Windows 8.1 announcements at Build 2014

Today Microsoft officially announced upcoming features for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 at the Build developer conference in San Francisco.

The Windows Phone 8.1 update introduces the Action Center, a slide-down panel for notifications and phone activity similar to what’s available for iOS and Android. The update brings customizable notification settings for developers, including app-specific triggers for vibration and sound.

Joe Belfiore introduces Windows Phone 8.1.

Another big update is the introduction of Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant powered by the Bing search engine. Though the keynote demo had some hiccups, Cortana’s voice recognition shows a lot of progress and a comparable experience to that of Apple’s Siri.

The service updates to Windows 8.1 have been expected since the launch of Windows 8. The new features improve the Start Screen and power tweaks that improve the mouse and keyboard experience. Apps that were distinctly run in the Modern UI now are able to reside in the taskbar like traditional Win32 programs, complete with title bars and the familiar, three-box minimize/maximize/close combo on the upper right corner.

The Windows 8.1 update is available to developers now and will roll out to the public starting April 8. The Windows Phone 8.1 update will be released in the upcoming months, though a specific… [Read more]

    







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