Since being launched in 2010, Microsoft’s Windows Phone has met with a fair share of criticism and comparisons with its more popular counterparts: iOS and Android. However, that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from releasing new features and fixes to address these concerns. The latest we hear according to the website ‘The Verge’ is that Microsoft is readying their latest update known as the Windows Phone 8.1 which will reportedly include some interesting new features to level the playing field.
The two most significant changes which will arrive with Windows Phone 8.1 are a new Notification Center and a much improved personal assistant which will give Apple’ Siri and Google Now a run for their money.
The new Notification Center will most likely work in a similar way in which it works in iOS and Android – a short swipe from the top to reveal the notification drawer. Microsoft has however tried to add their own flavor by changing the context of the notification drawers depending on your swipe gesture. A short swipe will only reveal the ‘Quick Settings’ whereas a longer swipe from top to bottom will reveal the entire notification history.
‘Cortana’, a personal digital assistant was in development and testing since many months. It seems that Microsoft is finally confident to ship the same. Windows Phone 8.1 will offer much more functionality and personalization than the default Bing Search that currently ships with Windows Phone 8. It will also be contextually aware of the user’s location and other personal data in order to provide more relevant information.
There are other small but important updates too in WP 8.1:
- Media playback and ringtones will now have a separate volume control
- People Hub will now have improved Twitter and Facebook support.
- Bing Smart Search results similar to Windows 8.1
- Xbox Music and Video will be separated into two independent apps.
- VPN support for enterprise users
Windows Phone 8.1 will be revealed in April 2014 at Microsoft’s BUILD event.
Do you own a Windows Phone? Are you excited about the new Notification Center and the personal assistant update coming in Windows Phone 8.1? Do let us know in the comments section below.