After leaking quite extensively, Windows Phone 8.1 is finally official. As we expected, there’s a lot of good stuff that the latest Windows Phone iteration brings.
Windows Phone 8.1 brings the much requested notification center, which Microsoft likes to call Action Center. The Action center features quick toggles for various settings and shows you the battery percentage and date as well. Down below you can see all your notifications.
Then there’s the great Cortana. Cortana as we all know is Microsoft’s digital personal assistant and the answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri. It is powered by Bing and well, it seems pretty awesome.
Cortana is everything you would want a personal assistant to be. It can set you reminders, alarms, make calls, play music. Cortana will bring you weather info, info on your favorites sports team and a lot more. It brings you contextual feature reading your emails and noting your interests. There’s the Notebook feature, which lets you add your interests and give more personal information to Cortana.
You can hit the search key now to bring Cortana up and live. Cortana will bring you contextual notifications like Google Now and Microsoft has added support for 3rd party apps, which means notifications from them as well. Sadly, Cortana will be available only in US at first, it will then come to UK, China while the rest of the countries will follow.
Windows Phone 8.1 brings custom lockscreens. New APIs that are part of Windows Phone 8.1 allow apps to take over the lockscreen. You can get various lockscreen themes through the stores as well. Microsoft has also brought Start Screen backgrounds with Windows Phone 8.1. You can select one of your pictures as the background of the Start Screen. You also have the ability to show more tiles.
There’s the new Internet Explorer 11, which features a new private browsing mode, reading mode, password manager. There’s a new Wordflow keyboard which features Swype like input ability. There are a lot of other features that Windows Phone 8.1 brings, which we should know in time.
Windows Phone 8.1 will come as an update to current devices in the coming months, while new Windows Phone 8.1 devices will hit stores in late April/early May.