In the beginning, no sorry not that far back. Beginning around (3)three weeks ago (that’s more like it) the web was inundated with persistent coverage of Windows Phone 8.1 courtesy of leakers who were given the privilege to take the 8.1 SDK for a spin.

Things have died down a bit, what with MWC, the Nokia X announcement, Samsung’s debut of the Galaxy S5, Gear 2 and Neo(using Tizen nonetheless) and thier surprise offering of what will likely be quite affordable fit bands.

There’s plenty of news out there covering the competition as expected. Microsoft’s release of the SDK, two months before their April debut of Windows Phone 8.1 update, was likely intended to preempt the conversation, whet our appetites if you will, before all of the MWC stuff started rolling out.

I think it worked. The list of features included in the SDK that we have had the opportunity to see is extensive. Even still, I think we are all left with the sense that it’s not over. Like all good performances we have been left wanting more. And by pre-empting the conversation, giving us just enough to get excited about, enough to have confidence in what Microsoft is bringing to the table, yet withholding just enough to keep us looking toward Microsoft, building our anticipation for Build, Microsoft has played it smart.

What else might Microsoft have up thier sleeves? Will the full reveal of Cortana be the showstopper?What are you hoping to see? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Before you head off to comments please first peruse this perfectly plump power packed list of phone perfecting features provided by those hardworking Windows Phone fans over at WPCentral. Yeah they did the foot work compiling this list. Check it it out, and don’t forget to hit the comments with what you may still be hoping to see revealed at BUILD come April. Me, I’m hoping Cortana is a grand slam!

Brace yourselves because this list is packed.



Action Center
•Notification center – Alerts, non-Toast notifications, update history, more
•Quick-access to customized actions, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Plane mode, etc.


Consumer features
•20 Notifications per app
•Persistent notifications for 7 days (or shorter)
•Users can “chase” (tap) a notification
•Users can remove a notification
•Users can remove a group of notifications
•Users can remove all notifications
•Action Center is only available on phones

Action Center Management APIs
•Manage app notifications
•Developers can remove one or many notifications
•Developers can tag and group notifications
•Developers can replace a notification with a new one
•Developers can set an expiration on notifications
•Developers can send “Ghost Toast” notifications

Apps + Store
•Apps can capture audio/video from themselves; be limited for copyright concerns
•App and Game data stored on SD cards
•Apps on SD Cards are only allowed from ONE originating phone. If it detects that apps from another phone are installed on the SD Card, then it will ask to delete those first
•App Suggestions by location
•Backup of App + Game data to OneDrive (if developer enabled)
•Facebook app comes with OS, updates independently, hooks into OS
•Filter through installed apps by usage/install date
•Manual Update checks
•Option to update store apps automatically
•Option to update store apps when only on Wi-Fi
•Single sign-in for apps (like on Windows 8) with Microsoft Account; sign in will persist across devices + apps with permissions prompt

•Google calendar support, with multiple calendars
•Weather in calendar
•Week view in calendar

(Keep going there’s more.)

•Burst camera mode, including auto-deletion of bursts
•New layout

•Bing smart search (similar search system as Windows 8.1)
•Podcast app powered by Bing, full featured

•Internet Explorer 11
•IE 11 to save and remember your password for websites
•JavaScript and HTML for app development
•Upload files through Internet Explorer 11
•Tabs now show up individually in multi-task window
•WebGL and Normal mapping support
•YouTube Player including HTML5 video support

(Still going.)

•Background tasks: Bluetooth signal strength, Chat message notification, Device connection change, Device use trigger, Gatt characteristic notification, Location, Push notification, Rfcomm connection, System event, Timer
•XAP replaced by APPX
•​​Audio/video transcoding that’s hardware accelerated
•New dev tools including: SemanticZoom, DatePicker, TimePicker
•Actionable notifications for apps
•Silent/ghost notifications for apps

•Encrypted and signed e-mail support
•New Email sync options with accordance to usage patterns (i.e. If you get a lot of mail on particular days and if you don’t check mail every day).
•Option to always download emails and pictures within them

(Still hanging in there?)

