Microsoft’s Cortana In ‘Alpha’ State Coming To India With Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Although Windows Phone 8.1 update 1 is official now, announced at this year’s BUILD developers’ conference and now, Microsoft is all set to expand the availability of its Cortana voice-based virtual assistant to countries including India, China, Canada, Australia and the UK, with the release of WP8.1 Update 1 to the mobile software, which is once again the center of attention. What’s new? Full details placed here, below!

The Redmond giant aka Microsoft on Wednesday in an official blog revealed that the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 will be available in preview form for developers starting next week, whereas the update will be rolled-out to Windows Phone handsets running WP8.1 in the coming months.

Windows-Phone-81-headerAs per the statement released, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 with Cortana will be available in China and the UK as a ‘beta’ version, while in India, Canada and Australia it will be rolled-out for download as an ‘Alpha’ form, when released in the preview version for developers next week.

Here’s we got everything related to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 and its new features, that include LIVE Folders, Start screen, Xbox Music app, Live Tile, SMS interface, Cortana, Apps Corner etc.

Starting with a brief about Live Folders

WP8.1-Update-1-1The Live Folders will give users the ability to organize apps into folders on the Start screen of the device, similarly seen on iOS or Android in that you can organize your apps the way you wish, but here with this essential feature, it animates live like they would if they weren’t thrown into a folder. With the WP8.1 update, finally it introduces Live Folders, which can be compared with iOS and Android as well.

Xbox Music, SMS Merge & Forwarding, Privacy and Security

RecentPlays-Xbox-Music-appWith an updated Xbox Music app, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 brings background syncing of songs collection along with swipe to advance. Security and privacy enhanced and the Messages app also supports SMS merging and forwarding. Notably, the new SMS interface improvement that brings the ability to select multiple messages for deletion and forwarding.

Apps Corner

WP8.1-Update-1-5Additionally added in the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, the Apps Corner will offer a special sandboxed mode for selective apps (like protected Start screen), and with enhanced privacy and security features that brings the ability to send and receive data via a virtual private network (VPN). This new feature also lets business users select a list of apps and restrict them from use in a business environment.


Cortana-ChinaRevealed by Microsoft at BUILD conference and Cortana would be the first available in the US as a ‘beta’ and later would be released in more regions, since the service becoming fully-fledged like Google Now and Siri.

Live Tile for WP Store

Live-Tile-WP-StoreThe Windows Phone Store Tile now shows live information related to the latest apps and games available.

About Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 – It’s an interactive accessory offer more than thought, with some cases having windows on them that allow the phone to display content such as notifications even when the Interactive case is closed. Although the Windows Phone will apparently gain support for interactive cases, like HTC’s One M8 for Windows to come with such Dot View case and the likes of LG and Samsung already offer such cases for their selected flagship Android smartphones.

htc-dot-view-grey-slide-01That’s what Microsoft is looking to implement something similar with Windows Phone. Other features included in GDR1 update, as follows:

  • Voice over LTE.
  • Support for extra resolutions and more devices.
  • A medium Live Tile for the native Microsoft Store app.
  • Support for NTP (Network Time Protocol).
  • Cortana can be added as phonebook entry to enable integration with car’s navigation system.
  • Dual-SIM capability for both GSM+CDMA networks.
  • “Auto scan for updates” entry can be hidden by OEMs.
  • SD-card support no longer required for OEMs.
  • OEMs can change the Start screen layout.

Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 to go on hands of developers as soon as next week. (Source: NokiaPowerUser)

Availability of Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 with Cortana and other best features. The update will roll out inevitably to those running with the Developer Preview of Windows Phone 8.1, and the general public “in the coming months”. Stay tuned!