It’s coming. It’s all coming.
TheVerge (along with WPC) has gone ahead and confirmed some critical feature info incoming with the Windows Phone 8.1 update (touted as a major WP update).
It says that Microsoft is internally testing beta version of the WP 8.1 update (aka Blue update) with plans to unveil it at the Build Developer Conference scheduled in Apr 2014.
The developer preview of the update (just like GDR3) is expected to go live at the Developer Build Conference.
So what’s coming
- A swipe down Notification center with a short swipe revealing quick settings (4 tabs) and a long swipe revealing the entire notification history.
- Notification Center will also work under Lock Screen (no need to unlock the device).
- Cortana, a personal digital assistant much like Google Now for Android and Siri for iOS.
- Cortana will replace Bing Search with Voice or Text input. It will feature conversational interaction with ability to learn location related context and data from phone. Like for eg. Cortana will automatically remind you of an upcoming meeting and how long you will need to reach an appointment.
- Cortana would be deeply integrated in to the OS and would play a crucial role in automating several functions.
- Separate volume controls for Ringtone and Media.
- Bing Smart Search results similar to Windows 8.1.
- VPN support for enterprise users.
- Xbox Music and Xbox Video will come as separate apps unlike being integrated in to the OS (currently Music+Videos) which means frequent improvements in the form of regular updates. Microsoft is considering similar changes for other inbuilt apps in the future WP updates.
- Functionality of People Hub will further be extended with deeper integration of Facebook & Twitter.
Other features (that might arrive in the 8.1 or the future updates)
- Micro-SD card support for installing Apps & Games
- Default Camera app will get an update (with buttons and functions much similar to the Windows 8.1 camera app)
- A swipe to the left on homescreen would clear Live Tiles for 1st part apps like Email, People Hub etc without having to open the app.
- Ghost Notifications would get enabled. Ghost Notifications are those which would directly go to the Notification center without alerting the users. This feature would be available to 3rd party apps too.
On Nokia front,
Meanwhile, Nokia is readying two new devices codenamed ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Moneypenny” which will run the latest update. Goldfinger will be the next Lumia flagship featuring the 3D Touch Technology which will enable users to interact with the device without actually touching the screen and Moneypenny is expected to feature Virtual homescreen buttons (back, windows & search) which will made available (for use) with the Windows Phone 8.1 update.