An exciting new update is coming for Windows Phone. The update narrows the feature gap, but more importantly can it narrow the app gap?
Windows Phone does have a lot on its own to stand for, especially if you already invested in the Windows ecosystem. But there have been features such as a notification center, a competitor to Siri, or even syncing of the browser that have stopped some users from switching. Already Windows Phone excels with features like Live Tiles, Data Sense, Nokia Here Maps, Office, Xbox Live and the best cameras in any ecosystem. Windows Phone 8.1 will add WiFi Sense, Battery Sense, Storage Sense, and better personalization. Universal apps will let developers code once for both Windows and Windows Phone. Let looks at some key features:
Microsoft brings their Siri competitor. Ironically both are powered by Bing, Microsoft's search engine. Yes, it is the popular character and voice from Halo. Launching first only as a US Beta, Cortana is the most personal assistant. Unlike other assistants you control thru a notebook what you want Cortana to know. Microsoft talked to real personal assistants to help develop Cortana, and just like Siri she will have a bit of personality. Unlike Siri, she does know how to sing!
Internet Explorer 11
Internet Explorer 11 brings a whole host of new features. My favourite will be the sync feature already found on Windows 8.1. You can sync your tabs so your can resume browsing on your pc, tablet, or smartphone. Under the hood expect even more HTML5 goodness!
Every jealous of the swype keyboard on Android? Not any longer, the new Word Flow actually beats swype and its verified by Guinness World Records. Let's not even mention Apple!
While Windows Phone always exceled with Live Tiles for notification, this didn't appease all users. They wanted a list of notifications and they wanted a quick way to turn on and off Bluetooth and WiFi. Action Center brings all that by just swiping down on your screen.
New smartphone buyers are buying Windows Phone. Windows Phone has overtaken iPhone in several countries. The problem is one of conversion, and now the features are there. But for existing Android and iPhone users that can look at the pluses, the big negative is still the Apps. And while there are over 250,000 apps for Windows Phone and most mainstream ones, it is the new and local apps such as your credit union that are the holdout. So can Windows Phone 8.1 create the momentum? Only time will tell. but with universal apps and feature parity its definitely a step in the right direction. Windows Phone 8.1 will be a free update to all Windows Phone 8 users.