OR Microsoft is going against Android and Apple with a vastly updated Windows/Windows Phone 8.1 for $0 royalty fee on smartphones and tablets with screens under 9”, integrated Windows desktop experience (upcoming in the next update), capability of creating Universal Windows apps accross the whole Windows family (demonstrated with the Modern version of the Office upcoming later), an open-source cross-platform WinJS framework, the first true digital assistant for phones (Cortana), showing that for TVs, as well as planning for IoT devices.
Update: the expectation was somewhat higher:
although was met when looking back to Nadella’s March 27 Office for iPad announcement:
Microsoft showcases latest updates to Windows, opportunities for developers April 02, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO — April 2, 2014 — Wednesday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp.’s developer conference, the company announced several advances to Windows including Windows Phone 8.1, the availability of Windows 8.1 Update, a converged developer platform, and a $0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners developing smartphones and tablets with screens under nine inches.
Microsoft detailed new developer opportunities on the Windows platform with a common platform across devices, a single toolset, a common infrastructure across the Windows and Windows Phone stores, and a clear commitment to interoperability. The announcements highlight Microsoft’s continued commitment to its partners and the developer community by maximizing opportunities across the broadest range of devices and services.
Also as a part of the conference, Nokia announced three new Lumia smartphones for Windows Phone 8.1, including the flagship Lumia 930, the affordable Lumia 635 and the first dual-SIM Lumia 630.
“The news today shines a light on continued Windows innovation in ways that benefit our customers, partners and developers alike. Our commitment is to make Windows more personal and accessible to individuals, and to ensure a vibrant ecosystem through closer collaboration with our industry partners,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, OS Group at Microsoft.
… <more is inserted in the below keynote report>
The essence of the Day 1 keynote:
Microsoft Build 2014 keynote in seven minutes [The Verge YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
The Full Day 1 Keynote record on Channel 9: 2 hours, 59 minutes, 13 seconds or a YouTube copy of that from MicrosoftEurope:
Terry Myerson: Executive Vice President, Operating Sy stems group
- Making your creativity come to life
- Using public translation APIs to translate everything said here
Joe Belfiore (~ 1 hour): Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems group
==> Full transcript
- Running PC, tablet and phone within the Operating Systems group
Windows Phone is the world’s most personal phone
- 2 additional partners: Micromax and Prestigio (working with Qualcomm and Longcheer)
- Windows Phone 8.1: ==> Made more personal
– new Action Center
– new lock screen APIs
– option to choose a high density tile layout with custom background as well … even on a small screen
Cortana Microsoft Build 2014 8.1 Update Personalized Digital Assistant named Cortana Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore unveils 2 new phones with hardware partners Micromax and Prestigio using Windows Phone 8.1
Windows Phone gets even more personal
Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1 and introduced Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant with a persona inspired by a much-loved “Halo” character. Powered by Bing, Cortana gets to know you and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you.
Other new features that make Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones even more personal include Action Center, which complements Live Tiles by showing new activities and notifications at a glance; and Senses, a suite of features that takes the work out of managing data use, storage space and battery life. Windows Phone 8.1 also makes it easier for IT professionals to manage devices and for professionals to connect to essential business apps and services with features such as simplified device enrollment, a built-in mobile device management client, S/MIME for encrypted mail and VPN support.
Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to current Windows Phone 8 users over the coming months. It will also come pre-installed on new phones starting this month. Cortana will launch shortly in the U.S. as a beta, in the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014, and in other countries in 2015. Registered developers can update their phones to Windows Phone 8.1 as part of the developer program later this month.
– working long for one a half year on (video): Cortana (launching as a Beta, in order to learn with linguistic & search things) – a digital assistance for Windows Phone; powered by Bing (knows the whole Internet); learns about you …; also replaces the search function for you …; can be extended via 3d party apps; giving Cortana a notebook in order to put the user in contact with Cortana; about the people matter most to you; about the places you use to frequent; has permission to read all e-mail on the phone in order to prompt pro-actively the owner on …; good with the calendar too; … example queries via voice …; works with typing as well; reminders; only Cortana can do: people reminders …; new version of Skype; starting apps for you via Cortana (like Hulu, even yommunicating with like for Facebook);
==> The first true digital assistant for phones
==> The Ultimate Assistant: Halo’s Cortana Coming to Windows Phone
- Consumers can choose for their device:
– VPN, S/MIME support, MDM capabilities, … many, many more hosted capabilities
==> The right choice for business
==> Building the Mobile Workplace with Windows and Windows Phone
- Apps from the Store: … store experience more engaged for you …, new version of Calendar … with other views
- Improved basic performance: … WiFi Sense to connect to automatically when sensed … even securely share with friends automatically (no need to tell the WiFi password); … from ordinary phone call to a video call, even for RCS apps as well; Word Flow [Keyboard] typing … world’s fastest typing on the smartphone (the previous record was Samsung Galaxy …); focus on settings; IE11 with a bunch of new features
- to consumers rolling out in next few months
- on very new phones late April
Windows 8.1 Update
- boot straight to the desktop
- going automatically to enterprise mode
- mouse and keyboard experience of Windows, e.g. enhanced taskbar to work with Windows Store apps: no different swithching mode for Modern apps and desktop apps; PC settings tile on Start Screen; right click context menu …; power user … on Start Screen; pre-pinning the Windows Store to the taskbar to make it mouse and kleyboard friendly; new apps pin to the Start Screen or the taskbar …
- starting April 8
- [The update also enables Microsoft’s hardware partners to deliver low-cost machines that require only 1 GB of RAM and 16GB HDD. On Intel’s Bay Trail Cost Reduced options.]
