Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Microsoft reveals Windows Phone 8.1's first update, with welcome new features

Mark Hachman | July 31, 2014
Windows Phone 8.1 Update, formerly known as Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, adds folders to the Start screen, the ability to sandbox apps, and other features for consumers and businesses alike.

Some reportsalso say that Microsoft's new Windows Phone update will support gargantuan seven-inch displays, with screen sizes up to 960-by-540. Belfiore didn't specifically confirm this in his blog post, however, or the reports that the update would support interactive screen covers and cases.

Likewise, Microsoft highlighted one feature designed specifically for businesses: Apps Corner, a step halfway toward encrypting your entire phone at the behest of your employer's IT department. Apps Corner provides a special sandboxed repository where you can store apps. Businesses can also use Apps Corner to boot immediately to one specific app, turning a Windows Phone into a specialized device for tasks like inventory management.

Windows Phone users may also find features like the ability to mass delete and forward SMS messages useful. (In the Windows Phone mail application, a "checkbox" icon allows you to quickly select multiple messages for forwarding and deletion.) And a Windows Store icon will cycle through the latest apps available in the Windows Store, on a six-hour rotating basis.

...And just plain fun
Finally, Microsoft added an update to the Xbox Music app, just for fun, a feature that some have hoped for over the past few months. 

"From background sync of your collection, to swipe to advance, the product has been continually adding features in every two weeks for the past few months," Belfiore wrote. "And in the coming month, there will be a 'quickplay' of recent playback activities, and support for Kids Corner. Some of these features/improvements are already there in the latest Xbox Music app with the Windows Phone 8.1 release, but some (Live Tile in particular) are specific to the Windows Phone 8.1 Update."

Microsoft revealed the update at a developer conference in Beijing.

While Windows Phone 8.1 Update may not be an update that sends consumers rushing to the stores, it does look like it will add some useful features. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks when we're able to try it for ourselves.


Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.