Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Feb 2014 14:16 UTC
Windows

A lot of new features in Windows Phone 8.1 - to be released around April - are starting to appear. First and foremost, it seems Windows Phone is finally getting a notification centre, which was long overdue. Microsoft originally intended live tiles to replace notifications, but as someone who has used Windows Phone extensively, live tiles are annoying in that they don't always show the notification count, and on top of that, are generally too small to contain enough information, forcing you to go into the application anyway, defeating their purpose. It seems Microsoft has finally figured out that a notification centre is pretty much mandatory these days.

Furthermore, the private SDK releases reveal some more information, including some low-level changes.

The first significant change appears to be the initial signs of a Windows Phone and Windows RT merger. Microsoft has been hinting at this plan, and the SDK includes "Universal App" support with templates to build Windows Store and Windows Phone Store apps from the same shared HTML and JavaScript code.

There's more interesting stuff in there, like the ability to change the default messaging application, the back button will no longer terminate applications but suspend them, an improved camera application, and more.

All in all, it does look like a worthy update for Windows Phone users, but there's nothing in there that other platforms haven't been enjoying for years now. In other words, it doesn't really contain anything that gives the platform an edge over the competition or that makes it stand out. None of these features is going to convince an iOS or Android user from leaving their platform behind. Still, these are just the new features and changes extracted from the private SDK, so there's bound to be more stuff hiding in the shadows that we don't yet know about.

It's curious though that the preview SDK releases are private, something that was met with lots of complaints back during the run-up Windows Phone 8, since it means developers can't get their stuff ready before the release hits. Luckily, though, the new developer program does mean anyone can get the 8.1 update as soon as it's released.

I'm hoping my relatively old HTC 8X won't be left out of the loop, because this looks like a worthy update for Windows Phone users.

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Yawn
by reduz on Tue 11th Feb 2014 15:16 UTC
reduz
Member since:
2006-02-25

Still no OpenGL or ability to compile shaders on the fly.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Yawn
by Nelson on Tue 11th Feb 2014 18:49 in reply to "Yawn"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Assuming that 8.1 Shader work carries over to the Phone, so this will change.

Also webGL support in IE11 and consequently HTML5 apps (also supported with WinJS)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Yawn
by moondevil on Tue 11th Feb 2014 19:24 in reply to "Yawn"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Who cares?! Game engines abstract OS specific APIs anyway.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Yawn
by JAlexoid on Tue 11th Feb 2014 21:51 in reply to "RE: Yawn"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Since when is OpenGL OS specific?!?!?!

Reply Parent Score: 2