Last week Microsoft accidentally revealed several new features of Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, which is the first major update for the platform. The company has officially announced those features today, along with a release date. Developers (and anyone with the workaround) will be able to snag the update dubbed internally as GDR1 as early as next week.
While the Update 1 doesn’t offer as many features as Windows Phone 8.1 did, there are still plenty of things consumers, developers and OEMs can look forward to. Here’s a rundown on the new features you will be getting with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 release.
Android and iOS operating systems allow users to assort several apps and icons into one folder. Windows Phone users will soon be able to the same with the new update. Users will be able to create folders on the Start screen. However, there is a key differentiation here. The said ‘Live Folder’ will have Live Tile enabled -- which means that the tiles will still push and display the updates to you. You will be able to drag and drop the icons into the Live Folder, and also be able to rename them as per your convenience.
Improvements in Xbox Music
Recently we heard that Xbox Music team is working on bringing a major update to the stock music app for Windows Phone. The update is slated to bring Live Tile support, as well as feature called Kid’s Corner to the app.
Improvements in SMS
With the new update, users will finally be able to select multiple SMS messages at once. This will allow them to merge and forward those texts, as well as delete all at once.
Microsoft is pushing a very interesting feature called Apps Corner with the Update 1. This app will allow business users to select which apps they want to shield by putting them into a special “sandboxed” mode. This will let them share their handset with employees without worrying about their personal data. Retailers and developers will be able to make the best use out of it. “This feature is for businesses so they can allow access to select apps in cases where a full MDM solution isn’t required.”, Microsoft explained in a blogpost.
While the update doesn’t bring too many headline features, there are tons of nifty improvements spread across the operating system. The Store app now embraces Live Tile support, showering all the important updates with flips. Microsoft says that this app will push info every six hours throughout the day.
The update also enables Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support for Snapdragon 800 processor specced handsets. There is a 75% speed improvements in the charge time as well.
As we learned last week, the company is offering support for Smart covers. The update will allow manufacturers to activate apps and lock screen as users flip the cover open and shut. The rumored HTC One W8 Windows Phone could definitely make the best use out of it, as this feature has been available in its Android variant.
Besides there are several updates to the network aspect of the operating system as well. The Internet Explorer will also complement few new changes. In addition, the Update 1 will bring support for 1280 x 800 WXGA, as well as 540 x 960 native for qHD displays. All the screen sizes north of 6-inch up to 7-inch will also bring support for 1280 x 768 WXGA screen resolution. This will be a welcome and quite handy change for OEMs, who might be able to utilize their existing supply stock.
The update also brings with Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant service to several new regions with localized data and faces. Stay tuned for more info.