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Windows Phone 8.1 includes Windows RT app compatibility, iCloud support

Developers cough that it will reach all Windows Phone 8 devices
Tue Feb 11 2014, 15:34
Nokia Lumia 1520 with Windows Phone 8 main

SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has started rolling out Windows Phone 8.1 to developers, and they have been quick to reveal what we can expect from the update.

Windows Phone developers have flocked to Reddit to detail the update within an inch of its life, revealing about all there is to know about the next software iteration before a beta version is released to developers in April.

Chief among Windows Phone 8.1's features is support for Windows RT apps, with the SDK offering "Universal App" support with templates to build both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store apps from the same shared HTML and Javascript code.

A loose-lipped developer who claims to create "high profile" apps for the mobile operating system explained on Reddit that this likely points towards Microsoft merging Windows Phone and Windows RT, with apps now easy to create for both.

Developers have noted that Windows Phone 8.1 now includes an iCloud option in Settings, which means it likely will support iCloud accounts to further lure customers away from iOS. VPN support is also included and Microsoft's rebrand of Skydrive to Onedrive is obvious in the SDK, while a new feature has been introduced that likely will allow Windows Phone users to change the default messaging app.

Developers have also revealed that Windows Phone 8.1 will be available to all Windows Phone 8 devices, but there's no word yet on a release date.

That's not all that's new. According to the lengthy Reddit thread, multitasking has been tweaked to look more like that in Windows RT, there's support to install apps to an SD card, and there are three new camera modes and a Battery Power Sense app that shows which apps are using the most battery life.

Perhaps most interestingly, developers have noted that Facebook integration seems to have been removed in the update, and there's no sign of Microsoft's mooted Cortana voice assistant.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the rumours. µ


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