Windows Phone 8.1 was first unveiled a little over two months ago at Microsoft’s Build 2014 conference. Then just two weeks later, Microsoft released the first Developer Preview build for users to install on their own WP8 devices. As a quick refresher, Windows Phone 8.1 offers many key improvements over WP8 such as the Cortana voice assistant, Action Center, and much greater home screen personalization.
Since the initial release of WP8.1 Developer Preview, Microsoft has rolled out two minor updates–the first in the middle of May, and the second approximately one week ago. Both of these were essentially bugfix releases, which improved battery performance, among other things. Now, a new build is set to roll out to devices running Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. The latest update comes in at build 12397, and as stated by Microsoft, it “enables some newly commercialized devices and tweaks a couple of new APIs.”
Are you a Windows Phone 8 user? If so, have you updated your device to the WP8.1 developer preview? Leave us your thoughts in the comment box below.
Windows Phone 8.1 hasn’t yet seen its official release, but many of us have already gotten a good taste of what this update will bring thanks to the WP8.1 Developer Preview. This update, which was originally announced at last month’s Build 2014 conference, brings quite a bit of added functionality such as Cortana Voice Assistant, a new Action Center notification handler, and improved device personalization options.
Despite all of WP8.1’s improvements, it still misses some key functionality that many power users would enjoy–most notably, a robust, built-in file manager. Yes, there’s no shortage of aftermarket file management apps for WP8/8.1, but having a good first party option is never a bad thing.
Now, Microsoft hopes to rectify this with the release of the new Windows Phone 8.1-exclusive app Files. Files is a free file manager app that is able to access files stored on both your WP8.1 phone’s internal storage and SD card. You are able to browse, search, launch, and share files. You’re also able to create folders and move, rename, copy, or delete files–basically, everything you’d expect from a traditional file manager. Finally, Windows 8/8.1 users will immediately feel at home, as the interface mirrors Microsoft’s file selection UI on the desktop, and given Microsoft’s ability to produce cohesive, high quality interface designs, that’s a good thing.
If you’re a WP8.1 user and you wish to give Files a try, head over to its listing in the Windows Phone App Store. Just be aware that you need to be running the WP8.1 Developer Preview in order to play–but you’re already running it anyway.
April 23, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back in October of last year, Microsoft released its official Remote Desktop client for Android and iOS. Curiously absent was a client for its own mobile platform, Windows Phone. Today, this changes, as Microsoft has just released an open preview of its remote desktop client for Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s first party Remote Desktop client works much in the same way as the existing Android and iOS clients. The setup interface is Metro UI-friendly, just as one would expect, but the supported features are nearly identical. This includes the same support for RemoteFX, which leverages the power of the client device’s GPU to perform local rendering for a smoother overall experience, as well as a full multi-touch experience on supported Windows 8 host computers. The new Windows Phone Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client also supports Network Level Authentication for greater security when connecting to a host computer running Windows Vista and higher, as well as a streamlined Command Center to access all of your remote connections.
There’s only one major “downside” with today’s release, and it’s that you must be running Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview, which was released just one week ago. But since users are able to update to the preview build free of charge, this is hardly a major issue.
It’s strange to see Windows Phone take a bit of a back seat to Android and iOS with regards to Microsoft’s own first party apps. That said, this is better late than never. If you’re running WP8.1 developer preview and you wish to try out Microsoft’s first party RDP solution, head over to the source link below and give it a shot. Then, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Source: Microsoft Windows Phone Store]
April 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
About two weeks ago at the BUILD conference in San Francisco, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1. Bringing the highly anticipated Cortana digital assistant, “Action Center” notifications, and much more home screen personalization, Windows Phone 8.1 is an upgrade far more significant than its “.1″ may suggest. Now, registered Windows Phone developers currently running WP8 on their devices can upgrade to the WP8.1 Developer Preview.
There are a few requirements and caveats with this developer preview. To install the upgrade on your WP8 device, you need to either have a Windows Phone Dev Center account, an active App Studio account, or be on a developer unlocked device. Your device also needs to be running firmware version 8.0.10322.71 or later in order to update via the developer preview. Finally, you cannot revert back to your previous WP8 build once you’ve upgraded to the WP8.1 developer preview.
To get started for free, you must register for Windows Phone App Studio and install the Preview for Developers app in the Windows Phone store. Then, sign in with your App Studio account name and enable the developer preview. Finally, check for updates as normal and install the WP8.1 preview.
You can learn more about the developer preview on Microsoft’s Dev Center website. Have you updated your WP8 device to the WP8.1 Developer Preview? How do you like Cortana and the rest of the WP8.1 features? Let us know in the comments below!
