8.1 days till WinodwsPhone8.1: What you need to know


It's been a long time coming, but it's almost here.
In 8.1 days, Microsoft and Windows Phone will unveil the all new Windows Phone 8.1.
This update brings with it so many features, its a new OS on its own.

Microsoft released the SDK a month back to developers. Thus, giving us a sneak peek of what's to come, i say sneak peek cos the features revealed in the SDK are just a peak of the iceberg.

Since the launch of Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) more than 2 yrs ago, WinPhone Users have asked for improvements and better features to help Windows Phone compete with its Android and iOS counterparts.
You can see WinPhone Users requests HERE
As you can see, most of the features requested will be coming to WP8.1

The highlight of the Windows Phone update will undoubtedly be the Cortana personal digital assistant (it's like SIRI, but better, so I hear).
Also the Action Center (aka notifiACTION center), just like on Android devices, you swipe down the display to see your notifications.

But there are so much more to come, here is a list (courtesy: WPCENTRAL) of what's been unearthed either from the SDK or from unofficial sources:

Action Center (hands on video)

  • Notification center – Alerts, non-Toast notifications, update history, more
  • Quick-access to customized actions, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Plane mode, etc.

Apps + Store

  • Apps can capture audio/video from themselves; be limited for copyright concerns
  • App and Game data stored on SD cards
  • Apps on SD Cards are only allowed from ONE originating phone. If it detects that apps from another phone are installed on the SD Card, then it will ask to delete those first
  • App Suggestions by location
  • Backup of App + Game data to OneDrive (if developer enabled)
  • Facebook app comes with OS, updates independently, hooks into OS
  • Filter through installed apps by usage/install date
  • Manual Update checks
  • Option to update store apps automatically
  • Option to update store apps when only on Wi-Fi
  • Single sign-in for apps (like on Windows 8) with Microsoft Account; sign in will persist across devices + apps with permissions prompt

Calendar

  • Google calendar support, with multiple calendars
  • Weather in calendar
  • Week view in calendar

Camera

Bing

  • Bing smart search (similar search system as Windows 8.1)
  • Podcast app powered by Bing, full featured

Browser

  • Internet Explorer 11
  • IE 11 to save and remember your password for websites
  • JavaScript and HTML for app development
  • Upload files through Internet Explorer 11
  • Tabs now show up individually in multi-task window
  • WebGL and Normal mapping support
  • YouTube Player including HTML5 video support

Developer

  • Background tasks: Bluetooth signal strength, Chat message notification, Device connection change, Device use trigger, Gatt characteristic notification, Location, Push notification, Rfcomm connection, System event, Timer
  • XAP replaced by APPX
  • ​​Audio/video transcoding that’s hardware accelerated
  • New dev tools including: SemanticZoom, DatePicker, TimePicker
  • Actionable notifications for apps
  • Silent/ghost notifications for apps

Email

  • Encrypted and signed e-mail support
  • New Email sync options with accordance to usage patterns (i.e. If you get a lot of mail on particular days and if you don’t check mail every day).
  • Option to always download emails and pictures within them

Enterprise and Office

  • Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked
  • Password protected Office document support
  • Office Lens support for scanning documents with camera, import into Office with OCR
  • Rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive
  • VPN support built in
  • S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
  • Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware 
  • Auto-triggered VPN 
  • Certificate management to enroll, update and revoke certificates for user authentication 
  • Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying the installing of certain apps. 
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS

General User Experience changes

  • Start screen backgrounds
  • Back button no longer closes apps, instead it suspends them
  • Double-Tap to unlock your phone (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer)
  • Double Tap to Power Off
  • Favorite photos by tapping a heart icon
  • File picker
  • Kid's Corner - Password won't be displayed (bug fix)
  • Live Tiles – mark as red by swiping from the left over the Tile
  • Live Tiles – Three column support (maybe)
  • Navigation bar for phones without physical keys on the front
  • Notification if charger isn’t of adequate power
  • Quiet Hours - Disable notifications during pre-selected timeframe
  • Screenshot button combination is now Power + Volume Up
  • Search button will be the new way to open Speech (aka ‘Cortana’)
  • Separate volume controls for ringtones/notifications and music/media
  • Set default Voice Navigation app for the OS
  • Swipe down to close apps in multitasking view
  • Voice Narrator for Accessibility

Keyboard

  • General keyboard enhancements, show emoji when typing
  • Swipe keyboard option - “Write, when I swipe through letters”.

Media

  • Audio/video transcoding, Hardware accelerated
  • Media editing:  audio and video; Audio effects, video effects; Slow motion video
  • Xbox Music and Xbox Video as standalone apps instead of the Music + Video Hub (allowing more updates to be pushed)

Messaging

  • Change default SMS app. You can also change which SMS app will show notifications.
  • Mute Thread - Optionally silence text threads, no longer receive notifications or Live Tile updates

Phone + Contacts

  • Contact list sorting of those with phone numbers
  • Call duration (press and hold reveals a "details" menu in call history)
  • In-call speech commands. You’ll be able to say “Call XXXXXX”.
  • Inner Circle of contacts. Up to 40 contacts can be in the inner circle.
  • Operators can also install certain applications once a SIM card is detected

Sense

  • Battery Power Sense – App to monitor which apps draw the most power
  • Battery Saver (under Battery Sense) will have an app exclusion list
  • Data Sense – Operators can now control Data Sense limits remotely
  • Wi-Fi Sense – Sharing secured WI-Fi Networks with contacts if they have Wi-Fi Sense. They don’t get to see the shared password though
  • Wi-Fi can auto re-enable after a set duration of time
  • Wi-Fi Direct

System

  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Chkdsk for SD cards to ensure card health
  • Geofence monitoring support. Geofence is a boundary around a place of interest to you. Location services can monitor geofences to tell your apps when you’re entering and leaving them. This would be really good for IFTTT
  • Miracast, PlayTo, mirror and project via wireless display or USB-out
  • Mouse and keyboard support (HID)
  • Stereoscopic 3D support
  • The phone will have to update to the latest version before you can restore it to factory settings
  • Trusted app list for NFC that will remove the need for asking whether you want to open a particular app
  • Virtual SmartCard support
  • Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
  • Windows Phone 8.1 apps won't run on 8.0 devices until they upgrade

If you read through the entire list (thanks to WPCentral), then your reaction should be WOW! that's a lot.
So the question is, did your most desired feature make it to the list? Mine did: Swype keyboard. If not, what's the one feature you want to see get supported on the WP OS?



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