New Windows Phone 8.1 Details Revealed?October 9, 2013 No Comments
With all of us awaiting the many new features and fixes that the GDR3 update will bring to Windows Phone 8. A bigger and better update awaits us in the Windows Phone 8.1 (blue) update which we should see early next year. Nothing we have heard yet has been confirmed but the WinSuperSite put together a nice list of changes and features that are rumored to be coming to the Windows Phone 8.1 platform. Nothing here is 100% but “information appears credible” at least.
- Universal binaries. Microsoft is currently pushing the notion of universal binaries that would let developers create a single app that can run both on Windows RT and Windows Phone. This is opt-in because of size issues, apparently, but could eventually become a requirement. Where Windows Phone 8 has 33 percent “API unity” with Windows RT, Windows Phone 8.1 will hit 77 percent.
- Multitasking. Microsoft has supposedly flagged multitasking as Windows Phone’s biggest technical issue. GDR3 will fix some issues—it will let users manually close apps, for example—but notifications and background processes are a mess and quite inefficient. These issues will apparently be addressed by 8.1.
- Bigger screens. Where GDR3 is widely expected to support 5- to 6-inch screens, 8.1 will supposedly support 7- to 10-inch screens as well. This obviously infringes on Windows RT/8.x tablets, so it’s not clear what the thinking is there.
- No more Back button. Aping the iPhone navigation model, Microsoft will apparently remove the Back button from the Windows Phone hardware specification with 8.1. The Back button just doesn’t make sense, I was told: Users navigate away from an app by pressing the Start button and then open a new app, just like they do on iPhone. And the “back stack” is ill-understood by users: Most don’t realize what they’re doing when they repeatedly hit the Back button.
- Low-cost/volume vs. High-cost/luxury. With the Lumia 520 and 620, Windows Phone has found its niche in the low end of the market. This has helped sales, but Microsoft has always wanted to position Windows Phone as a high-end system like iPhone, which is where the money is. Obviously, they’re not going to walk away from market share gains, but low-end phones have technical limitations that harm the platform’s forward progress. And this is what sank Windows PC sales when the netbook arrived. The push to 1080p screens and bigger devices will determine whether Windows Phone can break out of this mold.
Most of this makes alot of sense, hopefully Microsoft will start spilling the beans themselves soon.