After leaks and rumors of Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has made it official by announcing the new update to their mobile platform at BUILD. The new update brings several new features to the table that bring Windows Phone even closer to being a viable competitor to Android and iOS.
The most notable addition is Action Center. This is basically a notification center for Windows Phone 8.1 which gives users access to all their notifications just by swiping down from the top of the screen but also give them access to core quick settings such as WiFi and Bluetooth. The update also brings some major improvements to the lock screen which will allow developers to access more advanced APIs allowing for a lot more control over the lock screen.
Another rumor confirmed it that of the third row of live tiles which can be toggled on and off depending on the user preference. Speaking of Live Tiles, we also now have the ability to customize the appearance of Live Tiles allowing users to choose an image that appears on the background of Live Tiles.
Cortana has also been confirmed as the long rumored competitor to Siri and Google Now for Windows Phone. Cortana performs most of the actions required by users such as setting reminder and making phone calls just by speaking. While Cortana is still in beta, it seems to work fairly well.
For enterprise users the OS has been improved for you as well adding support for Enterprise VPNs and encrypted and signed messages. The Windows Store has also been improved with better search and categories.
Another welcome addition especially for Android users trying Windows Phone is the addition of “shape writing” or as it’s more commonly known, Swype.
Overall Windows Phone 8.1 is a welcome update to the Windows Phone ecosystem which brings many new features we’ve wanted for a while. Are you excited to get the update? Existing Windows Phone devices should get the update sometime in the “coming months” while upcoming devices such as the Lumia 930 will have it pre-installed.