A Note from the Author: Kalvin Falconar @ Microsoft
The attached Windows Device Choices – April 2014 spreadsheet contains many new mobile devices. It has been reorganized with tabs for Device Choices (Commercial Tablets & Phones), Rugged + Specialized, Retail and Healthcare specific. When I discover specific unique devices, or accessories, I will continue to update this spreadsheet.
Windows Phone 8.1 – Cool New Features
Last week Windows Phone 8.1 was announced – more personal and even smarter than Windows Phone is today. Some of the cool things showcased:
· Cortana - your personal digital assistant. With a name inspired by the popular AI character from Halo, Cortana builds a relationship with you by learning about your interests and habits and then brings information to you as you need it. You can talk to Cortana through your voice or your keyboard, and when she replies you’ll notice she has a real personality!
· An enhanced Start screen: Between the ability to customize your Start background with a photo and the option for a third row of tiles on all phones, Windows Phone 8.1 provides you with an even bolder canvas for expressing your individuality
· Delighters such as Action Center, which lets you see notifications from any app, a new Calendar with week view and integrated weather like you get in Outlook, and the new Word Flow keyboard that lets you glide quickly over the keys to type and learns your writing style too
· A new Skype app, split Music, Video and Podcast apps, and cool features that help you get the most your data allowance, battery life and storage: Data Sense, Wi-Fi-Sense, Storage Sense and Battery Saver
· Amazing new ways that Windows and Windows Phone work together: Synced tabs and favourites with Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone, newer apps that let you purchase once and use on both your phone and PC, and theme colour changes that follow you across all your Windows devices!
And with Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has made it easier to connect with business apps and services with suite of new features, such as VPN and S/MIME support and customizable Mobile Device Management (MDM) enrollment. With great new features for consumers and businesses, Windows Phone will become THE #1 phone choice for Enterprise.
Note that Windows Phone 8.1 availability for customers is dependent on the mobile operator or phone manufacturer, and will vary by country, region, and hardware capabilities. Cortana will launch shortly here in the US first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the UK and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.
Initial Reviews here:
Windows 8.1 Update - Enhancements and Improvements
Windows 8.1 Update represents a great collection of improvements that give people even more familiar and convenient experiences. Microsoft has delivered easier access to your favourite apps and controls:
· The ability to pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store to your desktop taskbar
· Power and search buttons in the upper-right hand corner so you can more quickly shut down and do a search right from the Start screen
Some of our biggest Windows fans are diehard keyboard and mouse users, so while we think touch is the future, for people using a PC without touch or folks who just prefer to mouse/keyboard we made Windows 8.1 Update easier with enhancements such as:
· Right-click on an app tile to get a menu
· Scrolling to the top of a Windows Store app to see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons
· Moving the mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app to make the taskbar appear
Apps continue to be a focus area from the standpoint of making even more apps available to customers as well as making them easier to find. With Windows 8.1 Update, we’ve made improvements in the discoverability of apps:
· The Windows Store is now pinned on the taskbar for fast app discovery
· Apps in the Windows Store show up in Bing Smart Search results.
One of the best new features for Windows 8.1 Update is Internet Explorer 11 Enterprise Mode that enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11, allowing enterprises to run their existing web-based applications seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices. If you find users are installing Chrome or Firefox for compatibility, you have to check this out immediately and test it in your environment. Available now, for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.
Windows 8.1 Update is available for consumers on April 8th via Windows Update and Windows Store, for developers on MSDN/TechNet it was available , with full media published on April 8th, and for enterprise customers via VLSC on April 14th.