Are you swayed by Windows Phone 8.1?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: April 3, 2014

On October 29, back in 2012, Microsoft officially announced Windows Phone 8. As you can expect, the announcement followed plenty of leaks, rumor and everything in between, most of which was focused on the belief that Microsoft would be leaving Windows Phone 7 (and all of its updated versions) in the dust in favor of the new mobile platform. That came to pass, and Windows Phone 8 became an all new mobile beast for the Washington state-based company.

October 2012 feels like a really, really long time ago. In the mobile space, it's probably even longer than that. There has been a lot to happen since Microsoft unveiled the biggest change to their mobile platform since Windows Phone's inception, most of which has been thanks to the other manufacturers playing in the same space. We've seen a whole suite of new devices from Samsung. We've seen a few new versions of Android released. Apple's released new devices, and new versions of iOS. In that time, HTC made one of the best Android-based devices to date (and then replaced it with a new one!), and both LG and Motorola managed to gain plenty of momentum with their own devices.

It's a whole new world, basically.

Yesterday, on April 2, 2014, Microsoft officially announced Windows Phone 8.1. So, it's been almost a year and a half since Microsoft sat down, shut up, and got to work on the next big update. They succeeded in that effort, by the way. We started to see some leaks here and there not too long ago, but considering how long Microsoft has been working on Windows Phone 8.1, it's honestly quite impressive how long they managed to keep most of it a secret.

The mobile space, at face value, may not look so different than it did back in October of 2012, but we all know that quite a bit has changed. It is a new world, and as my fellow Editor, Anna, articulated yesterday, Microsoft is just now catching up. So, for those of you out there who have waited to get your hands on Microsoft's mobile operating system, because you thought the feature set wasn't comparable to those offered on competitive platforms, now may be the time to switch.

And that's why I'm wondering if this is the year that you switch to Windows Phone. Or, more specifically, if Windows Phone 8.1 is the reason to switch for you. While we've seen some new hardware from Nokia to run the newest version of the mobile platform, the pickings for new phones are pretty slim right now, so getting a "new" phone may not be an option.

From a software point of view, Windows Phone 8.1 is pretty impressive, especially with additions like Cortana and Action Center. As aforementioned, these are things that have (not so) distant relatives on other platforms, but that's not a bad thing. The fact they're (finally) on Windows Phone just makes the platform that much stronger. Plus, Cortana looks ridiculously powerful and useful, while Action Center looks quite useful as well.

Microsoft may always be playing catch up, thanks to its slow tactics when it comes to updating software, but as long as it aims to meet consumer demands and expectations, and even pass them in some ways, that may be something most consumers can get used to. It all comes down to the individual, though.

Which is why I'm asking you, right now, if you think Windows Phone 8.1, with all its new features and apps, is worthy of your invested attention. Are you going to switch to Microsoft's mobile platform? Have you been waiting for these features to even consider it? And if you don't plan on switching, what's keeping you from doing it? Let me know!