Windows 8.1 Update: easier to use, runs great on more devices
Continuing its commitment to deliver improvements through regular updates, Microsoft also announced Windows 8.1 Update, which includes improvements that provide more of what people love about Windows across more devices: quicker access to what’s important, a more familiar and consistent experience across touch and non-touch devices, and more ways to discover great apps.
Key features of the update include user interface improvements for mouse and keyboard users, the ability to access the taskbar from any screen and pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar alongside desktop apps and favorite websites, and performance and compatibility enhancements to Internet Explorer 11. These improvements provide faster, more direct access to the things customers care most about, so activities such as powering down, searching the Web and switching between apps are easier than ever. Navigating with the mouse and keyboard will feel more familiar and intuitive because there’s more consistency with where controls are and how they work. Specific to the enterprise, Windows 8.1 Update offers improved Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11, extends mobile device management functionality, and eases deployment with increased predictability for new operating systems and line-of-business apps by leveraging familiar management tools.
Current Windows 8.1 customers will receive the Windows 8.1 Update for free through Windows Update, while Windows 8 customers will receive the update free through the Windows Store, beginning April 8, 2014.*
David Treadwell: Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems group
==> Full transcript
- about things for developers
Microsoft’s Universal Windows App Allows Devs To Create For Any Platform [Pureinfotech, published on April 3, 2014]Microsoft announces universal Windows apps, which simply means that apps created for the Windows platform will now run on all platforms including PCs, tablets, phones, and Xbox One.
Universal Windows apps:
==> Windows Runtime comes to phones
- Update for Visual Studio 2013 for universal Windows apps: demo
==> Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC: Windows Phone 8.1 Tools, Shared Projects and Universal Windows Apps
- Streamline the Windows Store experience across …
- Modern (touch-first) version of Office: demo … also showing the same binary working on the phone
- hundreds of new features added for Windows Phone 8.1 based on developers’ and customers’ requests
Windows developer platform: easily build innovative apps, reach more people
Microsoft also announced enhancements in the way developers can build applications that target the full range of Windows devices using Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate. Among other new capabilities, with the introduction of universal projects, developers are able to create apps that can be easily optimized to take full advantage of Windows devices. Developers of all types can draw upon their existing skills to deliver shared experiences for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update. Universal projects allow developers to use approximately 90 percent of the same code, a single packaging system, and a common user interface to target apps for phones, tablets and PCs.
To improve the developer experience on Windows, Microsoft announced updates to Windows Store to improve app discoverability and monetization, as well as easier shopping for end users with improved search, more personal recommendations and better merchandising. In addition, later this week, Microsoft will release the next version of Windows App Studio, a Web-based tool for non-developers that enables the creation of universal Windows apps in a single project.
To help developers build innovative apps for Windows using a natural user interface, Microsoft detailed plans for Kinect for Windows v2, coming this summer, with a new sensor and SDK that will enable developers to create Windows Store apps, with the Kinect sensor, for the first time. The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor offers more precision, responsiveness and intuitive capabilities. Developers and partner companies, such as Reflexion Health and Freak’n Genius, are already doing great things through the Kinect for Windows v2 developer preview program.
- DEMO of the above
Windows enabling cross-platform apps:
– announcing: making WinJS cross-platform
– open-source via GitHub
==> MS Open Tech Open Sources WinJS, Part of the Windows App Platform
- DEMO My
- Now about the TV … no better television than Xbox
- going to enable Universal Windows apps running on Xbox
|My insert here: Satya Nadella email to employees on tuning our organization [Microsoft, March 31, 2014]
Today marks the start of another big week for Microsoft as we gear up for the Build conference in San Francisco. We continue to push on the momentum from last week’s news about how we will thrive and grow in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, as shown by the great Office apps for iOS, rich new APIs for developers and our new Enterprise Mobility Suite.
