3 April 2014

Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8.1 - Features at a glance

Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8.1 - Features at a glance

by | Thursday, April 03, 2014

Microsoft has unveiled the Windows Phone 8.1, the company's latest revision of its mobile operating system at the Build 2014 conference. The new update promises a lot of new features with more personalization and improvements. Let's take a look at the new features offered in this update.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 New Features


Taking a clue from Google Now and Apple’s Siri, Microsoft has introduced a new personal digital assistant, called Cortana. Named after an artificially intelligent (AI) character in the Halo video game series, Cortana assists you in performing searches, setting up alarms and calendar entries, composing messages, making calls and everything you expect a voice-based virtual assistant should do. Under the hood, it is powered by Bing.
"Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and the things that matter to me most, and knows about the whole Internet." said Microsoft's VP Joe Belfiore.

Action Center

Like the notification bar in Android, Windows Phone 8.1 brings in Action Center. It is an information hub that offers notification like email, messages and social media updates, with a single swipe action. You can also access four customized phone functions like Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, and more.


Windows Phone 8.1 offers personalized lock screen and start screen. Developers can create widgets and themes for users lock screen. Users can add more tiles to the start screen and can pin social updates, apps, websites, music albums and much more.

Wi-Fi sense

Wi-Fi sense eliminates the signing-in process and allows users to connect automatically to free public Wi-Fi hotspots. It also allows you to share your Wi-Fi network with selected contacts without giving them the password.

Performance enhancement

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 offers performance enhancing features like battery saver, storage sense, and data sense. The battery saver option can increase the run time of your handset by limiting the background processes and shutting down the apps specified by the user. The storage sense lets you to easily transfer apps from your phone to SD card and manage your storage space. The data sense helps you to limit your mobile data usage and also suggest solutions for conserving it.

Internet Explorer 11

Windows Phone 8.1 is pre-loaded with Internet Explorer 11. It comes with many new features like Reading View, InPrivate mode and password manager. The Reading View helps users to focus on the main content of the Web page by extracting relevant content for easier reading. The InPrivate mode lets you browse the web incognito without saving the web history and cookie information. The password manager syncs your saved passwords across multiple devices. Internet Explorer 11 supports WebGL and HTML5 video player, and also allows users to upload file.

Universal Apps

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 allows developers to create a common app for Smartphones, tablets and PCs. Users can download an app once and run it on various form-factors.


Windows Phone 8.1 brings a Swype-like keyboard called Wordflow. It predicts words when user swipe through the letters.

Miscellaneous features

Other notable features in Windows Phone 8.1 are Lens app for adding filters and special effects to photos, transfer regular phone call to a Skype video call, built-in Xbox, Quiet hours that keeps you away from notifications and alerts, VPN support, Encrypted and signed e-mail support and on-screen keys.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 will roll out as an update to all users in the next few months. New devices running on it will be available in April and May.
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