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

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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RE: Nothing to give it an edge
by bert64 on Wed 12th Feb 2014 09:39 UTC in reply to "Nothing to give it an edge"
Member since:

There are a number of reasons to remove USB mounting...

1, USB mounting practically requires FAT (not because its any good, but because thats all MS will bother supporting), which doesnt have support for file permissions among other things.
2, FAT isn't cluster aware, so the phone has to unmount the filesystem before passing it to the USB host - which means upsetting any applications which had files open.
3, MS hold patents on FAT32, and have threatened android vendors with this.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Nothing to give it an edge
by zima on Thu 13th Feb 2014 17:55 in reply to "RE: Nothing to give it an edge"
zima Member since:

1, USB mounting practically requires FAT (not because its any good, but because thats all MS will bother supporting)

Windows supports NTFS-formatted pendrives just fine... ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

phoenix Member since:

And ISO9660, and UDF, and exFAT.

FAT32 is not the only filesystem that Windows supports.

Reply Parent Score: 2