Right on schedule, Microsoft today is rolling out Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (GDR1) as a Developers Preview, and it’s a free update that anyone registered, using the Microsoft’s App Studio program, can download on compatible handsets.
Technically Microsoft today is releasing two updates: the first release is version 12400.899, and this is the update the company halted due to issues with BitLocker, but now things seem to go back to normal. The second update, is version 14147.180 and this is the update that brings a few new features to Windows Phone handsets such as: Live Folders, which is a feature that basically let users drag a tile to another place to create a new group of folders. (And don’t worry, notifications and live updates will still work within the folder.)
China and UK customers will also be happy to hear that Cortana is coming to them with this update. Though Canada, Australia, and India can also start using the digital assistant in alpha version.
Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone 8.1 is also getting a significant update to improve the browsing experience. For a complete set of changes for Microsoft’s web browser on mobile follow this link to the company’s site.
Another new feature coming to phones is “Apps Corner”, and it will allow users to run apps in sandbox mode. Basically this won’t be a user’s oriented feature, instead is more for businesses and retailers that use Windows Phone handsets for demo purposes.
Among other changes, the tech giant is including the ability to select multiple SMS messages for deletion or forwarding, new customizable snooze settings for alarms, new improved Xbox Music Live Tile, and the Store app is getting an improved tile that showcases new interesting apps users can enjoy in their phones.
Although, Windows Phone 8.1 already comes with a VPN support for business, in GDR1, or Update 1, the feature now allows to set up a VPN on a public Wi-Fi.
With the new update Bluetooth allows push notifications to smartwatches too.
Finally, there is also the addition of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology that makes battery changing a much faster experience on compatible devices such as Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930. Support for Voice over LTE (VoLTE), 1280 x 800 screen resolution, 7-inch devices, and smart covers. (More details about the update can be found at this Microsoft web page.)
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 Developer Preview is available immediately and anyone registered in the App Studio can download it by simply checking for new update. For everyone else, the tech giant will roll out the update in the coming month — specific date is yet to be announced.