In advance of Build, I want to highlight three announcements about how we’re continuing to evolve and tune our organization for maximum focus and impact.…
Next, I have asked Phil Spencer to take on a new role leading Xbox, combining the Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team. Phil will report to Terry Myerson, allowing us to keep gaming close to the group developing operating systems across devices. In this new job, Phil will lead the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, and Microsoft Studios. Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the OSG team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones. Phil will continue his close partnership with Yusuf Mehdi, who leads business strategy and marketing for Xbox, George Peckham, who heads up third-party partnerships and Mike Angiulo, who will continue leading Xbox hardware. Over the years, Phil’s team at Microsoft Studios has helped build a community of more than 80 million Xbox owners and 48 million Xbox Live members through blockbuster game franchises such as “Halo,” “Gears of War,” “Kinect Sports,” “Fable,” “Forza Motorsport” and many others. He’s helped drive the development of brand-new entertainment offerings like the partnership with the NFL and the formation of Xbox Entertainment Studios [Nancy Tellem]. I love the way the Xbox team is focused on great games and gaming experiences (go, “Titanfall”!), connects with its fans, pushes the boundary of entertainment and has embraced the power of the cloud in such interesting and impactful ways. Phil is the right person to lead Xbox forward.
- bringing Kinect to PC ==> Kinect 2.0 for Windows with greatly improved SDK, not just for games
- non-gaming Kinect apps: video
- Kinect: this is the future
==> Windows Store app development is coming to Kinect for Windows
- Graphics: on Xbox One phenomenal ==> Xbox graphics platform to make available for everyone ==> bringing into DirectX 12
Internet of Things (IoT):
- Windows ported to ARM
- Now Intel Quark (i.e. x86 for IoT)
- Windows for IoT will be available for $0
- Universal Windows apps to run in a window
- New Start Menu: live tiles combined
- what is shown here is just for start to improve the Windows desktop
- (upcoming in the next update of Windows)
Making Windows devices more affordable
Microsoft is evolving its Windows business model to enable partners to offer lower-cost devices in the highly competitive smartphone, tablet and PC categories. Microsoft will offer to hardware partners $0 Windows with services including a one-year subscription to Office 365.
With Windows 8.1 Update hardware partners can also more easily build lower-cost machines — such as devices with 1 GB of RAM and a 16GB hard disk drive — without sacrificing the experience customers expect. The combination of new efficiencies and innovations from Microsoft hardware partners means customers will be able to choose from a wider range of Windows devices, particularly budget-friendly notebooks and tablets.
Additional information from Terry Myerson’s Thoughts on Day 1 of Build 2014 [Blogging Windows, April 2, 2014] post:
I wanted to use this post to share some thoughts from what I said in the keynote:
1. We believe in our ecosystem of device manufacturers and devs (developers, developers, developers!), and that their creativity has incredible potential to change the world – and we want to help them do that.
2. We believe in the Internet of Things, and that as the devices get smaller, the cloud gets bigger.
3. We believe in natural user interfaces, and the power of things like voice and gesture to transform how users will interact with their devices and apps in the coming years.
Today we announced that the Windows 8.1 Update will support Intel’s Bay Trail Cost Reduced options, along with 1GB RAM and 16 GB storage configurations which are popular on entry level tablets and notebooks. We’re also working with Intel on enablement programs that make it easy for their partners to onboard new Windows devices quickly, much as we are with Qualcomm.
We showed Windows running on an Intel Quark chip. It’s a processor the size of a pencil eraser that is running a full version of Windows, enabling developers to use all their Windows knowledge and skills to create new and exciting devices and experiences. When we are ready to ship Windows for the Internet of Things, we will make that available for zero dollars to encourage creation of these new devices and experiences in this new and exciting category.
Finally, I previewed some work we are doing for the next iteration of Windows, which builds on the journey we began with Windows 8 just over a year ago as well as the releases we’ve done since then. In particular, I showed some early thinking on how the user experience in Windows will evolve in a way that will help developers’ apps make their way to users across devices and form factors.
We set out to do this is a thoughtful way – one where we could enable more productivity for customers working in desktop mode, while building smart bridges to the new modern user experience and ensuring customers can get access to all your great apps in the Windows Store no matter where they are in the experience, or which device type they’re on.
As I said today, these are glimpses of our roadmap, with a particular focus on the parts of our roadmap that are most relevant to our developer partners. We’ll continue to invest in these and many other areas to build a great platform and experiences for developers, customers and partners and you’ll hear more from us when this work is closer to being ready to ship out to the world.
