Tag Archives: Windows Phone 8.1

Viber for Windows Phone Gets Viber Out Support in Latest Update

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Viber, the popular messenger app has just received an update on the Windows platform. Version 4.1 brings some impressive new features, but the one that is particularly exciting is the support for Viber Out.

Viber Out, the service that lets you call non-Viber numbers including landline numbers is not a free service. Users will have to purchase credits, much like Skype to use Viber Out; the attraction being that using Viber Out will be much cheaper than the regular tariff with the potential to save more when you’re in the habit of making loads of international calls.

Another impressive feature included in the new update is the ability to send video messages. For users who are fond of exchanging photos, the Viber 4.1 update includes the option to send multiple photos at one go. Finally, users who have been ruing hands-free support can now rejoice as the latest update brings a seamless transfer of calls to Bluetooth.

If you’ve been a regular Viber user, update your Windows Phone app to take advantage of its cool features. For those of you who are yet to give this one a go, here’s the link to the app on the Windows Phone Store.

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Internet Explorer 11 Comes to Windows Phone 8.1 With Some Exciting New Features

Internet Explorer 11

Microsoft unveiled plenty of Windows Phone 8.1 goodness in its BUILD conference in San Francisco yesterday. The company added a bunch of new features such as a customizable Start screen, new themes, Cortana, and others intended to make the Windows phone experience more personal. Apart from that, Windows phone 8.1 will also ship with the latest version of its browser, Internet Explorer 11.

IE 11 comes with some much needed features including InPrivate browsing, password caching and a Reading mode. InPrivate browsing will allow users to browse incognito as browsing data including history, temporary files and cookies will not stored by IE. Other improvements include the ability to view all open tabs you have on all your Windows devices including all your Favorites settings.

Windows 8.1 will start rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users by summer (May/June), while it will come pre-installed on new launches such as the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635. What do you think about the new improvements to IE 11? Will you start using the browser now that InPrivate browsing has been included?

Take a Sneak Peek at Windows Phone 8.1 Voice Assistant Cortana

The frenzied rumors that Windows 8.1 will be featuring a Siri-like voice assistant in the form of a Halo inspired character Cortana appears to be gaining more foundation. Unleashthephones.com managed to grab Cortana at work in a 2 minute video that shows the basic setup that will get you started on Cortana. Sadly, we don’t get to hear the voice in the video, but if you’re eager to learn a little more about how Cortana, watch the video.

Cortana-Cover

Cortana can be activated either from the Start screen or via the hardware Search button. The first thing you need to do before you get started is sign in with your Microsoft account. Cortana will then ask you a series of questions to get to know you a little bit better. For instance, once you let Cortana know how you wish to be called, it will ask you to choose a couple of answers for a series of questions that include the following:

  • What are a couple of the most enjoyable parts of your everyday evenings?
  • When you think about food, what’s most important to you these days?
  • What are two of your main motivations for going out to an event/activity?
  • When you want to catch up on what’s going on in the world, which section do you go to first?

Cortana will also analyze text messages, location info, contacts, email data, browser history and search history to understand user behavior and habits.

The video also shows us a little bit about how Cortana works during Quiet hours. Basically, Cortana takes care of your calls, texts and other notifications, but you can choose to turn it on, off, or set it to turn on automatically. Some of the options that are allowed during Quiet hours are calls made 2 times in 3 minutes, or calls and text messages made by your “inner circle”.  Contacts who are allowed through may also be notified by Cortana that you are busy.

Cortana is obviously still a work in progress but it is exciting to see a little bit of the software in action. Whado you think of Cortana? Are you looking forward to this Windows Phone 8.1 voice assistant?

What to expect in Windows Phone 8.1 update

On February 10th, Microsoft sent out invites to select Windows developers regarding the Beta release of their Windows Phone 8.1 software development kit (SDK), which is the tool used to make apps. This was promptly leaked out, which pointed to a handful of features that can be expected when the update happens. Let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the prominent features that emerged from the leak. Just remember though that this is just a beta build and there are no guarantees that this will pan out exactly in the final version.

