A new video showcasing many of the features coming to users with the Windows Phone 8.1 update has surfaced that details all of the new features users can expect when it finally arrives on their devices sometime this spring.
As one might expect, the video, which was posted to YouTube by WinBeta late yesterday, details nearly all of the features that yesterday’s reports indicated were on the way. In fact, the video goes into so much detail about these dozens of new features coming in the Windows Phone 8.1 update that it lasts a full twelve minutes from start to finish.
The media outlet was able to compile the video by loading a copy of the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK that Microsoft released to developers earlier this week. In the video the user begins by opening a series of apps and then demonstrating the changes Microsoft has made to the way users close apps on Windows Phone. For example, users close apps in the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK by opening the multitasking menu with the back button and dragging each app to the bottom of their screen. That’s a process very similar to the way users close apps in Windows 8.
The video also dives into the Settings app and reveals a feature that wasn’t detailed in yesterday’s report. A new Project My Screen setting invites users to showcase what’s on their screen to a “TV, monitor or projector.” An error message in the video indicates that users will need to connect their Windows Phone 8.1 device through USB to get the feature to work. It’s unclear whether that feature will work in the same way that the Project option works in Windows 8.1. With it users can wirelessly connect to an Xbox One for video and audio playback almost seamlessly.
The video also reveals that users will be able to lock or hide what Windows Phone 8.1 now considers the Navigation Bar, that is the Back, Windows and Search buttons that all Windows Phones are currently required to have below their display. Last fall rumors surfaced that Microsoft would move to give device makers the option of creating Windows Phones that use on-screen buttons instead of the hardware buttons of today. Apparently, users will be able to have the Windows Phone 8.1 navigation bar “match their background.”
One of the most interesting observations from the video is the slate of included applications packed in with the early software build. The developer software includes native versions of Bing Finance, Bing News and other Bing apps that haven’t been included with Windows Phone 8 in the past. This would seem to point to Microsoft now including these apps on Windows Phone 8 devices just like it does on Windows 8.
It’s also worth noting that the Music + Video Hub is gone. Whether Microsoft will simply bundle its new separate Xbox Music & Video apps with Windows Phone 8.1 remains a mystery.
Microsoft is expected to formally introduce Windows Phone 8.1 to the world at its upcoming press event at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month. It isn’t expected to formally share all of the operating system’s features until its BUILD 2014 conference in April.
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