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
April 2, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Today in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, Microsoft kicked off its annual Build developers conference. Up until now, many had been questioning Microsoft’s continued relevance in this new mobile-friendly age. However, today’s keynote clearly shows that Microsoft doesn’t intend on letting Google and Apple have all the fun.
Does Windows have what it takes to be your platform of choice in 2014? Read on to find out more about what Microsoft has in store for Windows and Windows Phone. READ ON »
March 4, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Just yesterday, we took a look at a leaked screenshot showing the UI for Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Siri slated for release on Windows 8.1: Cortana. Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, this video must be worth at least a thousand words times 30 frames per second times 2 minutes and 21 seconds. Continue past the break to take a closer look at Cortana. READ ON »
March 3, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that when it comes to digital assistants, Windows Phone is sorely lacking in comparison to Google Now and Apple’s Siri—but let’s not be too quick to count Microsoft out of that arena permanently. Windows 8.1 code name Blue is rumored to hit manufacturers this month and users in April, and with it we’ll see Microsoft’s attempts at taking on the already mature digital assistant market.
So far, we don’t know much about Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. In fact, it’s not even known whether this code name will be preserved in the final shipping version. But thanks to a leaked screenshot posted on the Verge earlier today, we can catch a glimpse of a few of the upcoming tool’s capabilities.
For starters, Cortana seems to incorporate some elements of Siri by allowing users to define what they’d like to be called. And similar to Google Now, Cortana can scan your emails to track flights and other relevant information. This information will presumably be used as part of “Cortana suggestions,” which we can assume will display context-relevant information—highly ironic given Microsoft’s vitriolic Scroogled campaign.
Is Microsoft far too late to the game with Cortana, or will this be enough to push those on the fence into WP territory? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
February 24, 2014 By: Samantha
If you have been following the Windows Phone headlines the past couple of weeks, you’ve definitely heard of the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK leak. Although neither the rumored digital assistant Cortana nor the OS’s new Action Center are to be seen in the leaked build, there are still quite a few new additions and tweaks to the mobile platform. These include finally being able to install apps onto the SD card with Storage Sense, further UI customization options, better multitasking, and updates of core apps such as Internet Explorer, among others.
If you’re willing to try the leaked WP 8.1 build on your PC but are a bit lost as to just exactly how to go about doing that, you should check out XDA Forum Member myst02’s guide on installing the leaked SDK on your PC. The process is relatively simple, but will take up about an hour of your time, granted that you’ve already downloaded the SDK and installed Visual Studio 2013 Express on your PC. What follows is straightforward, involving extracting the ISO, running the installer, and typing in a couple lines into CMD. You can also create a handy shortcut on your desktop for the next time you want to run WP 8.1 without going through the initial process.
So if you’re interested in taking a closer look at what could be the next iteration of Windows Phone, head over to the original thread to get started.
December 20, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat is now available for the Moto G and the source code has been released for the Moto X running KitKat. That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that Windows Phone 8.1 will have “Cortana” Voice Assistant and the latest Google Glass update brings wink pics and more. That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for App Ops, Jordan reviewed the Oppo N1, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Redirect. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
December 16, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just one week ago, we talked about how Microsoft was contemplating axing licensing fees on its Windows Phone and Windows RT OSes in order to help spur adoption and exposure to Microsoft services and advertising. As it turns out, that’s not the only big shakeup Microsoft has in mind with regards to its mobile OSes. While no details have yet been officially released, sources have revealed to The Verge that the next version of the OS will pack some major (and much needed) additions.
The most long overdue feature addition that is likely to appear in Windows Phone 8.1″Blue” is a notification center. Unlike Android and iOS, Windows Phone currently has no centralized place for notifications to be read, acted on, and dismissed. But in internal Windows Phone 8.1 betas, a new notification system is present. This notification system is two part: a short swipe from the top exposes quick device settings, whereas a longer swipe from the top displays your full notification history.
In addition to the notification center, WP8.1 is also rumored to feature the “Cortana” digital assistant. Allegedly, this has already been in testing for months, and it is set to replace the current system-wide Bing search. It will also likely feature location-aware automatic reminder capabilities such as what’s already present in Google Now.
Finally a few other small tweaks are set to appear in WP 8.1 such as on-screen navigation buttons (seen in the mockup image courtesy of Evleaks and TheVerge), smart search results similar to what is already present in Windows 8.1, VPN support, independent volume controls for media playback and ringtone volume, and the separation of Xbox Music and Xbox Video. The company is also reportedly planning on allowing social media apps to interface with its People hub to an even greater degree.
Microsoft certainly has some rather large tweaks in store for Windows Phone. Regardless of what happens with the licensing fees, Windows Phone looks like it is about to catch its second wind. Do all these new tweaks make the prospect of owning a Windows Phone more appealing to you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!