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Microsoft has officially announced an update to its already popular Windows Phone 8 operating system, Windows Phone 8.1, at the Build event in San Francisco. This update offers a variety of upgrades including the voice-activated Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Google Now and Apple's Siri. The update also includes a variety of other enhancements, such as an updated web browser, a new camera app, revised notification center, swipe keyboard, and much more.
Arguably, the most enticing feature found in Windows Phone 8.1 OS is Cortana. Not a great deal is known about its true functionality just yet, but what we do know is that Cortana is a voice assistant similar to Siri, with the ability to show weather conditions based upon your current location, provide news headlines, and remind you of dates or meetings.
Internet Explorer 11
Windows Phone 8.1 also features an upgraded web browser: Internet Explorer 11. This new version brings a variety of web-browsing enhancements to your mobile device. You can now browse the Web privately with InPrivate browsing. This feature will allow you to avoid having your browsing history saved to the device. You can sync browsing tabs across a variety of Internet Explorer devices, allowing you to continue browsing on the go.
"Arguably, the most enticing feature found in Windows Phone 8.1 OS is Cortana."
The camera app in Windows Phone 8.1 has also undergone a face lift, as it now offers quick access to camera settings on the left side of the screen, and camera, burst mode, and video buttons along the right side. These button settings can also be reconfigured to suit the needs of aspiring photographers. You also have the ability to tap the screen to readjust the focus on the exactly what it is you are attempting to photograph.
As with both iOS and Android, the new Windows Phone 8.1 comes equipped with an intuitive notification center, giving you access to your notifications such as calls, text messages, and more. Notification center also provides quick access to settings, along with the ability to toggle on and off a variety of connection options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, and others. You can also personalize the notification center in order to receive specific alerts from individual applications.
Some features within a mobile operating system often go unnoticed. However, that isn't the case with the new Swipe keyboard. While it may not seem like a big deal, the keyboard is something you use on a daily basis. With Swipe, you can simply glide your finger across the keyboard, stopping at each letter you want to type. The keyboard does the rest as it predicts what you want to type, while also providing additional word suggestions along the top of the keyboard. You can also teach the keyboard specific words that it may not already recognize.
Windows Phone 8.1 offers a variety of new features to enhance the way you interact with your phone. You can now talk to your phone using Cortana, browse the Web using Internet Explorer 11, take enhanced photos using the new camera app, receive all of your notifications through the new notification center, and type faster using Swipe. These are just a few of the many features that you will see when Windows Phone 8.1 is released in the coming weeks.