Windows Phone 8.1

Posted by Sam Churchill on

At its Build 2014 conference today, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1. The new Windows Phone 8.1 features a personal digital assistant named Cortana, and a new Action Center which complements Live Tiles by showing new activities and notifications at a glance, reports NextWeb.

Windows Phone 8.1 will ship on devices in “very late April or early May.”

Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri, completely replaces the search function on Windows Phone, which makes sense since she is powered by Bing. It takes you straight to a list of personal suggestions based on how you use your device.

Microsoft’s personal assistant can give you a list of restaurants (powered by Yelp), keep track of your appointments, give you reminders, track the weather, and answer questions about the world in general. It can also be extended with third-party apps, with Skype, Hulu, and Facebook all demoed.

Microsoft is also updating its Windows 8.1 system for tablets, laptops and desktops.

Other new phone features include automatic connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots to save on cellular data.

Microsoft also announced universal Windows apps, which work across PCs, phones, tablets and even the Xbox One. Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo showed off how developers can take advantage of this directly in Visual Studio. “If you love C++, you can use it,” he said. “If you want the breadth of JavaScript and HTML, you can use those for universal Windows apps.”

Microsoft today said it will make Windows free of charge for phones and tablets with screens smaller than nine inches, a move designed to help boost the company’s market share.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 10:16 am .

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