Microsoft has finally announced the much anticipated update for the Windows Phone 8 known as Windows Phone 8.1. At the Build 2014 Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 along with an update to the Windows 8.1. Windows Phone 8.1 brings the Cortana personal assistant app, a rival to the Siri on iPhone, a new action center, and support for customizable lock screens and backgrounds.
Cortana is the new personal assistant on the Windows Phone similar to Apple’s Siri and Google Now. We are hearing about her from quite some time, she will be available in the US initially as a beta application. It will later be expanded to UK and China in the second half of this year and she will arrive in other countries by 2015. Cortana is powered by Bing, so she knows about the internet and as she is residing on your phone she knows about you, according to Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore.
She will replace the search function on Windows Phone, she can keep track of your appointments, she can take notes, set reminders, know he places you frequent, suggest restaurants and more. Cortana functionality can be expanded to support other third-party apps like Skype, Facebook etc.
Action Center is another big change in he Windows Phone 8.1, it is similar to the notifications panel in iOS and Android. It shows battery percentage, four customizable buttons, and notifications from all of your apps. The lock screen can be customized, developers can build new experiences to utilize the lock screen personalization.
In WP 8.1 users can add more live tiles to their home screens if hey please so. Devices with 5-inch or more can add third row of live times on their home screens. Users can also customize the home screens by using backgrounds, users can set their own images behind he live tiles to personalize the user experience. Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone brings the ability to see all open tabs on other Windows devices, it also brings the InPrivate browsing, password caching and also reading mode.
Windows Phone 8.1 running devices are coming, you can expect devices with WP8.1 by the end of April or early May. Nokia has announced Lumia 630 and 635, these are the first phones to run Windows Phone 8.1. The update will also be pushed to other Lumia devices in the next few months.