Microsoft just recently made the update to Windows Phone 8.1 available to the public. The update brings a host of additional features to the platform that it’s so desperately been needing. These features include, a more customizable Start screen, Action Center to see all current notifications, Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana and more. While the update was a big one and brought an incredible amount of new things for users of the platform to check out, Microsoft is already pushing the Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 to developers as we speak.
Don’t be thinking that this is just a standard, run-of-the-mill maintenance update. While it isn’t quite as feature packed as the transition from Windows Phone 8 to 8.1 was, this is still a fairly big update to the operating system. A lot of the features that are included with this update are simple tweaks to things that already exist, such as being able to delete multiple messages and calls, more customization features for alarms, ability to merge numerous text messages into a single one and other things along these lines. One of the most notable features that average users will take note of is the inclusion of Folders. With folders on the Start screen, users will be able to stack multiple applications into one single Live Tile on the Start screen to free up precious space.
Microsoft is also taking a shot at the more business-centric crowd with this update. VPN (virtual private network) will be seeing a big improvement in the update, with support available for L2TP in tow. Also included in Update 1 is the ability for users to share their mobile data connection to other devices via Bluetooth. One of the most notable inclusions with the update is called Accessory Apps. On Microsoft’s website with all of these features listed, they describe Accessory Apps as “Use accessory apps to get notifications from your phone on your smartwatch, active phone cover, fitness tracker, or other kinds of accessories.” As you can see, the listing clearly points out that this feature will be available for smartwatches, and we have yet to see a smartwatch for the Windows Phone platform? Could this be a hint that Microsoft is getting ready to unveil a smartwatch of their very own? Only time will tell.
While this update is aimed more to developers than the average user, any owner of a device with Windows Phone 8.1 can go and snatch up this update by simply registering for an account with Microsoft App Studio. The app will eventually come to users via an OTA update, but Microsoft has said that that won’t be for another couple of months as of right now.
Even though this may not be the biggest update we’ve ever seen, it’s still promising to see Microsoft update their mobile operating system so quickly. With Apple’s iOS 8 and Google’s Android L updates landing later this fall, Microsoft needs to put all they can into Windows Phone 8.1 to ensure that it doesn’t get passed by when the updates for its two major competitors start rolling out to their users. Microsoft just got caught up to speed with Android and iOS with the Windows Phone 8.1 update, so now we’ll have to see if they can continue to keep up the pace they’re currently moving at.