Windows Phone 8.1 will bring widespread change to the platform; it’s not starting from scratch by any stretch, but the sorts of improvements we’ve learned about from the myriad leaks and rumors to arrive so far suggest that Microsoft’s leaving no stone unturned its its desire to keep its mobile OS attuned to user needs. As we wait for Microsoft’s Build conference next week, when a formal WP8.1 announcement is expected, we find a nice selection of screengrabs from the new, improved Windows Phone Store, along with an account of what changes we should expect.
Look for minor changes to branding (Store getting a capital S), a new layout for app listings, tools for sorting through and ranking reviews, and new in-app shortcuts. New sections to the app should offer a one-stop shop for checking on new updates, the ability to view current downloads, tools for using your location to optimize app suggestions and one hotly requested feature: settings to enable the automatic download and installation of updates.
While the pics you see above and below are reportedly from a slightly older version, and the final one that ships may be tweaked further still, these still offer up the best look yet at what’s changing. Hopefully we’ll have the full story in just one more week.