Microsoft Shows Off Windows Phone OS Upgrade

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Microsoft has announced the launch of its latest Windows Phone OS upgrade to version 8.1 at its developer conference.

Among the new features, users will get a personal digital assistant, that it is calling Cortana, as well as a new Action Centre and support for customised lockscreens and a return the old days, personalised wallapers..

Cortana is expected to be the Microsoft equivalent of Google Now and Apple's Siri, and replaces the search bar option in the WP based smartphones. The back-end is powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine, and it is customised to provide information based on how users actually use their phone.

It can also though be expanded to work with third party apps, and they are already supporting local restaraunt reviews from Yelp, and plan to add more later.

It is just a beta release at first though.

A closer tie-in with Skype will enable incoming calls to be switched over to Skype video calls with a single click.

The new Action Centre provides handset status information, apps notifications and can also add four user selected buttons.

A new high-density layout is available that shrinks the size of the tiles to cram more of them into the screen space.

The OS will start rolling out to users in the next few months.

Microsoft also announced that two new handset manufacturers will start producing WP based phones, Micromax and Prestigio -- taking the total to 12 smartphone vendors.

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Cortana

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Tags: microsoft  windows phone 

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