Posts with tag windows phone 8.1
I'm going to make it call me Chief
Microsoft made a splash with Cortana when Windows Phone 8.1 finally launched a couple of months ago, and after months of testing people have gotten a pretty good idea of how accurate and useful Microsoft’s Siri alternative truly is – and as it turns out, Cortana is actually pretty impressive. It should come as little surprise then that Microsoft is working on bringing its Cortana Personal Assistant to the next major version of Windows, Codename “Threshold”, which will likely be named Windows 9 upon its release in 2015. According to Neowin, who has provided accurate information in the past, current development builds of Windows Threshold actually do have placeholders for Cortana, however it has yet to be fully realized in the most recent builds.
Rumor has it Microsoft will integrate Cortana deeply into the core of the operating system, as opposed to acting as just a separate application that runs on top of the operating system. Microsoft currently takes a similar approach to Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. Windows Threshold is rumored to be announced later this year at an upcoming Special Event alongside an early Developer Preview of the operating system and will be home to a significant reworking of the way Windows currently works and looks. Recent rumors indicate that Microsoft is killing off the much loathed Charms bar in Threshold while also bringing native support for virtual desktops – a feature that has been in most Linux distributions and Mac OS X for quite some time now.
Recently leaked screenshots have also revealed that Microsoft has reimplemented a newly redesigned version of the Start Menu in Windows Threshold, which seems to be a monster mash between the Windows 7-era Start Menu and the Windows 8 Start Screen. Recently opened applications are seen on the left side of the Start Menu while the right is dominated by live updating tiles, which users could presumably pin for easy access to glanceable information.
Finally bringing Windows Phone up to par
In the Microsoft camp, much excitement has been created over Windows Phone 8.1 and for good reason. Many improvements have been made to Windows Phone including adding new features that have been missing since the very beginning. These new features also help give Windows Phone a fighting chance against its iOS and Android competition.
So let’s find out just what it is that’s got the Microsoft guys so excited. The review, as always, starts after the break.
A couple weeks ago, we reported on a rumor that Windows Phone 8.1 would be arriving on April 14th. Today is that day and it’s confirmed – the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers has been released through Microsoft’s Preview for Developer program, meaning anyone with a Windows Phone developer account (even a free App Studio account) can download and install this update just like you would any other update.
According to one of my contacts, the update is split into two parts: the first part is a pre-update, if you will, that presumably contains some bugfixes for the existing Windows Phone 8 OS while the second part is the actual Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview update.
Windows Phone 8.1 contains many new features such as VPN support, more tile customization options and most notably, Cortana. If you’re interested in the update, all you have to do is get your phone developer unlocked and install the Preview for Developers app – but be aware that once you update, there’s no going back to a stable OS.
Review coming soon!
Says the leaked documents
Yesterday, Microsoft showed off Windows Phone 8.1 during the //BUILD/ 2014 Day 1 keynote. The speakers stated that the build would be arriving for developers sometime later in April but didn’t leave any specifics.
Neowin has acquired an internal email that may help shed some more specifics on when the build will be arriving. While there was an earlier build of Windows Phone 8.1 released to Microsoft Connect partners, it wasn’t deemed the gold master because there were a few extra bugs that had to be fixed. This pushback seems to have resulted in the new release date of April 14th with the build being signed off on April 8th.
An important thing to note is that the leaked Neowin email refers to an “adaptation kit” which is for OEM partners to tailor Windows Phone images to their devices and may not mean that ordinary developers will get the build at the same time the OEMs do.
The Lumia 635 is the successor to the Lumia 521 and will be available on T-Mobile. Like the 521, it’s a budget device aimed at the no contract market but it does include LTE support, something that Stephen Elop mentioned during the keynote this morning. It’ll also come with a 4.5″ screen and a quad-core processor which is a considerable upgrade from the 521.
