Thursday, April 3, 2014

New features of Windows Phone 8.1

2nd April 2014, during the //BUILD 2014 conference Microsoft officially showcased the set of new features which will be coming as part of Windows Phone 8.1. In my this post, I am touching those features.

1) Cortana - new personal assistant: 
Cortana is voice-based virtual assistant provided by Microsoft. It is similar to Apple’s ‘Siri’ and is powered by Bing. It can do everything that one would expect from any virtual assistant. Cortana offers advanced settings and preferences with more than the default voice commands. One can talk with her and can also give her instructions to perform any operations behalf on you. Cortana is fully based on your search queries, she learns your interests, she learns about the most important people in your life. For example, you can instruct her “Cortana, call Shweta on Skype” and it will open Skype to call the person. Isn’t it interesting ?
You can also use Cortana to set reminders by saying “Cortana, remind me to go to parlor when I am in MG Road” and she will remind you whenever you are in MG Road.

2) Sensing capability:
  • Battery Power Sense – App will monitor which all apps are drawing more power and will turn them OFF when not in use
  • Data Sense – Detailed tracking of data can be done remotely based on time(a month, a week, etc)
  • Wi-Fi Sense – Wi-Fi can be auto enabled after certain duration of time. Another interesting thing is, Wi-Fi Sense app will automatically connect to nearby available free Wi-Fi hotspot and will accept the terms of use automatically for us.

3) Action Center for notifications:
Action center will show notifications related to calls, messages, emails, etc. It will also provide quick settings to Flight Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Rotation Lock options. Interesting thing is these quick access options are customizable.

4) Internet Explorer 11:
IE11 will be able to save and remember the passwords for websites, allows uploading of files, YouTube player including HTML5 video support and many more…

5) Enhanced Calendar:
It will allow you to synchronized Google calendar in your WP, supports week view and also supports multiple calendars which will allow you to view all the invites in one place.

6) Enhanced Email feature:
In //BUILD 2014 conference, Nick showcases on how emails can be encrypted and signed before sending to anyone. This enhancement, also allows user to download images attached or associated with email.

7) VPN Support:
WP 8.1 has in-built VPN support with ability to auto-trigger VPN connectivity. One of the very useful part of this enhancement is, it allows to password protect office documents and also allows access to corporate resources which are behind the firewall. Isn’t it cool?

8) Additional features to Camera:
Photography experience is also changed by adding few features like quick access to clicked images and tweaking tools. One good addition is burst mode features for clicking continuous images

9) More minor changes:
  • New lock screen with multiple themes
  • Improvements in Music, video apps
  • Backup of app + game data to OneDrive
  • App filtration based on install date and usage
  • Option to update store apps automatically
  • Smart search
  • Silent as well as actionable notification for apps
  • Rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive
  • Double tap to Unlock and Power off
  • Separate volume controls ringtones and music
  • Back button is modified to suspend app, instead of closing the app
  • Support for in-call speech commands
  • Chkdsk for testing SD cards health
  • Miracast support

Hope all of you will enjoy these new features.

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