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Home windows Telephone eight.1 Evaluate: Strong, Compelling Stuff From Microsoft

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Home windows Telephone eight.1 Evaluate: Strong, Compelling Stuff From Microsoft

Reviews Michael Grothaus 12:10, 22 Apr 2014

Is Microsoft's Home windows Telephone eight.1 replace sufficient to propel the corporate out of third place in 2014/15?

Execs: 
Cortana is a piece in progress, however works higher than Siri did when it initially got here out. Motion Middle places all of the related instructions and notifications on the consumer’s fingertips. The Phrase Movement keyboard is welcome, although takes some getting used to.
Cons: 
Cortana is US-just for now. Motion Middle might use some visible flare.
Verdict: 
Strong, compelling stuff from Microsoft. We can't wait to see this platform operating on subsequent-gen hardware from Nokia and – if the rumours are true – Sony in late-2014, early 2015

Microsoft launched the developer preview of Home windows Telephone eight.1 to devs earlier this month and if one factor is obvious it exhibits that with this newest OS Microsoft is now able to play ball towards iOS and Android

To be clear, Home windows Telephone eight.1 isn’t a complete revamp of Home windows Telephone eight.zero, like iOS 6 to iOS 7 was. As an alternative, Home windows Telephone eight.1 is an incremental enchancment to Home windows Telephone with some very good and nicely thought out modifications that brings Home windows Telephone extra according to different trendy cellular platforms. 

Whereas Windows Phone 8.1 gained’t ship to the general public till later this yr, we’ve gone forward and finished a assessment of the beta. Retaining in thoughts all betas have bugs (although Home windows Telephone eight.1 appears to have only a few) what we actually needed to focus on have been the good new options. So right here they're. 

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Cortana

 

Definitely the most important new function of Home windows Telephone eight.1 is Cortana, Microsoft’s private digital assistant designed to tackle Google Now and Siri. Cortana is known as after the AI assemble from the Halo online game collection. In its present guise Cortana doesn’t have the minimal visible attraction of Apple's Siri in iOS 7, or all of the options of Google Now; however it’s a terrific begin for Home windows Telephone’s digital assistant, all the identical. 

Cortana can presently do a lot of the issues any digital assistant must be able to: putting telephone calls, sending textual content messages, including calendar appointments, setting reminders and alarms, creating notes, and performing searches.

One intelligent factor Microsoft constructed into Cortana is its “Pocket book” function. That is the private digital assistant’s pocket book that accommodates notes about you: what you want, who’s in your loved ones, and your favourite locations to eat. Cortana makes use of this info to provide you extra correct outcomes. However although it’s Cortana’s pocket book, you’re the one who can curate it. So when you don’t need Cortana understanding one thing about you, you'll be able to merely delete that info from the Pocket book.

One disadvantage of Cortana is its US-just for now, although we anticipate that to vary when Home windows Telephone eight.1 is launched to the general public this yr. Need it now? Take a look at our information on the best way to install Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana forward of the replace’s scheduled late-2014 rollout.

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Motion Middle

One other new function in Home windows Telephone eight.1 is Motion Middle. That is similar to iOS 7’s Management Middle mixed with its Notification Middle. The awkwardly named Motion Middle permits you fast entry to some most regularly used settings comparable to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Rotation Lock, and Airplane mode. You entry Motion Middle by swiping down from the highest of any display. Along with fast entry to settings, the Motion Middle additionally exhibits notifications similar to emails acquired, texts, and different push notifications.

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Web Explorer eleven

Home windows Telephone eight.1 additionally sees a brand new model of Web Explorer, model eleven. The large new options to Microsoft’s newest cellular net browser are all stolen from the desktop model – and this can be a excellent factor. Customers can now entry open tabs on different Home windows units, comparable to desktops and tablets, proper on their Home windows Telephone.

However better of all are the underneath the hood enhancements that you simply’ll reap the benefits of each day, despite the fact that you possibly can’t inform they’re there. These embrace help for open net requirements like WebGL and HTML5 movies. 

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Phrase Stream Keyboard 

One other superior new function of Home windows Telephone eight.1 is the Phrase Circulate keyboard. Phrase Stream is the equal of the favored Swype keyboard on Android. It permits customers to go away their fingers on the display and simply drag the tip of their digit from one letter to the subsequent. Home windows Telephone’s Phrase Movement keyboard can guess the phrase you're typing by the brief pause and alter in path as you drag your finger from one letter on the keyboard to the subsequent. 

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Skinnable Reside Tiles

The Begin display has acquired a visible makeover in Home windows Telephone eight.1. There’s a brand new setting beneath Themes, which lets you use a photograph because the background for the Reside Tiles that stay on the beginning display. This can be a intelligent implementation of background imagery, because it doesn’t add the picture behind the Reside Tiles, as an alternative making it a part of the Stay Tiles themselves. The outcomes, as you'll be able to see above, are very fairly.

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Improved Multitasking 

Microsoft has additionally beefed up the multitasking operations in Home windows Telephone eight.1. As earlier than customers can entry the multitasking display by urgent and holding the bodily again button on their telephone. Now, nevertheless, customers can merely drag an app down on the multitasking display to shut it. It’s a small function, however a pleasant one. 

Home windows Telephone eight.1: New Apps 

The Home windows Telephone eight.1 replace doesn’t solely add new system-vast options. Microsoft has correctly chosen to construct in some extraordinarily helpful new apps to the OS. All these new apps could be accessed from the App Listing.

Battery Saver is an app that allows you to shortly see which of your at present operating apps are utilizing probably the most of your battery. When you see one is utilizing up rather a lot you'll be able to give up it to cease the drain. Battery Saver additionally enables you to shortly see how a lot present battery life you've gotten left, the estimated period of time, and the time because the final cost. You additionally get the choice to preserve battery energy when it begins to run low. 

Storage Sense is a useful little app which helps you to transfer information, corresponding to pictures and movies, between your telephone’s inner reminiscence and a microSD card (in case your telephone helps such a hardware function). It additionally strikes a number of the previous storage settings, resembling the power to delete information, from the previous Settings app to this new app, making them simpler to seek out.

Wi-Fi Sense is discovered within the Wi-Fi system settings within the Settings app. The brand new function lets you set your telephone to mechanically be a part of Wi-Fi hotspots each time one turns into out there. This lets you preserve your beneficial 3G or 4G knowledge allowances. It additionally permits Home windows Telephone customers to share their wi-fi router usernames and passwords with different Home windows Telephone eight.1 units.

All these three new apps aren’t main promoting factors, however they do make the OS really feel extra refined and consumer pleasant.

Home windows Telephone eight.1: Verdict 

Home windows Telephone eight.1 doesn’t supply any really distinctive options we haven’t seen earlier than. No, what Microsoft’s new platform does is significantly bump up what you are able to do with the Home windows Telephone platform, bringing the OS properly and really again in keeping with Android and iOS and telling us Microsoft goals of larger issues than the quantity three spot.

Although Home windows Telephone eight.1 is simply a beta Microsoft has completed a stellar job with its newest OS. It could actually nonetheless use some refinement, however this replace exhibits Microsoft and Home windows Telephone shouldn’t be thought-about something however a serious contender within the cellular area. 

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