Microsoft Announces Official Windows Phone 8.1 Launch Date
Microsoft will release the upcoming highly anticipated major update to its mobile operating system Windows Phone 8.1 on June 24 according to a listing on the Windows Phone support site.
The Product Lifecycle listing on Microsoft’s site indicates that the lifecycle for Windows Phone 8.1 will begin on June 24, 2014 and will end on July, 11, 2017. The listing further noted that the company “will make updates available for the Operating System, including security updates, for a minimum of 36 months after the lifecycle start date.” It also noted, “These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it.”
It should be noted though that update release dates may vary depending on the phone manufacturer or mobile operator as well as “country, region, and hardware capabilities” due to manufacturers and operators having to verify each software update which may take weeks or even months.
Windows Phone 8.1 brings in a slew of new features and updates to Microsoft’s mobile operating system including and most notably Cortana which is Microsoft’s rival to Apple’s Siri but with a bit of Google Now mixed in. Cortana will help users add items to calendars, set alarms, find nearby restaurants, perform searches, and play back music. Cortana also has the ability to learn from the user’s search and activity history to provide contextual data and information.
Windows Phone 8.1 will also introduce the new Action Center which collates the user’s phone notifications into a hub where users can also toggle a few system features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooh, Airplane Mode, and Internet Sharing. The new update also adds a number of customization features including the more interactivity and customizability to both the lock screen and the Start Screen.
Windows Phone 8.1 is scheduled to come to most Nokia Lumia smartphones sometime during or after the June 24 but Microsoft’s latest line of Lumia smartphones will come with Windows Phone 8.1 pre-installed. These new devices include the Nokia Lumia 630, the Lumia 635, and the Lumia 930. Additionally, Windows 8.1 has been available for download since April but as a developer preview update.