SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft released Windows Phone 8.1 to developers on Monday, after having unveiled the mobile operating system update at its Build conference two weeks ago.
Windows Phone 8.1 is a significant update to Windows Phone 8, bringing features such as a new notification center, customisable Live Tiles, enterprise VPN support and Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant, although this initially will be available only in the US.
Developers can now get to grips these new features ahead of the general rollout of Windows Phone 8.1, with Microsoft announcing on Monday that registered developers can now download the update on their Windows Phone devices.
It's worth noting that it's fairly easy for non-developers to get their hands on the updated software, too. Simply sign into the Windows Phone App Studio website with a valid Microsoft account, select "start new project" and download the Preview for Developers app onto your Windows Phone 8 handset.
Cliff Simpkins, product manager for Windows and Windows Phone at Microsoft, said in a blog post, "Starting today, you can update your personal dev phone(s) to run Windows Phone 8.1 using the Windows Phone Preview for Developers [programme].
"Along with the tooling delivered in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC, developers can now get everything they need to start building and testing Windows Phone apps and universal Windows apps. Even better, Windows Phone Store is also starting to accept app submissions and to enable app linking today - enabling you to bring the universal Windows app experience to your beta users and consumers."
It's unclear when Windows Phone 8.1 will be released to all users, but it likely will coincide with the launch of Nokia's Lumia 930, Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 handsets, which run the updated Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box. The first of these handsets is set to be released in May. µ