Microsoft has officially announced and detailed all the new features coming to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.
One of the bigger announcements that coincide with Update 1 is the news that Microsoft is expanding Cortana support to multiple countries including China and the UK as well as Canada, India and Australia. While China and UK will be getting Cortana as a “beta” the other three aforementioned countries will be getting support for Microsoft’s virtual digital assistant as an “alpha”.
Live Folders support is also coming to Windows Phone 8.1 with Update 1. With Live Folders, users will be able to organize their apps into folders on their Start screen that will still show the app Live Tiles so users won’t miss tile updates.
Microsoft is also updating Xbox Music for better performance and is bringing in new features such as background sync, swipe to advance, quickplay, and a Kids Corner. Microsoft is still developing more updates for Xbox Music and is planning to implement them before Update 1 rolls out to consumer devices.
One of the minor changes that are coming with the update is the new Store Live Tile which will dynamically stream store updates through the Tile. Another minor change is the ability to select multiple SMS messages for deletion or forwarding.
A new Apps Corner is also coming to Windows Phone 8.1 which allows users to hide apps behind a special “sandboxed” mode. The Apps corner also lets users assign an app for the device to boot straight into. Lastly, the Apps Corner allows the device to be used for retail demos.
Microsoft is also bringing enhancements to privacy and security which include the ability send and receive data through a VPN whilst connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot for extra protection and the ability to create a VPN for your home Wi-Fi to provide anonymity.
Those who are already on the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers program will receive the update next week while the official consumer update roll out will happen in the next few months.