Windows Phone 8.1 update to bring new Notification Center and Cortana personal assistant to rival Siri

David Parker December 19, 2013 5
Windows Phone 8.1 update to bring new Notification Center and Cortana personal assistant to rival Siri


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.

Windows Phone 8.1 Update - Say Goodbye to Your Physical Buttons

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.

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  1. saurabh  December 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Will the windows phone 8 get the 8.1 update? I have Lumia 720

  2. Mark  December 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    From everything I’ve read, ALL Windows Phones will be updated to Windows Phone 8.1. Some will have more functionality than others (depending on processors, RAM, etc.), but they should all work about the same. I own a Nokia Lumia 928 on Verizon and I LOVE this phone! I can’t wait to get this update. I’ve signed up for the Developer’s network and have an unlocked phone so I won’t have to wait for Verizon to upgrade me when it is finally released. April can’t get here fast enough for me!

  3. Sumit Satpute  December 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Hey Mark , My lumia 920 is code unlocked too , I was able to hook it up with Visual Studio and run my programs/apps. But I am not sure how Can I get update before carrier releases the,m. for eg: GDr3 , I am still not on GDR3 update , the latest I have is Amber which was built on top of Gdr2.

    • Mark  December 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      You can get the instructions on how to do this at this link:

      If you have the developers account, just download the app from the windows store and then update you phone like normal (Settings – Phone Update and click Check for updates).

    • Mark  December 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Sum it Satpute: I already have the GDR3 update on my phone and Verizon is no where near ready to release it for the Nokia Lumia 928. I’ve been having it on my phone for about 2 months now with no problems. I even got the GDR3 update from Microsoft after the initial GDR3 update. The App you need to download from the Microsoft Store is called “Preview for Developers.”. This will unlock your phone and force you phone to check with Microsoft’s server for the update instead of your carrier.

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