Action Center

We will start off with the much needed Action Center, which should provide a solid management system when it comes to notifications, alerts, history of missed alerts and notifications as well as access to prominent features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Airplane mode and so on.

Volume Settings

Windows Phone 8.1 is also expected to offer support for different volume settings such as for music, for notifications and so on.

Google Calendar

The update is expected to include multiple calendar support for Google Calendars. Users should also be able view weather info and also see the weekly view now.

Podcast App

A fully featured podcast app powered by Bing, is also likely to make an entry with the new update.

Enterprise Support

Windows business users can expect greater enterprise features with built-in VPN support, password protected Office document support, encrypted S/MIME e-mail, EAP-TLS Wi-Fi authentication, certificate management, enhanced MDM policies, access to corporate resources behind the firewall, rebranding of SkyDrive to OneDrive, password changing and remote lock capabilities, support for scanning and OCRing documents with the camera.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer should move to version 11 and offer WebGL and YouTube HTML5 support. IE 11 should be able to offer file uploads as well as the ability to save and remember your website passwords. Tabs are also expected to display individually in the multi-task window.

Sense

There is likely to be an app that monitors and identifies which apps draw more power with the battery saver offering an app exclusion list. Operators should be able control Data Sense limits remotely while Wi-Fi users should be able to share secured WI-Fi with contacts, auto re-enable WI-FI after a set time, and also use Wi-Fi Direct.

System

System support is likely for Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Stereoscopic 3D, Mouse and keyboard (HID), Virtual SmartCard, Geofence monitoring, and a trusted app list for NFC. The device will have to update to the latest version if you want to restore it to factory settings and Windows 8.1 apps will not run on devices running Windows 8. There is also likely to be a chkdsk for SD cards to ensure the health of the card. Miracast and PlayTo will beam via wireless display or USB-out. Wallet is also expected to support tickets and membership cards.

Camera

The camera is expected to get a new layout and a burst feature mode with options to auto delete it if necessary.

Media

Xbox Music and Xbox Video should become standalone apps allowing for more updates to be pushed through. Media editing features should be available for both audio and video along with new audio and video effects and slow-mo videos.

Windows Store

Apps and games data can be stored on SD cards but apps on SD cards will be allowed only from one phone, so if it is stored on another phone, you may have to delete it there before installing on this one. Users will also be able to back up the data to OneDrive if it a feature of the app itself. Users will also have options to update apps automatically, update only if on Wi-Fi, or do manual update checks.

App suggestions based on location should become available along with options to filter installed apps based on usage or installation date. Facebook app should be available along with the OS and update independently. Finally, users should see a single sign on for apps using a Microsoft account.

Messaging

Users should have the ability to change the default SMS app and also choose which app can show notifications. There are also options to mute threads and notifications and Live Tile updates.

Email

Email is likely to get a few new features such as syncing based on usage, options to download email with pictures, and encrypted and signed email support.

Keyboard

Some keyboard enhancements are likely such as emoji displays when typing and swipe keyboard options.

Contacts

Voice commands, contact sorting, call details menu, creation of an inner circle of contacts and installation of certain apps by operators (based on SIM detection) are some of the enhancements likely in the phone contacts section.

Other Changes

Users can also expect changes in the start screen backgrounds, live tiles ( 3 column support and marking as red), nav bar display, Kids corner bug fixes, double tap functionality to include unlocking the phone and powering off, favoriting photos, file picker, Back button functionality to suspend rather than close apps, quite hours, new screenshot shortcut with power and volume button, Search button to open Cortana, option to set a default voice nav app, voice narrator for accessibility, and swiping down to close apps in the multitask view.

It does appear that the latest update will not completely unify the Windows ecosystem, but at least its getting a lot closer.