Stephen Elop (still Nokia, but soon Microsoft):
==> Full transcript
- Lumia 520 the best selling smartphone in the world: will have WP 8.1
- WP 8.1 for all other existing Lumias
- The next-generation of Lumia devices:
– Lumia 930: flagship for WP 8.1, with unprecendented images and video, Creative Studio app grealy updated, new/updated Living Images app, fantastic cinema video experiences (4 microphones included), all MS services well integrated, 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC, from June starting in Europe, with more more than 100 operators
– Lumia 630: 4.5” ClearBlack display, 3G dual-SIM as well (different tiles for each SIM), designed for hyper-social people, Cortana is also available, SensoreCore introduced for health and fitness apps … Lumia services (HERE maps, etc.), 1.5GHz Snapdragon 400 quadcore, from May starting in Asia, $159 single SIM
– Lumia 635: 4.5” ClearBlack display, 4G LTE, …, 1.5GHz Snapdragon 400 quadcore, from May starting in Asia
- Two new SDKs:
– Imaging SDK 1.2
– new SensoreCore SDK to create motion based apps
Satya Nadella: CEO
==> Full transcript
- developer roots of Microsoft
- Q&A via the DPE collection made before the conference
- Why build for Windows if one develops for Android? –> innovating in every dimension … you will see a progress in a rapid pace … pretty unique pieces, e.g. bring end-users, IT profs and devs together … create a developer opportunity accross the Windows family expanding … we are betting on this platform ourselves
- Plans for easy development accross platforms? –> David Treadwell part … the only platform with APIs on every platform amd native, managed and the web … working w/ PhoneGap, Unity e.t.c. …
- What MS is doing to compete against Apple and Google in the tablet space? –> tablets accross all prices ranges … innovate with Surface to make the most productive table … what is the role of a tablet in the device family … consistency of user experience
- Approach to UX design now and in 5 years with Microsoft? –> we have fantastic people for UX … see inspiration for other platforms … Cortana … modern apps to mouse and … Bill Buxton about natural UI … the broadest range of input modes today
- How to design for the cloud, and how MS is supporting that? –> Scott Guthrie tomorrow … data-tier built for scale-out and other consideration long taken into account, Service Bus etc. … lot of focus on tools, samples that truely take advantage of the cloud
- Different APIs released for different products? –> Windows Universal apps is the first step in the direction of bring great consistency for developers … consistency of semantics for these APIs
- What’s the plan with latency as we are moving and more apps to the cloud? –> build robustness … data center build-up throughout the world … great effort to enable apps to run in a true distributed way
- How MS can better support start-ups? –> BizSpark program with 70K start-ups … seed fundings and accellerators throughout the world
- The vision for Microsoft going forward? –> Drive in this world of mobile first, cloud first … interactions of differnt kinds getting digitized … create platforms .. build the best experiences
- Plans to becoma a Master CEO? –> … 2514 … watch Scott Guthrie keynote tomorrow
Cortana (yes!) and Many, Many Other Great Features coming in Windows Phone 8.1 [by Joe Belfiore on Windows Phone Blog, April 2, 2014]
Whew, what a day! What a week! I’ve just gotten off the stage at Build in front of 5,000 of our beloved developers talking about the future of the Windows platform. And now I’m here to tell YOU about the stuff we’ve been working on to delight all our Windows Phone users and fans!
During my time on stage, I went over what’s next for Windows PCs, tablets, and phones with two major updates: Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 Update. Both releases bring a lot of new features for consumers and businesses alike, built from the feedback we’ve heard from customers along the way. We’ve also continued to invest in our partners, enabling lots of great new phones, tablets, laptops and PCs for you to choose from in the months ahead.
Windows 8.1 Update: Focused on Mouse/Keyboard
For PCs and tablets, we’ve made improvements in Windows 8.1 that will noticeably improve the experience when you’re using a PC without a touch-screen. We’ve made commands easier to find with mouse/keyboard, we’ve made switching between apps—especially Windows Store apps—much easier with mouse/keyboard… and we’ve made it easier to find new apps to install.
To learn more about the update to Windows 8.1 for your PC and tablets, head on over to the Windows Experience Blog and read Brandon’s post. What I really want to cover in detail here is…
Windows Phone 8.1: More Personal, Smarter, and even a “World Record Holder”!
If you’re a Windows Phone user, you already know that we set out to create an experience that puts you and the things you care about most front and center. As a result, we believe Windows Phone is the world’s most personal smartphone… and with Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve added a BUNCH of new features that make your smartphone even more a reflection of your personality and desires.
Want to experience it all in one giant demo? Then watch this marathon 15-minute video. Else… read on!The world’s most personal smartphone just got more personal. Watch the innovations of Windows Phone 8.1 come alive.
Start screen: Make the Live Tiles Yours
We want your Windows Phone Start screen to genuinely reflect your personality and the people and things you care about—so we are making it even more customizable!
In 2013, we added a third column on devices for 5-inch screen or larger devices, like the Lumia 1520, to enable more stuff to show up on the screen. People really liked this so we are enabling this on all screen sizes in Windows Phone 8.1. Pin away! We’ve also added the ability to customize your Start background with a favorite picture or one of the options we’ve provided, which will make many of the tiles on your Start screen become clear so you can see the background you selected as you scroll up and down.
Lock screen: Lots of new “themes” to choose from!
The Lock screen is the very first thing you – or your friends—see when you grab your phone, and in Windows Phone 8.1 we’re providing a new app that lets you set a wide range of interesting “Lock Screen Themes” which show all kinds of different visuals and animations. Make it yours…
Cortana: Your PERSONAL Digital Assistant
Of everything we’re announcing today, I’m most excited to introduce you to the world’s first truly personal digital assistant, now on Windows Phone. We were inspired by the popular character from Halo who served as a brilliant AI and a deeply personal digital assistant to Master Chief… so we called her Cortana.
Powered by Bing, Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you. Cortana will launch shortly here in the U.S. first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.
