Microsoft has officially announced Windows Phone 8.1, a new update for its Windows Phone platform. The new release brings new features like Action Center and Siri-like personal assistant Cortana.
Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now. It is powered by Bing and let’s you set reminders, calendar events, perform searches, gives you information about places you plan to visit. It learns from your web searches and gives you timely information that matters to you. The Cortana can be accessed using the Search button.
Windows Phone 8.1 finally gets a much needed notification center called Action Center. It includes basic quick setting toggles like brightness setting, location settings, rotation locks, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings. Below the quick toggles you get the notifications for email, text messages, missed calls, Facebook and Cortana.
The new lock screen on Windows Phone 8.1 is customizable and allow apps to change theme or display custom entries. In addition to that the Start screen can be customized with custom backgrounds. Windows Phone 8.1 will come pre-installed with the latest version of Internet Explorer, IE 11. The new release of Windows Phone 8.1 comes with a VPN and S/MIME support allowing users to surf securely and encrypt emails. New Wi-Fi Sense feature on Windows Phone 8.1 automatically connects users to free wireless hotspots. It also allows users to share internet connection of secured WiFi networks with friends without giving the password. The new Windows Phone 8.1 release will come with a new version of Skype that can convert a regular phone call into a Skype video call. Finally, a new Swype like keyboard called Wordflow will be added in the latest release.
The Windows Phone 8.1 update will be released to public in the next few months. The smartphones with Windows Phone 8.1 will go on sale in either April or early May. Stay tuned for more updates.
Update : Word Flow – World’s fastest keyboard on a smartphone
Update : According to a new report, Microsoft will begin the roll out of Windows Phone 8.1 update for Lumia Smartphones by the end of June 2014.
Update : Microsoft Begins Cyan Update Rollout for Nokia Lumia Devices