Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana at Build 2014

Well today was the day we’ve been waiting for as Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 at their Build developer conference. The company has high hopes that their latest mobile OS will be a success.

The goal with this update is to create an experience that puts everything users care about in front of them and make their smartphone a reflection of their own personality.

According to Windows Phone Blog, there’s an option to customize your Start background with a favorite picture or one of the options available, which will make many of the tiles on your Start screen become clear so you can see the background you selected as you scroll up and down.

The Lock Screen will see some improvements in Windows Phone 8.1 with a new app that allows people to set different themes, which show various visuals and animations. This again reinforces the concept of making your smartphone personal.

One of the best things that came out from the conference is the debut of your own personal digital assistant.

The inspiration comes from a very popular character in the Halo universe, who served as a superb AI and very personal digital assistant to Master Chief. The name of this assistant is none other than Cortana.

Cortana is powered by Bing and gets to know the user on a personal level by building a relationship. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about throughout the day, and filters out unnecessary things so you can focus on what matters to you.

Cortana will launch shortly here in the U.S. first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.

There’s a bevy of new features being added to Windows Phone 8.1 and it’s definitely a step in the right direction for Microsoft. Windows Phone 8.1 will begin rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users and will come pre-installed on new phones that could be available as soon as the end of April.

If you want to try out Windows Phone 8.1 and you’re a registered developer, you can update your phone as part of the Developer Preview Program in the first part of April.

It seems this new update will be great for current Windows Phone users and only time will tell if it forces people to consider purchasing a Windows Phone in the future.

Thanks, Windows Phone Blog





Tags: Microsoft

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