It’s a big year for Windows Phone, with the smartphone market hotter than ever before and Nokia reportedly on the verge of making Android a part of its family with the Nokia X Normandy smartphone. Microsoft’s mobile version of Windows has long been rumored to be on the verge of becoming a real competitor for iOS and Android, and 2014 needs to be the year that Redmond puts Windows Phone into overdrive.
And that’s exactly what it looks like Microsoft is doing, with more and more details of Windows Phone 8.1 beginning to crop up. A leaked Windows Phone SDK has proven useful when it comes to working out what Microsoft has in store for Windows Phone, with Action Center (for notifications), on-screen buttons, Siri-like digital assistant, screen recording and screen extension just some of the new features believed to be on their way to Windows Phone 8.1.
Other details are also beginning to leak out of other places, with today’s big news being that Microsoft’s new version of Windows Phone may offer some new Start screen customization options. The ability to add a wallpaper to the Start screen is something that non-Windows Phone users will be surprised doesn’t already exist, but the current word on the street is that Windows Phone 8.1 will bring such a feature to fruition. Microsoft is also said to be testing clear Live Tiles to go along with the new wallpaper feature, making it possible to get the most out of the image you choose to display.
Another welcome addition – assuming the rumors are true – is a Google Chrome-like Internet Explorer tab syncing engine. Being able to open tabs on a computer that are already open on a smartphone is the kind of thing that dreams are made of, and with that now a possibility on both Android (Chrome) and iOS (Safari and Chrome), Microsoft looks set to give Windows Phone parity in that department. A new Reading View, some sort of private browsing feature and a password management addition are also on the cards according to the rumor-mill.
With Windows Phone 8.1 expected to be in the hands of developers within the next couple of months, we won’t have to wait too long to see how accurate these rumors are. They all sound very promising though, so we’ve got our fingers and toes crossed for a good result.