In Windows Phone 8.1, you get to Cortana by either a Live Tile on your Start screen or by pressing the search button on your device. This will take you to Cortana Home. To interact with Cortana, you can either speak or type—if you’re in a meeting, just type and Cortana won’t talk out loud. But if you ask her a spoken question, she’ll answer verbally and even carry on a natural conversation.
When you interact with Cortana for the VERY first time, she will start learning things about you… like your name, how to pronounce it, and ask for some personal interests.
Once she’s learned a bit about you, Cortana’s home populates with information that is curated just for you. You’ll see things like flight information she’s found from your email confirmations, weather, the latest news, and even traffic information once she learns your commute routine, such as from work and home.
To develop Cortana, we talked to a number of real personal assistants. One technique these assistants spoke about was keeping track of the interests and preferences of their bosses in a notebook. We thought… what a great idea! So all the stuff Cortana curates for you is stored in Cortana’s Notebook. This information enables Cortana to be proactive and helpful throughout the day. For example, she’ll let me know if my upcoming flight back to Seattle is on time and, if I choose, will even pop-up to recommend what time I should leave for the airport based on traffic. Cortana can also manage your phone when you don’t want to be disturbed by setting quiet hours where she will silence any notifications, in-coming calls, and texts. Cortana understands the “inner circle” of people-closest-to-you, and she can let them break through at any time during quiet hours. And Cortana is the only digital assistant that lets you setup people reminders. You can have Cortana remind you that your buddy owes you $20 the next time you talk to him. And ALL of these interests and preferences are under YOUR CONTROL via Cortana’s notebook.
What’s more, because Cortana is powered by Bing, some of the interests in Cortana’s Notebook will light up on Bing.comwhen you sign in on the web. Bing.com will give you access to the things Cortana tracks for you, like your weather, stocks, news, and flights.
We’ve also designed Cortana to be able to interact with 3rd Party Appsinstalled on your phone. You can ask Cortana to help you make a video call in Skype, watch a TV show in Hulu Plus, look up a news feed on Facebook or send a tweet using the Twitter app – all of which we demoed during this morning’s keynote.
And finally, Cortana isn’t just a dry computer returning search results. Just as she has in the game Halo, Windows Phone’s Cortana has a bit of personality. But you’ll have to talk to her yourself to see what I mean by that. Or… I bet you’ll be able to find some videos on the web pretty soon to see what I mean.
We think you’re going to really love having Cortana as your personal assistant!
A Whole Slew of New Delighters
Action Center: Live Tiles are a great way to “glance and go,” and now we’ve added Action Center to enable you to see notifications from ANY app – pinned or not—and to give you a customizable way to quickly access the settings you care about most, like Wi-Fi, Flight Mode, Bluetooth and Rotation Lock.
Word Flow Keyboard: The keyboard in Windows Phone is smart enough to learn your writing style and even knows the names of people in your contacts for faster typing. Best of all, our new Word Flow Keyboard lets you glide your fingers over the keys to type INCREDIBLY quickly… a kid was able to BREAK THE OFFICIAL WORLD RECORD previously held by the Swype keyboard on a Samsung Galaxy S4 using Word Flow by 8 seconds!
Skype:The new Skype app for Windows Phone 8.1 brings the best of Skype on a smartphone. It’s integrated with the Phone dialer, so if you’re on a call you can quickly and easily “upgrade” your ordinary phone call to a Skype video call at the tap of a button! And… the new Skype app is designed to work seamlessly with Cortana so you can use Cortana to setup your calls within Skype.
Calendar:The new Calendar has been redesigned to add a new week view which lots of people have been asking for and it has many nice touches—like panning right to get to the next day or week or month! What’s more, it looks a lot like Outlook on your Windows PC… e.g., the weather is integrated at the top – just like in Outlook.
Music, Video, Podcasts: We’ve made a ton of improvements to these experiences, which are now split out as separate apps and all of which can be updated via the Store. In Music, you can edit your playlists and manage your cloud collection really easily and effectively. Video makes it possible to buy or rent videos from Xbox Music, and Podcasts now lets you subscribe to any RSS feed AND provides a Bing-powered podcast search for every country where Windows Phone is available. Oh… and we’ve improved the phone volume control by including separate sliders for your ringer/notifications and for your apps and media. Just the way you asked for it!
People Hub, Email and Accounts: The People Hub has higher-fidelity feeds for your social network content (large photos!) and it connects directly to 3rd-party social networking apps so that you can have easy access to all the full functionality of the 3rd party apps once they are installed. Email now supports S/MIME secure email, and we’ve broadened our support for different account types, now including iCloud.
Photos & Camera: The Photos experience now jumps directly to your most recent photos and shows as collections automatically organized, in a view grouped by date and location. Online photo albums are now supported via app-extensibility, so 3rd parties can plug in their services. In the Camera, we’ve updated the UI and added “burst mode” photography that lets you capture exactly the perfect moment—just like on Windows 8.1.
Data Sense, Wi-Fi Sense, Storage Sense, and Battery Saver:We’ve added a number of features in Windows Phone 8.1 that are designed to help you get the most out of your data allowance, battery life and storage.
