What is Windows Phone 8.1?
Windows Phone 8.1 is the latest phone/mobile release from Microsoft. It utilizes the new tile format first released in Windows Phone 7 then on desktops and laptops in Windows 8. This is format is not a simple upgrade to the popular Windows Mobile Enterprise devices running windows mobile 5.0 – 6.5 on millions and millions of Business/Enterprise solutions but instead starting with Windows 7 it is a complete framework overhaul, so software written for the Windows Mobile 5.0 – 6.5 devices is not able to be installed onto these new phones without a complete re-write. (So that’s the downside). But they are also not targeted toward Business/Enterprise solutions. So what is the future of Windows Mobile???
What’s new in Windows Phone 8.1?
Well Halo fans should be excited (at least I am). One of our favorite characters will be added as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 experience. That is Jen Tayler will reprise her voice over work as the AI voice of Cortana from the Halo games, but this time as your own phone as your own AI personal assistant still named Cortana. So look out Siri, here comes Cortana.
In addition to Cortana, the new Bing powered AI personal assistant, some of the other new features include:
- An optional 3rd column of tiles on the start screen
- User customizable backgrounds on the start screen
- IE 11
- Built in VPN support
- substantial updates to Skype, Calendar, Windows Phone Store, and XBOX Music
When will Windows Phone 8.1 be available?
Developers should be able to get it for development and testing later this month (April 2014), and it should be available for updates to existing Windows Phones starting this Summer (May/June 2014).
I still need Windows Mobile.
So though we still don’t know the future Enterprise device solution direction for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile devices, we do know manufacturers such as Motorola, Nautiz, Intermec and DataLogic along with Microsoft fully realize that there are millions and millions of Windows Mobile device solutions in the marketplace and that these manufacturers all continue to offer new Windows Mobile devices and support. (We of course offer all of these lines of hardware products)
So Windows Phone 8.1 has some great new Consumer features, it has not really hit the Enterprise needs of hardware with physical keyboards for quick line item data entry, barcode scanners, ruggedized devices…