Windows Phone 8.1 Update Arrives to Make Every Lumia 1520 Feel Brand New

Just moments ago AT&T announced that it’d began deploying Windows Phone 8.1, the update that includes the Cortana personal assistant and a ton of other features, to users of the Nokia Lumia 1520. In short, every Lumia 1520 is about to become the ultimate alternative to Android smartphones and Apple’s ever-popular iPhone.

As of right now every user who purchased the Lumia 1520 will find that they can now get the Windows Phone 8.1 update. That a carrier is deploying any update for a smartphone at all is certainly news – it definitely doesn’t happen as often as it should – but this one is more important because it’s Windows Phone 8.1.

With Windows Phone 8.1 the Lumia 1520, and every other Windows Phone that gets in the future, morph into serious Android and iPhone competitors. That’s because the update is stuffed full of features that both iPhone and Android users will appreciate.

The Nokia Lumia 1520's display performs very well in direct sunlight when compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Apple's iPhone 5.

Previous versions of Windows Phone don’t include a digital assistant. As such, users who liked the idea of having Google Now read their mail and manage they’re life wouldn’t take a Windows Phone seriously. Likewise, iPhone users who’d grown accustomed to asking Siri questions were out of luck too. That Windows Phone 8.1’s Cortana assistant steals features from both is key. Users can ask their  Windows Phone questions and get answers, but Cortana will also pass on information when it’s relevant.

Android has let users customize their keyboard for a while now. Windows Phone 8.1 doesn’t open the Lumia 1520 and other Windows Phones up to third-party keyboards, but it does add one of its own. Dubbed WordFlow, it’s meant as a replacement for Swype, a third-party keyboard that’s already available on Android and will come to the iPhone when iOS 8 launches this fall.

Read: Windows Phone 8: It’s An iPhone Killer Almost

A file system, customizable lock-screen, in-browser video playback – some of Android’s most useful tricks – are included in the Windows Phone 8.1 update too.

The Windows Phone 8.1 update also adds a ton of features designed to make owning a purchasing a Windows Phone when you have a Windows tablet, laptop or desktop a logical choice. Web histories, passwords, favorites will sync between Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1. The information in some apps will sync too. Windows 8.1 users can even activate the Wi-Fi hotspot on their Windows Phones without having to pull it out of their pocket. A limited number of apps also allow users to purchase once and use them on both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1.

Nokia, now officially Microsoft Mobile, announced that it’d began deploying the Windows Phone 8.1 update just a week or so ago. At that time, the announcement wasn’t heralded as an exciting development because carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile still had to approve the update before users receive it. Today, the Lumia 1520 is getting the Windows Phone 8.1 update in America but hardly any other devices are. Even AT&T’s Lumia 925, Lumia 920, Lumia 1020, Lumia 820 and Lumia 520 Windows Phones aren’t getting the update yet.

That being said, there are a few new Windows Phones with the Windows Phone 8.1 update being sold. The Lumia 635 is such a device, but it’s currently only available to T-Mobile subscribers. Internationally the Lumia 930 also includes the Windows Phone 8.1 update, but it’s not sold in the United States.

AT&T didn’t provide any guidance for when owners of its other Windows Phones could expect the Windows Phone 8.1 update. If the deployment of the Lumia 1520 version is any indication, users can expect the update over the next month or so, maybe.

Lumia 1520 users should open the Settings app and look for the option labeled Phone Update. A Wi-Fi connection isn’t a bad idea either.