Windows Phone 8.1 Gets Update 1; Brings Localized Cortana To More Regions

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Windows Phone 8.1 is till rolling out in various regions around the world and since Microsoft now dominates upto at least 95% of the Windows Phone device marketshare after acquiring Nokia’s handset business, this update is known as the Cyan update to those receiving it. That does not stop Microsoft from pushing ahead with its plans for the still young mobile OS, Update 1 is already rolling out.

As per a blogpost penned by Windows Phone Program Manager and Microsoft Corporate VP Joe Belfiore, the update, which is currently rolling out to developers alone (or you non-developer who flashed the developer preview), includes the following:

  • Live Folders. You can currently (somehow) create folders on your Windows Phone start screen (possible with Lumia devices running at least WP 8 with the Black update) but the Live Tile functionality becomes muted. The app icons just show from inside the folder unlike when you pin a tile directly on the start screen. This is what Update 1 seeks to change. All Live Tiles of apps you’ve included in the folder would work just as intended, natively.

  • Cortana is now coming to more locations. Live in China, or the English-speaking Commonwealth countries like India, the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia? There’s reason to be excited. Cortana is debuting in China more localized than it has ever been complete with support Mandarin to everything local in China like driving instructions, local celebrities, TV shows and the like. The UK is getting more of the same localized treatment too while the rest of the countries are simply part of an “alpha” testing program before full rollout to users starts taking place in coming months.
  • You can now select multiple messages for various actions like deletion and forwarding.

Update 1 Windows Phone - SMS

  • Xbox Music app. The Xbox Music app was at the centre of most of the not-so-positive comments about WP 8.1 when the developer preview went live three months ago but has since been updated on a regular basis and this update builds on just that. It brings to the app the ability to sync your music collection in the background as well as smoothness when scrolling through your collection in the app and faster loading of the app.

Update 1 Windows Phone - Xbox Music

  • Others. These are quite a number. There are a number of general fixes including those that touch on security and user privacy. For instance with Update 1, you will be able to use a VPN when connected to hotspots for an added layer of protection for whatever data you’re sending or receiving. As far as the cosmetics go, the Windows Phone Store application now has a Live Tile that will now show you the latest on the app store rather than just sit on your start screen like a dead brick J . For business people and enterprises, there’s Apps Corner which will come in handy to organizations that have deployed Windows Phone devices for various operations including specific use cases that require the use of just a few applications and not just everything that is installed on the device.

Update 1 will be available to users in “coming months” while those of you rocking the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 should be getting this by next week.

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