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Wp 8.1 Confirmations At Build


CommonTek
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This was a great keynote, Joe Belfiore did a great job. A few major leaks that were confirmed.

 

  • Notifications - Customizable, very Android like.  Nice.
  • Home Screen Personalization - Three rows, more tile sizes, background pictures that show through the tiles.  This creates a wicked cool effect, something IOS and Android do not have. The tiles are still discernable, but are transparent.  You can use the standard themes as well of course.
  • Lock Screen Personalization - I was on a conference call during this part but the lock screen does have some new personalization options.
  • Cortana - This was the big one.  It will be called Cortana.  The UI is the same as was leaked. The voice is very good, very natural vs. the robotic Siri.  The majority of time was spent on this.  It will be released as BETA in the US only first, then rolled out to Europe, China, etc at a later date.  It is powered by BING.  It will search either by voice or keyed input just like Google Now.  It will give suggested questions as well based on the permissions you allow it via history and a personal notebook of some kind.  It will also search your email and other feeds (I believe) if you allow it to add things to your calendar and notifications just like Google Now.  There were a couple of bugs during the demo but nothing major or different than Google Now & Siri have today.  This appears it could be the perfect mix of Google Now & Siri after a year or so of continued development during Beta period. 
  • New Hardware coming, a couple new partners as well (nobody I have heard of but hey, positives...)
  • There are about a hundred items I am sure to be missing as I was in and out but it was really exciting! My next phone will surely be a WP device now, the advantages of WP and Android to me are now blurred other than App support but if MS continues to make leaps as they have with 8.1, they will be not just caught up but may have passed the competition in feature sets within the next 1-2 years.

 

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Shape Typing - Or as the rest of the world will call it, 'Swype' for Windows Phone.  Personally this is a big win for me as that was one of my favorite Android functions/features.  There was a neat video of some kid beating the current world record for texting using the new 'Shape' input method.  I know many people on WP aren't excited about this necessarily, but for many android users, it is something they demand and having the option is great for WP.

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There better be more than three rows. Reducing that is not acceptable.

 

I love swype.

 

When is it due out.

 

 

 

Sent from my Lumia 928 using Tapatalk

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When I say three rows, I mean three columns for the standard size tiles just like on the Icon and 1520 today but the standard I believe will allow for three columns on all 8.1 devices. In theory if you went with the small tiles, you could get six across I believe.

 

To be clear, it isn't truly 'Swype' but really it is. Same concept, drag your finger across keyboard and the word populates. It combines that and the great predictive functionality that already exists.

 

No firm 8.1 release date was given, Joe said in the next couple of months but I believe the new lumia 630 is slated to drop in May so 8.1 release has to be just 4-6 weeks out.

 

 

Also MS confirmed ALL WP8 Lumia devices will be updates to 8.1!

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Most of this was leaked which takes the fun out of days like today.  One thing I like about Cortana that I hate about Google now is that it will use whatever stuff you have on your phone to work.  Google now will only use your gmail account.  So if I have flight info sent to my work exchange account Google Now does nothing.  No flight updates etc, whereas Cortana will go through your accounts on phone to get the info.  

 

The keyboard looked really good, it already does a good job at predictive text so this makes it a great keyboard.

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