Data Sense lets you track how much data usage you use in a given month and will give you a breakdown of usage by app so you can see which app is using the most of your data. As you near your data limit, Data Sense will more aggressively offload data to Wi-Fi and limit cellular usage… and in 8.1 there’s a new “high savings” mode that cranks up the compression of images as you browse the web so you can browse even farther using less data than WP8.
Wi-Fi Sense will automatically connect you to free public hotspots it finds to help you save cellular data. And, if you’d like, you can opt-in to automatically and securely enable your friends and contacts to auto-connect to your home Wi-Fi, so they can use the internet connection at your house without hassling you for the password and typing it in manually. If you turn off Wi-Fi in Wi-Fi Sense, you can have Cortana automatically turn it back on when you reach one of your favorite places as identified in Cortana.
We’re introducing Storage Sense to help you get the most out of the memory and storage on your phone. It will help you manage content you have on an SD memory card if your device supports those. You can also move content – like apps, music, photos – between the storage built in to your device and an SD memory card.
And Battery Saver gives you a clear breakdown of how apps are using your battery so you can make more informed usage decisions. With “automatic mode” enabled, it can dramatically extend your battery life.
Windows and Windows Phone Together
Your Microsoft Accountallows Windows and Windows Phone to work together in amazing ways. Windows Phone 8.1 furthers the integration between phone and PC. If you change your theme color, that change will sync across all your Windows devices. If you buy an in-app purchase in some of the newer apps written for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, the purchase works on your phone AND your PC. And other settings like your home Wi-Fi password will also sync.
Ever wanted to project your phone screen onto a PC, TV set or projector? We’ve added support for that as well—connect your Windows Phone to a compatible PC using a USB cable and you can run an application on the PC to show the phone screen. Some of the forthcoming new phones will also support wireless Miracast display to compatible TVs and other devices.
And finally with Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone, you will be able to see all the open tabs you have on all your Windows devices and all your Favorites too. Plus the new Internet Explorer gives you InPrivate browsing, password caching, and a super-handy reading mode.
Great for Business Users and IT Managers
Windows has long been the choice for the enterprise and professionals. Windows Phone fits easily and seamlessly into a corporate ecosystem making it easier to work when you are on the go. Last year, PC Magazine’s readers selected Nokia Lumia/Windows Phones as the Business Choice Award for smartphonesby scoring them the highest in end-user satisfaction.
With Windows Phone 8.1, we’re making it even easier for IT professionals to manage devices and for professionals to connect to essential business apps and services with features such as customizable MDM enrollment, support for loads more MDM policies, LOB application & certificate management, S/MIME and VPN support. Stay tuned for a detailed blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that covers all the key features for businesses.
Sounds Great! When Can I Get It? And on which phones?
Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users and will come pre-installed on new phones, including the Lumia 630 and 635 and Lumia 930announced by Nokia today, in the coming months. If you want to try out Windows Phone 8.1 and you are a registered developer, you can update your phone as part of the Developer Preview Program in the first part of April.
We are very proud of the progress we are making with Windows Phone. Industry analyst IDC proclaimed Windows Phone the fastest growing smartphone platform in 2013, and we think the future is even brighter. At Mobile World Congress, we announced our commitment to growing the number of device partners making Windows Phones, and were proud to welcome nine new partners to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Today we announced two more partners – Prestigio in Europe and Micromax in India – to further ensure that individuals around the world will have access to the amazing experience that only Windows Phone delivers consistently across all price points.
We know we have lots more to do – for developers, for business customers, and for consumers. Today’s announcements at Build were all about taking the next steps – making it easier than ever to build great devices and write great apps for Windows, and enabling a new generation of cool experiences for customers that show the power of designing around people, delivering truly personal computing, and helping us all to get more out of the technology in our lives.
Tags: Windows phone, Build 2014, Word Flow Keyboard, Battery Saver, Start screen, Email, camera roll, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox Video,Enterprise, Announcement, inprivate, Action Center, Photos, Windows 8.1, Business, Devices, VPN, Cortana, Platform, skype, Xbox Music,Lock Screen, Windows 8.1 Update, podcasts, People Hub, calendar, Microsoft Accounbt, Windows, Live Tiles, Internet Explorer 11, Nokia, Wi-Fi Sense, Data Sense, Storage Sense
Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience [ by Brandon LeBlanc on Windows Experience Blog, April 2, 2014]
As Joe mentioned here, today we’re announcing two important updates to the Windows platform: Windows Phone 8.1 andWindows 8.1 Update. With these updates, we continue to refine and improve Windows based on feedback from customers to deliver ongoing value to all their Windows devices. Joe’s post goes into detail on all the awesomeness that’s in Windows Phone 8.1(Cortana is rad – trust me!) but also gives some great context around our new engineering culture in the Operating Systems Group now that we’re in this mobile-first, cloud-first world. It also underscores how we are moving more quickly to improve the Windows experience for customers. In this post, I wanted to share a little bit more about the update for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
With the current generation of Windows, we made a pretty big bet on touch and mobility. Along with building on top of the strong foundation in Windows 7, we also introduced a brand new approach to the Windows user experience that brought touch to the forefront. Since the original introduction of Window 8 in 2012, we have been continuously refining the experience, and we are making steady progress. More than 40 percent of Windows PCs at big box retailers, like Windows Stores Only at Best Buy, this past holiday season were touch-enabled – up from only 4 percent a year ago. As Joe recently said at Mobile World Congress, customer satisfaction for a device running Windows 8 with touch is actually higher than it was for a PC running Windows 7 without touch. We believe deeply in the notion that delivering a compelling personal and modern experience across all the devices that matter in your life should not mean sacrificing familiarity. Windows 8 and 8.1 were first steps, and we continue to make refinements based on customer and partner feedback.
