Thanks to various image and video leaks, we've gotten an early look at several of the new features coming with Windows Phone 8.1, including the Action Center notification panel and Cortana, the personal assistant. One part of the update that has managed to elude the leaky spotlight is the new Windows Phone Store, but that's changing today thanks to a report that contains images and details of Microsoft's updated mobile app store.
According to WPCentral, the first panel that users will see in the refreshed Windows Phone Store is "Featured," which will be capable of displaying several apps at once. There will also allegedly be a "Quick Links" section that'll be split up into featured apps and games as well as top paid and free apps, as well as a "Personalized" section for apps that Microsoft thinks that you'd enjoy based on your download history. Heck, Microsoft is even sweating the small details, going so far as to capitalize the word "Store" in the update.
Individual app pages have also reportedly gotten a makeover. The panels for each page will reportedly be split up into Overview, Reviews, Details and Related sections rather than the Details, Reviews, Screenshots and Related tabs that are in use now. An app's screenshots will be grouped in with the app's description rather than being on their own panel. Finally, the ellipsis menu will bring up shortcuts that can be used to jump to the Home, Share, My Apps, Settings and Downloads sections.
What's that? You don't recognize some of those sections that I just mentioned? Well yeah, that's because those are new, too. The My Apps section is expected to include an option to manually check for app updates, which I think is awesome because I'm an update lover. There will also be a Downloads section that'll show the progress of any ongoing downloads, an App Updates section that'll have a toggle for automatic app updates over Wi-Fi and a Use My Location section that'll offer improved app suggestions.
Overall it sounds like the Windows Phone Store is another piece of Microsoft's mobile platform that's getting made over in a big way with Windows Phone 8.1. All of the above features may sound like little things, but when combined with a notification panel, personal assistant, on-screen navigation buttons and all of the other goodies coming with WP8.1, the new features make for a pretty significant update. Best of all? We're likely just a week away from seeing it all made official, as Microsoft is expected to formally unveil Windows Phone 8.1 at its Build Developer Conference on April 2.