Windows Phone 8.1 Gets Better with Cortana, Live Folders and Improved Xbox Music App

Microsoft has updated Windows Phone 8.1 with the addition of Cortana. As of today, Cortana is available in beta version for people in China and UK and as an alpha build for people in Canada, India and Australia.

Cortana is your personal assistant on your Windows Phone. It is nick named as ‘Xiao Na’ in China and it offers the following features

  • Tracking Information
  • Ability to set reminders and quiet hours
  • Different visual appearance, animations and sounds
  • Mandarin support in voice, text and speech
  • Ability to provide air quality information in weather cards
  • Ability to track local TV shows and celebrities
  • Info about Driving restrictions
  • Bing Dictionary support

Cortana includes features specific to UK:

  • Support for UK spellings and pronunciations
  • Bing-provided local data on sports teams
  • commuter conditions

In addition to the above features, Cortana also offers cheer to people in US

  • New natural language scenarios
  • Snooze times for reminders
  • Ability to invoke Cortana hands-free in your car for phones connected to car Bluetooth kits

Microsoft has rolled out Alpha phase of Cortana for people in Canada, India and Australia on an opt-in basis. People in these countries will be able to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK.

The recent Windows Phone 8.1 update includes an ability to organize apps into folders on the start screen. Microsoft has named it as Live Folders since the live tiles of apps appear in the tile of the folders. In order to create a Live Folder, you need to drag a tile over another tile and provide a name for the folder.

If you are a music lover, the Xbox Music app has been updated with improved performance in areas such as app load and list

“And in the coming month, there will be a quickplay of recent playback activities, and support for Kids Corner”, said Joe
Belfiore, Microsoft.

If you install the recently released update, you will view a new live title named ‘Store’, which provides updates on the latest apps. The title will be automatically refreshed every 6 hours.

Windows Phone 8.1 now supports SMS merge and forwarding, which enables you to select multiple SMS messages for deletion
and forwarding, making it easier to manage your text messages.

With the help of the newly introduced Apps Corner, you will be able to specify apps which should be displayed in a special
sandboxed mode.

Microsoft is planning to add several new features to Windows Phone 8.1 in the upcoming months especially improved Cortana
for India region.

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