Hands-on with the first update to Windows Phone 8.1

Hands-on with the first update to Windows Phone 8.1
Last week, Microsoft announced details about the first update to Windows Phone 8.1 which included the official expansion of the Cortana beta to the United Kingdom and China. On top of that, Canada, India, and Australia were announced as newly established “alpha” markets where the language packs from the US and UK will be utilized.

Cortana had a few enhancements in the US which include hands-free Bluetooth integration with your car’s system. To access your contacts, simply tell the car to “call Cortana” and then continue as you normally would.

Along with the Cortana announcements, Microsoft has also deployed some enhancements that are part of the first update (GDR1, Update 1, etc.). That update is now available over-the-air to those running the Developer Preview on their devices.

First is Live Folders, and it is the most noticeable part of the update. This brings Windows Phone 8.1 another step closer to parity with iOS and Android, and arguably takes things a step further. Not only are the folders “live” but the Live Tiles continue to update as needed from within the folder. The set-up is pretty sharp.

Xbox Music has been updated to provide quicker performance and has brought back things like “swipe to advance.” Support for Kids’ Corner is in the works. Also updated was the Messages app, allowing individual messages within a thread to be selected to either be deleted, or forwarded. The other big update has to do with the Windows Phone Store tile. The Live Tile for the Store has been greatly enhanced to provide dynamic updates on the latest and greatest apps.

For those waiting to update with their respective developer preview, it takes about as long as any other update, between 20 and 30 minutes. Take a look at the hands-on. If you have been pondering taking advantage of the Developer Preview, give it shot. It is very easy to set-up, and the OS is stable, but there may be some carrier optimizations that are sacrificed as result. Besides, if you decide you do not like it, you can always switch back (if it’s a Nokia device anyway).

How do you like the update path Windows Phone is following so far? 


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25 Comments

1. nohatenofanboy

Posts: 515; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

waiting for 730/830

10. yahia_malka

Posts: 186; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Me too

17. Daniel.95

Posts: 89; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

Wating for Lumia 1525/1820 I currently have 1520

18. nohatenofanboy

Posts: 515; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Im fan of mid-range phones. nokia makes the best of it

21. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Yes!!!!

2. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

I really like the new folders.

22. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

They are awesome!!

3. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Store tile still not live on my phone, 16 hours after updating. No difference in Music (it never lost swipe to advance), at least not when it comes to speed in loading artist list... The rest is good. :-)

4. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

6. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Afraid not. Only suggestion is to turn live tile off and on again. Done this twenty-some times; still nothing. Oh well, no big issue...

7. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

Try the fix I used at the 2:50 mark in the video. Toggle, then dump the app out of the multi-task view. Then relauch, set the toggle to on. Also double check your Wi-Fi settings. Mine worked, then it didn't. This fix seemed to get it on track.

12. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Hi Maxwell, You forgot about the new apps corner?

8. yahia_malka

Posts: 186; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

Xbox music big update will come separately

5. yahia_malka

Posts: 186; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

The Xbox music app Is separated from the OS. , Xbox music big update will come true in this week separately

9. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Yeah, looking REAL forward to this!

13. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Hope Microsoft will allow Windows phone users to have unlimited access to Xbox music....

11. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Brilliant. This is the best Implementation of folders on any platform, Microsoft, I'm impressed.

15. sbw44

Posts: 433; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

IE works like a charm also now

14. sbw44

Posts: 433; Member since: Dec 04, 2012

Some of the features like the music app was already in the initial wp8.1 update

16. Jehovah

Posts: 69; Member since: Jun 25, 2013

I am still waiting for the 8.1 for the Lumia 1020 in Brazil. C'mon Microsoft and Telefonica/Vivo, speed things up!

20. gazmatic

Posts: 807; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

developers preview.learn about it. you dont have to "wait" for anything

24. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Use a Developer preview, :D They are updating too and u can try it *o*

19. jgcaap

Posts: 42; Member since: Feb 22, 2011

i'm not expecting anything special coming from this update... Now is Android or ios... Microsoft has alot to catch up

23. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Threshold is coming....

25. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Ugh! I realise they can't please everyone, but moving your moving your music collection TWO swipes away from the Now Playing screen is really idiotic! So, every time you want to listen to something new you have to double swipe to even get to the list with choices of Artist, Album, etc.? It should be pinned there to the Now Playing screen, so I shouldn't have to swipe at all! They've gone and made something annoying really irritating!

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