But if you’re still rocking a Lumia 925 or 521, T-Mobile will be releasing the Windows Phone 8.1 update for those devices too. And it’ll also be available for people who own the MetroPCS version of the Lumia 521, as MetroPCS is now owned my T-Mobile. Unfortunately, owners of the Lumia 810 are once again going to be left out in the cold as the press release makes no mention of that device.
The devices and updates are coming to T-Mobile “this summer” with no specific dates or price points mentioned.
Cortana, what's new?
As expected, Microsoft has officially announced Windows Phone 8.1 on stage at the BUILD opening keynote speech today. Although Windows Phone 8.1 has been designated as a minor point upgrade, in actuality Windows Phone 8.1 is a large upgrade to the platform, bringing some of the most commonly requested features and bits of functionality into Microsoft’s floundering mobile phone platform.
While we’ve seen a lot of this before already, the biggest bit of new news came from Windows Phone’s Cortana functionality. Cortana, for those who don’t know, is Microsoft’s take on an intellectual voice assistant on Windows, akin to Siri on Apple iOS and Google Now on Android.
Cortana is incredibly intelligent, keeping track of a held conversation in a way that Siri for example has yet to truly grasp – commands can be treated as sort of threads, so if you say “What’s the weather in Boston, MA?” for example, you can amend that in the next command by saying something like “What’s that in Kelvin?” – for you scientists who just need to know what the weather’s like in Kelvin.
Meanwhile, Cortana can also keep reminders outside the Cortana UI itself. Ask Cortana to remind you to tell your wife something, and a reminder will pop up next time you text, call, or Skype with your wife. It’s very smart, and a welcome addition to the voice assistant family – something I hope will make its way to some competitor’s platforms before long.
Other than Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 provides several other impressive new features. There’s a new lock screen customization UI that allows developers to create unique new lock screen designs. Picking up the personalization trend and running with it, Microsoft has also integrated a sort of unique wallpaper support in the platform that allows you to transplant images onto live tiles. It’s kind of odd, but it creates some unique and interesting customization options.
Microsoft has also integrated Internet Explorer 11 support into Windows Phone 8.1, as well as a bunch of other updates to integrated applications, such as Settings and Calendar. The keyboard has been updated to allow for Swype-like usage with swiping instead of tapping on the individual letters. Windows Phone 8.1 is slated to ship to new phones beginning in April, and will ship as an update to existing Windows Phone 8 devices (we hope) in the “next couple of months.” Good luck.
Customer Experience Team still working
According to popular Microsoft blog WPCentral, Microsoft has completed work on the Windows Phone 8.1 core, bringing the product – which is expected to be officially announced at Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference – one step closer to finalization.
According to WPCentral, the Windows Phone 8.1 team is still hard at work on other elements of the operating system; the Customer Experience Team in particular is still working on fixing some lingering bugs, blocking the operating system from being eligible for RTM (gold) status just yet.
The rumour mill is full of speculation that the announcement will be unveiling the successor to the current generation of Lumia hardware – namely, the Lumia 930 and the Lumia 630. It’s probably no surprise this is happening so close together (and on the //BUILD/ floor, no less) given that Microsoft basically owns Nokia now.
According to speculation, Microsoft will be announcing Windows Phone 8.1 on Day 1 of //BUILD/ and Nokia will be holding their event on the same day, but at 5 PM. What else do we know? Nothing much, so we’ll just have to wait. We’ll be covering the events of //BUILD/ Day 1 as they happen.
Looks to make Windows more attractive
In one of the most unexpected pieces of news since forever, we’re hearing confirmation today that Microsoft will be participating in an effort to release dual-boot Android/windows Phone hybrid devices starting this calendar year. The root of this confirmation comes from Karbonn, an Indian-based smartphone manufacturer, Chairman Sudhir Hasija, who claims that his company has been in discussion with Microsoft about the project for some time now and that dual-boot smartphones will be coming within the next six months.