Last fall, less than a year after we shipped Windows 8, we released Windows 8.1– bringing a large set of customer-driven improvements including the return of the Start button, tutorials, more personalization options, the ability to boot to desktop, improvements to multi-tasking, and more. Today marks the next step as we release a new update for your Windows experience.
The Windows 8.1 Update delivers a collection of refinements designed to give people a more familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs. It also brings improvements for business customers, really accelerates opportunity for developers, and enables device makers to offer lower cost devices.See what’s new with Windows 8.1 in the latest update, including easier mouse and keyboard functions, a new taskbar, and Bing’s improved Smart Search!
Easier access to your favorite apps and key controls:
On the Start screen, on select devices you will now find Power and Search buttons at the upper-right corner next to your account picture. You can now more quickly shut down your PC if you need to and do a search right from the Start screen.
If you like using the desktop, you will be happy to know that select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting. And on your taskbar, you can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favorite websites. You can now pin any app you want to the taskbar so you can open or switch between apps right from the desktop. I’ve got some of my favorite apps like Xbox Music, Skype, Facebook, Flipboard, and Mint pinned to my taskbar. You can also access the taskbar from anywhere when you’re using a mouse; you can see the taskbar on any screen by moving your mouse to the bottom edge of your screen. Just click on any of the apps pinned to your taskbar to open or switch to them.
More familiar mouse and keyboard options:
We’ve made it so your mouse works more consistently anywhere in Windows. If you move your mouse to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons. And as I mentioned above, when you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app, the taskbar comes up.
On the Start screen, if you right-click on an app tile, you will get a context menu next to the app tile that shows you what you can do with the tile, like unpin from Start, pin to the taskbar, change the tile size or even uninstall the app. Right-clicking on an app tile on the Start screen works just like right-clicking on something on the desktop.
Simpler way to find new apps:
After installing the update, you’ll find the Windows Store is now pinned to the taskbar by default so you can easily discover new apps (yes, you can unpin it if you don’t want it there).
And after installing new apps, you’ll notice a message at the lower-left corner of the Start screen that points you to the Apps view so you can see what you recently just installed.
Seamless browsing on all devices:
With today’s update, Internet Explorer 11 adapts your browsing experience by detecting your Windows device and input type – whether an 8-inch touch tablet in portrait mode or a 24-inch desktop with mouse and keyboard. The web is still front-and-center but new design enhancements make your browsing experience feel like it was made just for your device – like the number of tabs on-screen, the size of the fonts and menus. You can also now control when the browser remains on-screen or hides away for full-screen browsing. Check out 22tracksto see these updates in action.
Improvements for business customers: We are introducing several key improvements for businesses such as Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) and extended Mobile Device Management (MDM). EMIE enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 so companies can run existing web-based apps seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices. And with extended MDM, we are introducing additional policy settings that can be managed with whatever MDM solution an enterprise chooses including whitelisting or blacklisting Windows Store apps and websites. Look for a blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that discusses these in greater detail and a post on the Springboard Series Blogon deployment guidance for the Windows 8.1 Update.
New low cost devices:With the Windows 8.1 Update, we have enabled our hardware partners to build lower cost devices for Windows such as devices with only 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage that provide customers with the experience they expect from a Windows device without sacrificing performance.
We have made the Windows 8.1 Update available today for MSDN subscribers, and will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update next Tuesday April 8th. For the majority of folks, they will receive the update automatically. If you are still on Windows 8, you can get the Windows 8.1 Update via the Windows Store on April 8th as well.
NOTE: The Windows 8.1 Update will be KB2919355 for those of you interested.
We’re really excited to get this update out to everyone! Moving forward, we’ll continue to deliver improvements through regular updates like this one to Windows, allowing us to respond more quickly to customer feedback as your needs change.
