPN support including auto-triggered VPN
- Workplace account (unsure yet what this is)
- Support for iCloud accounts
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE support
- SD card health checker
- Geofence monitoring
- Support for encrypted and signed email
- Email checking learns your usage patterns to save data/battery
- S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
- Apps can access corporate servers with firewalls
- User authentication certificate management
- Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS
- Enhanced mobile device management (MDM) for enterprise to lock down devices and limit installation of apps
- Back button suspends apps rather than closes
- Hardware accelerated audio/video transcoding
- Miracast support (possible, not confirmed)
- Mouse and keyboard support
- Stereoscopic 3D support
- Virtual SmartCard support
- Fingerprint scanner support
- QHD display support
2 April Everything we know about the Windows Phone 8.1 update
15 March All apps in the Windows Phone Store show they will work with Windows Phone 8.1
12 March Windows Phone 8.1's Microsoft Camera app demoed on video
1 March Images of Windows Phone 8.1 start screen leak, showing customizable wallpaper
26 February IE 11 from Windows Phone 8.1 screenshots and video confirm password saving and other changes
1. X.E.R.O. (unregistered)
WP steppin' it up!
27. rihel_95 (Posts: 201; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)
And i quote "over 200 new features" hell yeah
43. joey_sfb (Posts: 2574; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Please show me where is the 200 features. I counted. One voice assistant, two action center, three settings... four changes to windows store... five more setting. ..
The bottom line its still a mobile OS on its own not a full fledge windows 8.1 OS.
Microsoft!, please give us the real deal.
29. mafiaprinc3 (Posts: 304; Member since: 07 May 2012)
loving this,wp is a refreshing os,i love android but a new streamlined os is always welcome,might consider it in the future
4. Credo (Posts: 685; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)
Loving all of this!! Windows Phone is now finally an adult :)
And i need some help, i'm gonna buy the Nokia Lumia 1520, but which color??? White or Yellow? I'm thinking about Yellow, in combination with Cyan Live Tiles to really let the device pop out, i think this combination of colors is really awesome and fit together. But on the other hand, White is also very nice ... But because the White one doesn't have black buttons on the side ( yeah i know ) it's kinda a dealbreaker....
Come on give me some suggestions! :D appreciate !
PS: So sad Nokia didn't released this beast in Cyan.
15. lucid.brat (Posts: 80; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)
Go for yellow it is beautiful..i"m also using yellow 1020...the problem is with yellow is of themes because only few themes looks good with yellow as compare to white and most of the time i had used yellow theme only...bt nyways yellow is really good
6. Penny (Posts: 1108; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)
Great article. Good collection of the rumored and leaked features, and good explanations of what functionality exactly is expected out of those features.
7. elitewolverine (Posts: 1189; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
Quite the list, more like wp9 than 8.1.
Glad to see that it is not just a catchup game for this update and if all turns true and more, it will be a proper update that many other OS fans have banged wp for months about.
Definitely looking towards Cortana, hope the name stays, we know the voice has, and I hope to see how it integrates with xbox and win later on.
9. Credo (Posts: 685; Member since: 19 Apr 2012)
Yeah more like Windows Phone 9 then Windows Phone 8.1 lol :D And the name of Cortana will stay, there was also leaked from the SDK that you can give it any name you want.
13. lucid.brat (Posts: 80; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)
Tons of feature....i think still there will lot more which has been leaked or anyone has info about....so wp user brace ur self for fun because this April would change everything....its really getting difficult for wp user to "Be Patient " as well as for me
14. SemperFiV12 (Posts: 684; Member since: 09 Nov 2010)
I have switched to Andoid, but definitely will be back as soon as Windows Phone 8.1 comes around. Lots of great additions, fixes and general improvements. MONSTER UPDATE for sure, and should really make a new slew of devices that much harder to resist.
16. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1652; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
Windows 8.1 is looking very promising , good work Microsoft
36. corporateJP (Posts: 1520; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)
Notification bar, separate volume controls, and speed dial are the things that impress me the most.
This is one exciting update!
19. networkdood (Posts: 6250; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Can I unlock a Window's 8.1 mobile OS phone's bootloader? Can I flash a custom ROM onto it? If the answer to these two questions is yes, and I can get a phablet Nokia version, then I might be sold on this...
20. SAO101789 (Posts: 120; Member since: 10 Feb 2014)
I'll leave my itunes media to a ipad and/or a mac. Nokia and 8.1 make me want to sell my iphone. But no contract stuff I'm with T mobile and sticking to it. Organized video playback please be promising that's the only thing I'm worried about, and moving my music to my phone to.
22. salehsobhan (Posts: 15; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)
But still missing the two things I wanted the most a File Manager and Bangla Keyboard support. It would have been perfect. But still great update. Must congratulate Microsoft for listening to the consumers.
25. darnail (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Feb 2014)
Front-facing system changes
38. salehsobhan (Posts: 15; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)
OOOh, I missed that. You and microsoft are making my dreams come true. Thanks buddy.
26. sbw44 (Posts: 367; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)
What do they mean with "WP8.1 will allow for 3rd party SMS apps and changing the default messaging app"????
31. Gemmol (Posts: 491; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
Just like Droid where you can use a different app to text from
39. elitewolverine (Posts: 1189; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)
It means when you press the messaging app you can select which app it opens. Like how the camera button you can select a different app
28. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1021; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
As a Windows 8 smart phone owner I salute Microsoft soft ware Engineers for all these new features that will be on my smart phone when I upgrade it to windows phone 8.1 However the App I think that will come to Windows 8.1 smart phones that will really make a huge increase in the sales of Windows smart phones is an app that will enable Windows 8.1 smart phones to run "Android App" The "buestacks" app out now enables Windows 8/8.1 legacy tablets to run Android apps. if MS or the Bluestacks developers makes one for Windows8.1 smart phones and it works well. WOW WEE Windows 8.1 smart phones will sell way better than
they will without it.
30. mafiaprinc3 (Posts: 304; Member since: 07 May 2012)
bring some more games,and more apps,loving windows phone from day one,just need to add some missing features and it's to see Microsoft listened and now drastically adding alot of features
32. kamen (Posts: 82; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)
It looks GREAT! Just hope that Facecrap can be uninstalled, otherwise... ~!@#
34. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1021; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
looks like I was right when I said that now that Microsoft Windows 8 smart phones can run all the High tech Gear Apple iphones and Android smart phones now use. Microsoft can do what it does best and that is make good software for it's devices. it's about time too!
35. tanthien (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Feb 2014)
Nice update anyway, hope my lumia 620 get this update
P.s hope that cortana voice assistant have a good voice feedback, not a crappy one on my note 3
40. susweta (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)
Wht about smartwatch support??will there be anything new to this update for smartwatch support??And anything updated to the vibration mode as it does vibrate only once when I receive a call on Ringing mode so tend to miss some of my important calls..It really puts me down to face such basic problems even with such a beauty(Nokia lumia 1520)
41. Diezparda (Posts: 200; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)
i never try WinMo device and never owned them, but they seems promising
42. Odiin (Posts: 209; Member since: 23 Apr 2013)
WOW! Cant wait anymore, Just release it MS+NOKIA,
45. Gothbeard (Posts: 31; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
After upgrading from desktop W8 to W8.1, I wouldn't touch a Windows phone if they gave me one for free.
47. LuckyS (Posts: 42; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)
Too late and never can be as good and powerfull as tasker+autovoice+google now system.