Tuesday, August 05, 2014

New Windows Phone 8.1 Update - texting and folders

The update screen for Windows Phone 8.1
Today, Microsoft released a preview version of it's mobile operating system Windows Phone 8.1. There wasn't any massive GUI overhaul or major bug patches, but it's an update almost every Windows Phone user has been waiting for.

If you have never heard of Windows Phone before, let me be the first to say you are missing out. For an in-depth review and comparison against Android and iOS, read this first -> http://allstuffnerdy.blogspot.com/2014/06/tech-wars-mobile-os-edition.html.

Here's what's inside the update:

App folders:
This is something almost every Windows Phone user has been asking for. Microsoft did a similar thing in Windows 8.1 with "App groups", but no one cared because they were all complaining about the metro interface as a whole. As you can see from the screenshots below, It's a nice addition that will help reduce clutter on your home screen. It works the same way as on iOS, just drag an app tile on top of another and it becomes a folder. And you can resize the folder just like with app tiles. the supported sizes are small, medium, and wide.

Multi-message forwarding:
I'm not quite sure if this is something I would ask for in a phone operating system, but I have come across a few experiences where this would be handy. For example, I was once asked to forward about 36 pictures in a text to someone else. Unfortunately, because of the high quality of my camera and the size limit of MMS messages, I could only send about 4 images in one message. So I ended up sending 10 messages (9 with the pictures, one to confirm they had received it. The whole process took about 5 minutes. Later that day, someone else asked me to do the same thing, so there goes another 5 minutes. With this update, all you have to do is select all the messages within a thread you would like to send, and hit forward. Dead simple.

App corner:
Basically, it's the same thing as kid's corner. There are few differences though. The first being you have to either launch it through settings, or pin it to your start. The other thing is it's not as restrictive as kid's corner. Internet and search options are available. You can turn any combination of them on and off. Microsoft says it's for "when other people use your phone". Right...like I would ever trust someone else to do whatever they want on my phone.

Other stuff:
I'm sure Microsoft fixed some bugs here, some memory leaks there, and lowered it's resource use. But on my Windows Phone, I noticed no difference. Props to the developers though, it's still a great mobile phone operating system.