Tags: Windows 8, Keyboard, Start screen, Windows Store, Windows 8.1, search, Apps, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows, Update, Pinning,Taskbar, Mouse
Extending platform commonality through universal Windows apps [by Kevin Gallo on Building Apps for Windows, April 2, 2014]
Today during our BUILD conference in San Francisco we unveiled the latest Windows software for phones, tablets, and PCs. Windows Phone 8.1 further establishes Windows Phone as the world’s most personal smartphone, with an even more engaging Start screen, the fastest keyboard on the market, thanks to Word Flow, and of course Cortana – the only personal digital assistant built around you. We also shared Windows 8.1 Update features such as UI improvements for mouse and keyboard users, the ability to pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar, and Internet Explorer compatibility enhancements. These OS features, and a new wave of devices that consumers will love, open up new opportunities for developers.
With this release of the Windows developer platform we set out to accomplish three major goals: 1) Reach customers across phones, tablets, and PCs; 2) Deliver innovation that supports developer investments; 3) Make cross-platform technology easier and more capable.
Reaching customers across phones, tablets, and PCs
Windows Phone 8 brought the same core set of operating system components used by Windows 8 to the modern UI of Windows Phone. Today we’re taking an even bigger step with Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update by empowering developers to create universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime.
Since universal Windows apps run on the same Windows runtime, developers have a common way of building and architecting apps for phones, tablets and PCs; from how they handle suspend and resume and do background processing, to the way they manage in-app security.
To help developers create universal Windows apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve announced the release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC. In addition to enhanced productivity and collaboration features, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC includes Shared Projects that allow developers to create an app that is easily tailored to render a contextually appropriate experience across Windows phones, tablets and PCs. Get the tools now!
Innovation that supports developer investments
Windows now also offers an expansive set of common APIs for everything from displaying notification toasts to accessing the file system and device capabilities. With Windows Phone 8.1, we are adding a wide array of new features including support for Bluetooth LE to connect to devices, Action Center extensibility to more effectively connect with users, triggers to ensure battery-friendly multitasking, VPN so end users can connect to their workplace, and many more.
Even Cortana delivers developer extensibility. Cortana brings a significant evolution of the speech technology developed by Windows and Bing, which first appeared in Windows Phone 8. In Windows Phone 8.1 we expose new enhancements to the Speech API that developers can use to integrate their apps with the Cortana family of services. Developers can now leverage speech recognition and voice commands to denote a series of actions triggered by heuristically derived scenarios that are surfaced through the Cortana speech recognition service. Fewer steps and more types of natural verbal exchanges open more apps. All of this is delivered through a simple API so developers who use Windows Phone 8 speech features today can plug into Cortana with little additional effort.
Developers are interacting with tablets and Windows computers in new ways as well. Kinect for Windows v2 will be released this summer. Soon developers can start building Kinect apps for Windows Store and publish or commercially deploy Kinect apps and solutions.
We’re also improving the way people find and use apps, as well as increasing monetization options and providing a more consistent Store experience across devices and markets. Developers can choose to link apps among phones, tablets and PCs so when a user downloads an app on one device they can install it on all of their Windows devices, increasing usage and engagement. Windows 8.1 Update brings the Store icon and pinned apps to the taskbar on the desktop. Developers are also getting more ways to market and monetize apps, such as common price tiers that bring the popular $0.99 and $1.29 price point to PCs, and updated advertising SDKs that support more rich media standards for better fill rates.
Also, by popular demand, we’ll soon be piloting a program through which developers can directly respond to app reviews to address potential confusion or other issues that may be hurting their ratings. These are just a few of the new Windows Store features being detailed this week during BUILD. Todd Brix will share much more detail about what’s new in Windows Store later today.
Make cross-platform technology easier and more capable
We’ve also been working for developers who may not already be on the Windows platform by supporting a mix of languages, runtimes, frameworks, and protocols that run across devices. Middleware partners like Unity have helped developers bring thousands of titles to the Windows Store. In a newly released beta version, Unity is delivering support for Windows Phone 8.1, including universal Windows apps.
Microsoft Open Technologies also works with various open source communities to contribute code to popular C++ frameworks and optimize them for Windows devices. For example, Windows Store supports Cocos2D-X, openFrameworks, OpenCV, Cinder, and Ogre3D apps. Box2D and Bullet also have joined the Windows Store. jQuery now fully supports Windows Runtime, so web developers can build Windows 8 apps reusing their existing code and skills. Developers who use HTML5 to build cross-platform apps for iOS and Android with tools like Apache Cordova will find it easy to port their apps to Windows.
In fact, we’re taking a much more pragmatic approach to the web in general. We know that HTML is a critical cross-platform technology. Windows Phone 8.1 brings the same powerful hardware-accelerated IE11 HTML engine in Windows 8.1 to the phone. We’ve made great strides in extending IE to developers by focusing on open standards. Now we want to focus even more on interoperability. We already support WebGL and other technologies, such as media streaming extensions for adaptive streaming scenarios.
Where we go from here
We’re enabling universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime today, and we know we have more work to do, including expanding the range of devices running universal Windows apps so developers can reach more customers in more places, from Xbox One and the Internet of Things scenarios, to millions more desktop Windows users. We also continue to strive to make the app development, submission, and management process faster and easier. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see additional updates to the Windows platform – including tools and Store – all designed to deliver even better experiences and enable greater opportunity for our developer community.