Windows Phone 8.1 Released, Comes With Cortana And More

Microsoft has finally unveiled the newest version of its mobile operating system at its annual BUILD developer conference in San Francisco, California. And Microsoft went all out this time by adding a number of new features to the OS that helps it better compete with Android and iOS. For starters, WP 8.1 now features more customisation options for users to tinker…



Microsoft has finally unveiled the newest version of its mobile operating system at its annual BUILD developer conference in San Francisco, California. And Microsoft went all out this time by adding a number of new features to the OS that helps it better compete with Android and iOS.

For starters, WP 8.1 now features more customisation options for users to tinker. The lockscreen can now be customised using APIs to change its theme and even its functionality. Users can also set up backgrounds on the start screen and give tiles a transparent effect.

Microsoft has also finally added a dedicated notification center in WP8.1 called Action center. Much like those seen on Android and iOS, the Action center holds customisable toggles for Wi-Fi, brightness adjustment, Bluetooth and rotation locks. And of course it contains notifications from your apps including those for text messages, emails and missed calls.

But the most interesting new feature on the OS would probably be Cortana – Microsoft’s own voice assistant. Cortana is powered by Bing and lets users set reminders, calendar events, and give specific information that is relevant to each user.

Cortana is accessible by holding down the search key and is able to feed users custom notifications based on their personal information and usage data. Microsoft has employed the original voice of Cortana in the Halo game series – Jen Taylor for some added personality.

Cortana will be available initially in the US, UK and China with other countries to get it shortly.

Other notable features of Windows Phone 8.1 include a smarter Internet Explorer 11, support for VPN, S/MIME for signed and encrypted emails, on screen keys and a new keyboard called Wordflow that lets users input characters by swiping over the letters.

According to Microsoft, Windows Phone 8.1 will be available to future devices and will roll out in a few months.

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