Feature Article

April 14, 2014

Windows Phone 8.1 Shows Significant Promise Over Predecessor

When the Windows Phone 8 first came out, consumers found the release to be lackluster, and hardly an improvement over the Windows Phone 7.5. While Microsoft is in a unique position to run the same operating systems across phones, desktops, tablets and even TVs with the Xbox One console, none of that is worth anything to the end user if the device is not worth using. The Windows 8 OS is frustrating to use for many consumers, yet slowly the company is crawling into a usable niche, having secured just over 10 percent market share.

Yet the newly developed Windows Phone 8.1 appears to have learned from the mistakes of its predecessor, and offers a slew of new features that improve on the problems of the original model, offering a truly marvelous platform for smartphones.

For example, the phone will implement Microsoft's digital personal assistant Cortana, named after an AI character from the popular “Halo” video game series. Cortana is described as a hybrid personal assistant that combines the best features of both Siri and Google-Now to create a wholly new personal assistant. With the ability to use incorporate information in emails as well as metrics gathered from the user's behavioral patterns to help find out what the user wants – without having to be told.

In addition, an improved swipe-style keyboard interface is also included, which is incredibly accurate even for those of us with fatter fingers. An all-in-one notification center also allows users to view and manage all of their notifications at the same time, including texts, email and more.

Windows Phone 8.1 also incorporates Internet Explorer 11, which is viewed as a substantial improvement over previous incarnations of the notoriously outdated web browser. It offers a much cleaner and user-friendly interface for smartphone users. The phone's features also include notifications on the lock screen that lets users quickly read information on everything from incoming texts to upcoming flight schedules, and a double-slider for volume allows for instant changes to both ringer volume as well as the volume for applications, which is something all smartphone users will be able to appreciate.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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