Windows Phone 8.1 has finally seen its public release, following months of availability as a Preview for Developers. But as Windows Phone users all over the world start installing their 8.1 updates, Microsoft already has its eyes on what’s next, and today gives us a little taste of what to expect, announcing the coming availability of WP8.1 Update 1 and going over some of the software’s key features.
Remember that folder support we’ve been talking about? The update will introduce Live Folders to the platform, letting you group apps for a denser, more feature-packed Start screen. Even tucked away in folders, tiles will still be visible, letting you keep on top of app activity. Speaking of tiles, the Windows Phone Store’s tile will now let you see an automatically refreshing series of app previews, changing every few hours.
We’ve also recently been discussing Cortana’s spread to other nations, and Microsoft confirms beta availability for China and the UK, as well as an alpha release for Canada, India, and Australia. Like we heard before, the voice of Cortana will change for these regional editions.
You can also look forward to an updated Xbox Music app with restored background sync and gesture controls, the ability to select multiple parts of an SMS conversation at once, VPN enhancements for WiFi users, and the arrival of access controls through the WP App Corner.
So how do you get your hands on this update? The preview release for developers will arrive first, landing next week. The target is a little less clear for a consumer-level release, but Microsoft says to look for it in the coming months.