Windows Phone 8.1 Update: A Welcomed Change

The evolution of Windows Phones in a way has been over-shadowed down the years. The rise of Android and iOS in the market has certainly made its presence a low key affair. However, the recent Windows Phone 8.1 update has surely uplifted the brand and has given Windows the much needed breath.

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Windows 8.1 update promises much to the users as the update includes a virtual assistant, an enhanced keyboard and an improved camera experience. As Vithesh Reddy (General Manager – Lower Gulf at Microsoft Mobile Devices) said, “The upgrade allows consumers to make their Lumia handset more personal, fun and indispensable, with the new features there to make life simpler.” Microsoft promises the users that this time around the customers will surely have an unbeatable smartphone experience. So let us analyze what’s in store for the 8.1 users.

Cortana

Cortana is a visual assistant. Powered by Bing, Cortana helps users with queries, interests, convenient recommendations, and even humorous conversations. Much like Google Now, Cortana understands the choices of the users and provides helpful suggestions.

Powerful Camera

The most important and much needed update for the Windows Camera is the “Burst Mode Feature.” The update also incorporates support for Photo Apps (Special effects and Fiters).

Sense Apps

Literally, the Windows Phone App in the latest update will have ’sense.’ Data Sense, Storage sense, WiFi Sense and Battery Power Sense are included in this update. These apps will help users manage the data, storage and WiFi hotspots efficiently.

Enhanced Keyboard

This might be a minor update, but it is worth mentioning. The keyboard now includes a Word Flow Feature. This will certainly ease user typing.

Action Centre

This is basically the notification centre that centralizes all the notifications at one place. E-mail, messaging, non-Toast notifications, social media alerts and update history; everything at one place.

These were a few handpicked updates that definitely make 8.1 a sure success. 8.1 has many tweaks for sure and Microsoft has been kind and tactical so as to say in naming this update as .1. With the amount of changes in the OS it deserves to be called 9 even.

8.1, nicknamed as “Blue”, has a new start screen and some UI changes. Although the design is refined, developers have made sure that the core Microsoft design remains unaltered.

As commented by Vithesh Reddy, 8.1 allows users to personalize their handsets. Interestingly, users now have options for Start screen backgrounds. This was one of the most requested features by many people. Both of its competitors viz. iOS and Android have the options to set Wallpaper. And essentially many expected Microsoft to follow their suit in the 8.1 update.

And yes, Microsoft has indeed included this update but with an elegantly creative touch. The update now allows users to choose an image of their choice to overlay on the tiles. The effect though comes out well only with the right choice of an image. Some images may make the feature dislikeable.

Apart from these updates there are some noteworthy tweaks I’d like to mention;

• Speed Dial is now incorporated under Phone
• Newly installed apps now are highlighted as ‘new’, in their title.
• Data-connection, signal-strength, Battery-indicator, and other notifications remain on the screen.
• The notification alert for ‘charging’ has a less annoying sound.
• Time displayed on the lock screen has a larger font.

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