Video of action center, background images, and the new calendar on Windows Phone 8.1

Video of action center, background images, and the new calendar on Windows Phone 8.1
We take unified notifications for granted much of the time. Notification centers on iOS and Android devices are quite useful, and functional. One glaring deficiency in Windows Phone was in the area of notifications.

Live Tiles work fine, but until Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out, their update iterations are limited to every 30 minutes at best. With the new OS, Live Tile updates will happen in real-time which is going to be a very welcome addition.

Rounding out that addition, the Windows Phone Action Center is exactly what you would expect (and is exactly what we have seen leaked). A swipe down from the top of the screen brings down a shade with quick action buttons, and a summary of notifications from apps that support the function.

The notifications are directly actionable, meaning if you see a text message in the action center, you have to tap it while Windows Phone brings you to the messaging app to respond. You can clear the notification by swiping to the right, and there is an option to clear all notices. Moreover, just as is common in many Android devices, there is a button to access the phone settings directly.

Background images, just as we have already seen leaked, works like a charm. The feature will be available across all Windows Phone devices regardless of hardware. The Lumia 1020 we demoed showed no problems handling the feature at all. Selecting a picture is easy, and the parallax effect of the transparent tiles “floating” above the image is subtle and tasteful.

The new calendar is arguably one of the most significant changes to Windows Phone. It is, again, another item that brings parity with other mobile platforms, but the execution is decidedly Windows Phone. The added item? The ability to view your schedule on a week-by-week basis. It is such a small addition, but the result is very nicely done. Those of you who are productivity gurus will really appreciate the enhancement to the calendar.

We will cover more Windows Phone 8.1 features during our time with Nokia later this afternoon. What is your favorite feature in Windows Phone 8.1?

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27 Comments

1. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

I dont normally like using the term copy... BUT THATS A FREAKIN COPY OF ANDROID!! the way you swipe them away, the settings, clear all, and toggles, even the styling of the way the you pull the bottom bar.

3. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yea well at this point in time....if something isnt a copy...its gotta be a damn better version of it. And its kinda hard to do some things different. The way WP is designed....this is the only way IMO. Unless it was slide from left or right. And thats just not a natural feeling thing. And if you are gonna copy something...copy it in a good way. iOS arguably does it better. WP might too. Might lead Google to update their notification in the near future.

4. Lt.Green

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Google should sue.

5. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

they do have US Patent 20090249247 A1 for this...http://www.google.com/patents/US20090249247 I dont think google would mind them using it as long as they pay royalties (I mean windows phone is not a threat right now).

11. iguano

Posts: 101; Member since: May 10, 2012

lol do you know that google pays more royalties to microsoft that what microsoft pay to google? who cares if its a copy... its now part of wp too

19. fireblade

Posts: 717; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

Oh thank you for the link. Million thumbs up for you. I hope people see it's a Google patent

25. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

friend Android is open source software in that case I believe anybody can use it and swipe down may be part of the essential patents that all smart phone's can use without paying royalties for.

2. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Looking good MS, looking good. I just thought of something tho....that smoked by WP challenge...some people beat by because they used their Android phones lock screen, had it already set up for using cameras, the web, etc. I wonder what inspired them the most to adding lock screen features? User feedback or that challenge?

17. eharris560

Posts: 78; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I would say it the users. By the way lock screen feature was added in the WP8 update. The lock screen features you seen today are just improvements.

6. Lt.Green

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Loving the background images but why aren't all tiles transparent?

8. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2348; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

That's what I wanna know :-(

15. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

I think there are 2 types of color on tiles, one of them is getting the color from the system, then when you change system color, the tile changes automatically, but some developers put the tile color "hardcoded" then it never changes.

16. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2348; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Maybe the Devs, gotta update their API's

7. k1ng617

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 13, 2009

I'm not trying to be a fanboy or anything but after watching this video WP looks a bit plain (but snappy).

9. papss unregistered

Aesthetic are a personal opinion so it's not really a fanboy comment.. I personally think it's beautiful and find android not so pleasing.

21. wolfsaviorzx unregistered

I just want to be able to install apps without microsoft's approval and I'll switch over to Windows Phone in an instant.

26. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yea....I didnt know this or even think about this with WP. I mentioned it in another article....some devs have apps or work arounds/modified apps for issues that are not in the Play Store. I never realized how important side loading was to me....until I did some thinking back. One example is older versions or modified versions of Adobe Flash is needed on Android now. Side loading alone might be the one deal breaker for me for any mobile OS.

10. fendetto

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

action centre remind me nokia n9,x or asha..

12. rsiders

Posts: 1889; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Windows Phone is more customizable than ever and even more so than iOS and people will still complain that there isn't enough options.lol Are you serious?

22. wolfsaviorzx unregistered

IOS is crap. Windows Phone is looking better and better. All prepared to switch over as soon as microsoft brings over the freedom they have on desktop and exists on Android.

13. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I actually liked that. As well as the implied honesty. That is what is needed, little humbleness from wp. To the shills, that is my compliment. To WP, you're getting there.. But too slow yet for my usage and tastes.

14. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

Looking at the calendar color scheme, it seems like an 80´s DOS program, weird.

18. Ikechukwu

Posts: 248; Member since: Oct 03, 2011

THAT CALENDER!!!

20. kingEngine

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 05, 2014

Actually looks good so far, good job Microsoft. It's coming a long way from wp7, especially customization and use of simple features (bluetooth transfer). It's so damn smooth too.

23. dome888

Posts: 86; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

MS a copycat

24. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

tell me more on how you never copied in your life...

27. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I hate to do this.....because I am a big Android fan... But Android and the old Win Mo share lots of similarities. Even the way the Network settings are grouped together. There were widgets on Win Mo. Launchers, home screen replacements too. If anything out now isnt somewhat of a copy of something else....I wanna see it....because it will be one unique product.

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