But before that will start, Karbonn will begin selling their first line of Windows Phone-exclusive smartphones by June. These phones should ship with Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box and will be the result of an effort by Microsoft to, as Hasija has said, ease “regulations and… open[ing] up its platform for other players.”
Microsoft has seen only limited success with its Windows Phone platform, capturing less than 5% of the smartphone market. This comes in stark contrast to the overall success of the Windows Mobile line prior to the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007, a product that largely dominated the marketplace in its time.
The merger has begun
Microsoft has been largely silent regarding their upcoming Windows Phone update, originally dubbed “Windows Phone Blue” – now predictably called Windows Phone 8.1 – but their silence has been broken, if not by choice. Major new leaks coming from a variety of sources have not only confirmed that Windows Phone 8.1 is real and coming, but has also revealed a partial feature set, a plethora of new screenshots, updated applications, and – perhaps most notably – a sign that Microsoft is actively going ahead with their long rumored plans to merge Windows Phone and Windows RT.
Read more to find out what Microsoft has in store for the future of Windows Phone.
Let's wait for //BUILD/ 2014
From within the halls of Redmond come a couple of Windows Phone 8.1 rumours that we’ve heard of before: the notification center and the Siri-like assistant, codenamed “Cortana” after the assistant in Halo. Microsoft is currently testing Windows Phone 8.1 privately and it sounds as if these features have been integrated into Windows Phone and not just test apps as we’ve seen earlier.
The new notification center will be implemented similar to how it is on Android or iOS – that is, you make a long swipe in from the top of the screen to access it. A short swipe off the top of the screen will trigger a quick settings panel which presumably lets one toggle settings such as screen rotation, airplane mode, volume settings, etc.
Cortana is set to replace the existing Bing Search and can be interacted with speech or text. Acting similarly to Google Now or Siri, it will learn from the things you do with your phone to help better get the information you want, and will also feature conversation interaction which begs the question: What will Cortana say if you ask about the best place to hide a body? Silliness aside, Cortana will also remind you about upcoming appointments ala Google Now.
Other changes coming in Windows Phone 8.1 include multiple volume profiles and Bing Smart Search to bring Windows 8.1-style search to the phone. Enterprise people are also in luck as the update finally brings VPN support. There’s also a bit of separation going on, as the Music+Videos hub will be splitting into two separate apps named — you guessed it — Xbox Music and Xbox Video. The People hub is also getting some extensions with deeper Twitter and Facebook integration.
Microsoft is believed to be talking about Windows Phone 8.1 come //BUILD/ 2014. Will we see a Windows Phone 8.1 release through the Preview for Developers program? We will see in the coming months.
Source: The Verge
There's no turning "back" now! ...ha ha.
Lame puns aside, we’ve got more rumors of the things that Windows Phone 8.1 will contain when it hits phones in 2014. Coming from Paul Thurrott, we have a list of a few rumoured things coming to the Windows Phone platform and yes, the Back button being removed is one of those things. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, however; let’s take a look at all the things that Paul is saying. An important thing to note is that he openly admits these things come from one source, so we should all take what we’re about to read with a 26 ounce can of salt.
First up, the Back button is going away in 8.1. The logic behind this one is that users don’t know what the Back button actually does and that they also just go back to the Start screen to open new apps. Admittedly, even though I know what that button does I also just go back to the Start screen to do other things.
Multitasking is also getting some improvements, like the ability to kill apps running in the background. There may also be some notification and performance improvements in 8.1 as it’s a mess right now. The only question is, how can we bring up the task switcher if there’s no Back button at all?
There are also a few changes coming that might spell out Windows Phone replacing Windows RT. We’ve heard the rumours before that some future version of Windows Phone would be able to run Windows Runtime (8/RT Metro-style) apps, and Paul says this is coming in Windows Phone 8.1. Another interesting thing of note is that while Windows Phone 8 GDR3 is bringing support for 5″ and 6″ 1080p displays, 8.1 is bringing support for 7″ and 10″ displays.