Microsoft is updating its Windows Phone software with a handful of new features and a focus on international customers. Windows Phone 8.1 Update begins rolling out to developers the first week of August, and it should be available to everyone this fall.

Windows Phone 8.1 Update

One of the most noticeable changes is support for Live Folders. This lets you drag a group of Live Tiles from your home screen into folders.

Since Live Tiles are one of the key features that set Windows Phone apart from the competition, letting you view updates from your apps on the home screen, this is kind of a big deal. To create a folder, just drag one tile over to another to create a folder tile. You’ll still see updates from the apps in that group in the folder tile.

Microsoft is also expanding availability of the Cortana voice assistant feature that launched with Windows Phone 8.1. The update brings beta support for China and the UK and Windows Phone users in Canada, India, and Australia can test an alpha release… which is basically Microsoft’s way of saying Cortana’s available, but it might still be pretty buggy.

Other changes in Windows Phone 8.1 Update include Xbox Music improvements (including background sync and improved loading and scrolling), the ability to select multiple SMS messages at once to delete or forward, and privacy and security improvements.

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5 replies on “Windows Phone 8.1 Update brings Live Folders, takes Cortana international”

  1. It’s been interesting to see how Windows Phone evolves. Cortana has worked well for me. I think Microsoft has something good there as long as they keep on improving it. I’m very interested to see how far personal digital assistants can improve. Folders are definitely something that helps WP catch up to iOS and Android.

  2. I remember MS pulling the plug on my old windows phone services before my contract was up, spinning it that now I had access to exciting new things. .. just not on the phone I contracted for.
    My smart phone then became useless for the second half of my contact for anything other than phone calls.
    For that alone MS can bite me.

      1. Yeah that’s what I thought too, but that’s Microsoft for ya.

    1. Yep. How many times has Microsoft “re-booted” their mobile OS since 2000? I think they may be due for another one, soon. 🙂

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