Today exactly at 8.30 AM (PDT), Microsoft took the wraps-off the much awaited Windows Phone update ‘Windows Phone 8.1’ and talked about it exactly for an hour at a stretch. A lot about Windows Phone 8.1 was unveiled for the public and we have covered it for you below. Check out.
Here are the highlights of the event
- Micromax & Prestigio join Windows Phone as 2 new hardware partners. Infact, Joe Belfiore was seen holding the prototype devices of them in hand or shall I say showed-off. Later is better.
- Actions Center on Windows Phone unveiled (your very own personal notification center). We have seen it leak and it is now official.
“The user can decide which apps can vibrate or make a sound and show up in the Action Center.”
- New set of APIs for Lockscreen introduced in Windows Phone 8.1. Your Lockscreen can now look cooler than ever. There is a possibility that it will also be interactive.
- New Startscreen with ability to select 3 columned (medium size tile) layout on all phones. No screen-size restriction.
- Startscreen backgrounds introduced in WP8.1 with an image overlaying on tiles. Skinned tiles as they say. However not every tile will be skinned and this is what makes Startscreen background even more pleasant.
- Cortana, Windows Phone’s personal digital voice assistant unveiled, comes with Windows Phone 8.1. To start with Cortana will be US only and will later on expand to UK and China in the 2nd half of 2014 with other countries to follow in 2015.
Cortana is a circular icon and it will take Color based on your Windows Phone theme.
- Cortana now completely refreshes the search experience on Windows Phone and it is powered by Bing. It will have a Notebook of its own just like any personal assistant in real life. Cortana learns you at every step and stores this information in Notebook.
- It can do things like set up reminders for individual contacts, can manage your phone when you don’t wont to be disturbed by setting Quiet Hours for you where you won’t receive texts,calls etc. It also understands your ‘inner circle’ of contacts & give them access during Quiet Hours. It can track Flights, Weather, News & Stocks for you based on your preferences.
- With Cortana you would also be able to interact with 3rd Part Apps. For eg. You can look up a new feed of your friend in Facebook and Cortana would open up Facebook and do right that for you.
- The more you use the Search function, the more Cortana learns about you by asking and confirming.
- “How many Calories in a Banana ?
- Introduction of new Business features in Windows Phone 8.1 like ‘Enterprise VPN’, ‘support for S/MIME’ (allows people to encrypt and sign emails) & more.
- New tweaked Windows Phone Store in WP8.1 – we have already see it leak here.
- Improvements in Calendar in WP8.1 with addition of ‘Week view’ & other nice touches.
- Wi-Fi Sense in Windows Phone 8.1 automatically connects you to free public hotspots in vicinity thus saving your precious cellular data. With Wi-Fi Sense you can securely auto-share you home’s Wi-Fi password with your friends without having to do them manually.
- The new Skype app in Windows Phone 8.1 integrates with your Dialer. So any normal call can be converted in to a Skype Video Call at the click of a button. Also below you can see improvements in the layout during a call.
- Windows Phone 8.1 brings with it a new ‘Word Flow Keyboard’ with shape writing (Swype like) inbuilt. Mind you the new keyboard is efficient, faster and holds even a World Record of fastest typing.
Best of all, our new Word Flow Keyboard lets you glide your fingers over the keys to type INCREDIBLY quickly… a kid was able to BREAK THE OFFICIAL WORLD RECORD previously held by the Swype keyboard on a Samsung Galaxy S4 using Word Flow by 8 seconds!
- Windows Phone will now integrate even well with your Windows PC .. especially Settings. For eg. if your PC is connected to a WiFi then that password is automatically shared with your Phone so you don’t have to type it again. Themes can be synced too.
- IE10 gives way to hardware accelerated IE11 on your WP with Windows Phone 8.1, gaining on several new features like ‘InPrivate browsing and Reading Mode’ to name a few. Latest HMTL features will be available which includes WebGL. For eg. Inline video playback in now supported in WP8.1 meaning you can play the video in browser itself.
- Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to consumers in next few months with Developer Preview releasing in first part of April. New devices will come pre-loaded with it.
- Microsoft also introduced ‘Universal Apps’ – One app that runs across all devices. For consumers, buy it once and use it everywhere.
- Windows Phone 8.1 is not just all that has been mentioned above. It is more than it, with improvements touching almost each & every aspect of the device.
“We’ve added hundreds of new features for Windows Phone 8.1.”
- An existing WP8 application will continue to run on Windows Phone 8.1. Developers can switch over to ‘Silverlight Phone 8.1’ to gain access to new features or to ‘Universal Windows App’ to add new features and run across devices.
- App voice commands in Windows Phone 8.1 will be powered by Cortana.
- Windows will be FREE for Phones & Devices with screen size less that 9″ inches. That’s a huge news !
- All Lumia devices will get Windows Phone 8.1 via an OTA update called ‘Lumia Cyan’ coming this Summer.
- Nokia Lumia 1520 will get a new Green color.
- Nokia Lumia 930, Lumia 630 & Lumia 635 announced.
- Nokia Lumia 930 is Lumia Icon with Built-in Wireless Charging & Colored backs.
- The Nokia Lumia 630 is expected to rollout in May, beginning with Asia, Russia, China, India and Europe, from 119€ / $159 for the single-sim variant, and 129€ /$169 for the dual-sim variant before subsidies and taxes.
- The Nokia Lumia 635 will be broadly available, including in the US starting in this summer from 149€ / $189 before subsidies and taxes.
- Nokia Lumia 930 will begin rolling out globally in June – beginning in Europe, Asia, India and Middle East – the Nokia Lumia 930 will be available from $599 before taxes and subsidies.