Windows Phone 8.1 Update confirmed, Microsoft names several new features
Windows Phone chief Joe Belfiore has penned a blog post to introduce Windows Phone 8.1 Update and its bevy of new features. Some of the goodies packed into this update are ones that we already knew about, like native folder support, and there are others that are focused on Chinese users. Here’s the list of WP8.1 Update features named by Microsoft so far:
- Cortana - Available in China and the U.K. in beta form and in Canada, India and Australia as an alpha. In China, Cortana will be known as “Xiao Na” and will have unique features like a new face, information for things like air quality and support for local TV shows. Meanwhile, the U.S. Certain will gain new features like snooze time for reminders and support for hands-free Cortana use in the car.
- Live Folders - Support for app folders that display a tile of apps, complete with Live Tile support
- Xbox Music - Improved performance, background syncing for collections and swipe to advance. Quickplay of recently played content and Kids Corner support coming in the next month.
- Store Live Tile - Will show updates on new apps every 6 hours
- SMS merge and forwarding - Ability to select several text messages for deletion and forwarding.
- Apps Corner - Select certain apps to run in “sandboxed mode” for things like booting straight to an app and for retail demos.
- Enhanced privacy and security - Improvements for protecting data on public networks, including support for data usage over a virtual price network while on a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Overall Windows Phone 8.1 Update looks pretty spiffy for all of the Live Tile lovers out there. There aren’t any groundbreaking new features, which isn’t a surprise since this is more of a point update that a full-on, WP7 to WP8-type of update, but there are still some nice additions that will help Windows Phone to get closer to feature parity with Android and iOS.
Microsoft says that Windows Phone 8.1 Update will begin rolling out to consumers on Windows Phone 8.1 “in the coming months.” If you don’t feel like waiting that long to mess with all of the goodies that I mentioned above, the update will be made available to Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers users sometime next week.