Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Apr 2014 16:59 UTC

Microsoft released Windows Phone 8.1 to those who enrolled in the developer preview program (i.e., everyone).

Ars' Peter Bright in his review of 8.1:

The result feels a whole lot more mature and a whole lot more capable than its predecessor. The 0.1 version bump, chosen to align the phone platform with its desktop sibling, belies the true nature of this upgrade. It is substantial, and makes Windows Phone tremendously better.

We might still wish that there were a few more apps, and that developers spoke of the platform in the same breath as iOS and Android, but even in spite of this, Windows Phone 8.1 is a polished, fun, clever, and personal smartphone platform that's just about everyone can enjoy. It's a magnificent smartphone platform.

I've been using it since earlier today, and the notification centre (finally) alone is more than enough to make this a fantastic update. Sadly, my HTC 8X does not seem to be supported by Cortana - other 8X owners are reporting the same, as do 8X owners on Twitter - which makes me worry a little about Cortana, perhaps, being an exclusive feature for Nokia phones, or it having some other restrictive limitations. That, honestly, would be a shame.

Update: Here's an 8X with Cortana working just fine, so the original worries clearly aren't necessary.

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by wocowboy on Tue 15th Apr 2014 10:27 UTC
Member since:

I don't understand all the angst over WP not having a "notification center". When WP was introduced, I thought the Home screen was supposed to BE a kind of Notification Center and thus obviate the need for one. In fact, reviews at the time touted the constantly updating, twisting, flipping, flickering tiles all over the Home screen showing your text messages, Facebook updates, latest pictures posted by your friends, email subjects and senders, what song was playing on your streaming music service, and on & on, were THE differentiating feature that made WP better and more unique from iOS and Android, showing that you did not need a separate, old-fashioned notification screen that you had to call on to see what was new. Then before you know it, people started complaining about not having a notification center like iOS and Android. I hope WP users are happy now, with both a notification center AND the flippy/flickery updating tiles.

Edited 2014-04-15 10:29 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Notifications
by Dano on Tue 15th Apr 2014 12:34 in reply to "Notifications"
Dano Member since:

I agree... The notification center is kind of pointless if you have the tiles setup correctly with the most important tiles showing on the screen without scrolling. I am not sure yet what besides emails is going to show up in the notification center at this point... Just looks like a me-to feature at the moment. Just discovered that you can both swipe our hit X in the multitask area to close an app... Talk about me-to.

Edited 2014-04-15 12:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Notifications
by reduz on Tue 15th Apr 2014 17:52 in reply to "Notifications"
reduz Member since:

My problem with WP wasn't as much the lack of notification center. I think I was ok with what there was. It was mainly the really slow multitasking, like when you touch the livetile to see the messages. for SMS it was instant, but many apps like Whatsapp, Skype, GChar, etc took an eternity to open and show you the messages. Some (like skype) would lose context and restart and then you had to go and search for those yourself.

If this had worked properly and everything was like checking SMSs or Mails, I don't think anyone would really have complained, but what there was in there was pretty annoying.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Notifications
by Morgan on Tue 15th Apr 2014 19:09 in reply to "RE: Notifications"
Morgan Member since:

Some (like skype) would lose context and restart and then you had to go and search for those yourself.

This is what really blows my mind when it comes to Microsoft and integration. Skype is a Microsoft service, why isn't it fully integrated into the WP OS? Even my five year old N900 has better, faster, more native Skype integration than Microsoft's own phones. If Microsoft can integrate Facebook messaging -- a third party service -- as seamlessly as they do into the messaging system, why not Skype too?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Notifications
by Dano on Wed 16th Apr 2014 13:38 in reply to "RE: Notifications"
Dano Member since:

Multitasking is not an issue anymore. 8.1 has new memory schemes to prevent the Resuming message. These schemes are based on the amount of available memory on the device. On faster devices like 925 its not a problem even under 8.0.

Reply Parent Score: 3