Enterprise and Office
•Enterprise enrolled phones can have their passwords changed and remotely locked
•Password protected Office document support
•Office Lens support for scanning documents with camera, import into Office with OCR
•Rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive
•VPN support built in
•S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
•Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware
•Auto-triggered VPN
•Certificate management to enroll, update and revoke certificates for user authentication
•Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying the installing of certain apps.
•Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS

General User Experience Changes
•Start screen backgrounds
•Back button no longer closes apps, instead it suspends them
•Double-Tap to unlock your phone (Feature from Lumia devices on Amber Update and newer)
•Double Tap to Power Off
•Favorite photos by tapping a heart icon
•File picker
•Kid’s Corner – Password won’t be displayed (bug fix)
•Live Tiles – mark as red by swiping from the left over the Tile
•Live Tiles – Three column support (maybe)
•Navigation bar for phones without physical keys on the front
•Notification if charger isn’t of adequate power
•Quiet Hours – Disable notifications during pre-selected timeframe
•Screenshot button combination is now Power + Volume Up
•Search button will be the new way to open Speech (aka ‘Cortana’)
•Separate volume controls for ringtones/notifications and music/media
•Set default Voice Navigation app for the OS
•Swipe down to close apps in multitasking view
•Voice Narrator for Accessibility

(Nope…Not there yet!)

•General keyboard enhancements, show emoji when typing
•Swipe keyboard option – “Write, when I swipe through letters”.

•Audio/video transcoding, Hardware accelerated
•Media editing:  audio and video; Audio effects, video effects; Slow motion video
•Xbox Music and Xbox Video as standalone apps instead of the Music + Video Hub (allowing more updates to be pushed)

•Change default SMS app. You can also change which SMS app will show notifications.
•Mute Thread – Optionally silence text threads, no longer receive notifications or Live Tile updates

(I told you it was packed!)

Phone + Contacts
•Contact list sorting of those with phone numbers
•Call duration (press and hold reveals a “details” menu in call history)
•In-call speech commands. You’ll be able to say “Call XXXXXX”.
•Inner Circle of contacts. Up to 40 contacts can be in the inner circle.
•Operators can also install certain applications once a SIM card is detected

•Battery Power Sense – App to monitor which apps draw the most power
•Battery Saver (under Battery Sense) will have an app exclusion list
•Data Sense – Operators can now control Data Sense limits remotely
•Wi-Fi Sense – Sharing secured WI-Fi Networks with contacts if they have Wi-Fi Sense. They don’t get to see the shared password though
•Wi-Fi can auto re-enable after a set duration of time
•Wi-Fi Direct


•Bluetooth 4.0 LE
•Chkdsk for SD cards to ensure card health
•Geofence monitoring support. Geofence is a boundary around a place of interest to you. Location services can monitor geofences to tell your apps when you’re entering and leaving them. This would be really good for IFTTT
•Miracast, PlayTo, mirror and project via wireless display or USB-out
•Mouse and keyboard support (HID)
•Stereoscopic 3D support
•The phone will have to update to the latest version before you can restore it to factory settings
•Trusted app list for NFC that will remove the need for asking whether you want to open a particular app
•Virtual SmartCard support
•Wallet supports tickets and membership cards
•Windows Phone 8.1 apps won’t run on 8.0 devices until they upgrade

Wheew…Yeah that’s a lot. Give us your feedback.

  1. The WinPhan says:

    Man, with a list like that, it almost feels blasphemous and greedy to say I want or expect anything else! I think if each one of the features seen in the SDK was to work glitch free, nothing more needs to added in this installment of WP. I see it as a continual growth to a fully mature device in a healthy way. I think that is one of the key downfalls to Android, release so much at once, there are bound to be bugs and there always are. I think a healthy, methodical, and consorted change is good…take your time and get it right. Consumers aren’t leaving so you might as well get do it right! 🙂

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