Microsoft has been mum about the details and release date of the Windows Phone 8.1 update, but there are speculations that it will be rolled out in April. For now, fans of the mobile operating system have been lucky to see several leaked images to get a sneak peek of its environment.

The latest images that have surfaced online are screenshots that hint of custom backgrounds for the Start screen. While we have heard of this feature in earlier reports, proof of its possible implementation is a good addition to what we know.

According to the sources, users of the latest mobile OS will have a refreshed settings screen that will allow one to pick either an image or an accent color to customize the appearance of the screen. For the Windows 8.1, there will most likely be a home screen with three columns, a first for Microsoft. This gives handset owners a wider range of options in tweaking the look and feel of their user interface. Those who prefer to familiar two-tone look will still be able to go for that design.


It is pointed out that the option to customize the Live Tiles will not be “On” out of the box and that not all apps will permit skins to be added when a user selects a background image. Microsoft applications such as Xbox Music, Games, and Office will use their custom colors and will not be skinned with images automatically.

Details are very limited about the feature but thinking about it, picking images that will be used as background might be a bit tricky but it surely adds plus points in terms of personalizing the system.

Meanwhile, there have also been reports about Cortana, the digital personal assistant that will be fielded by Microsoft against Apple’s Siri and Google Now. The latest update about Cortana shows that it will look like an animated, bluish circle on one’s screen and far from the imagined female artificial intelligence from the Halo game that inspired its name.

Cortana will be using a Notebook to organize information and data. This will also help the software learn about the behavior of the user and predict how it can assist even before the gadget’s owner asks. There is also a setting that will make Cortina call the user using nicknames such as “Master Chief.”

Before the Mobile World Congress, the company confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be compatible to dual-SIM handsets and of course be backwards-compatible for older Windows Phone 8 units.

Leaked images have also surfaced before about the facelifted notification center for the new version of the software. With one swipe from the top, users will be able to access the “Action Center” to adjust essential settings of the phone. The applications will also be “intelligent” enough to delete what it thinks to be irrelevant notifications for the user.

These bits of information, confirmed as authentic or not, help gain some attention for the Windows Phone 8.1. Remember, the sound we heard when its older sibling was rolled out? Yes, a big thud. If you want it to sound gentler, a flop.

Image Courtesy: WindowsBlogItalia.


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