Microsoft has been super quiet on the Windows Phone front. In fact, we haven’t seen a major update to the platform in more than a year, and that suggests that big changes are on the horizon. One developer who says he or she has access to the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK recently detailed a lot of the alleged changes on Reddit. While we can’t say for sure that what is revealed is factual, it does appear that they have a lot of insight on what kind of changes we can expect in the new release.
Additional changes reportedly include a pre-installed podcast app, support for virtual private networks, the ability to install apps right to a microSD card, a new USB settings page and the option to close out an app by sliding down on the screen. Also, there appears to be one new light blue accent color added to the customization options. The YouTube experience is also supposed to be improved, which is noteworthy since Microsoft and Google have battled over an official YouTube app, forcing Windows Phone users to seek out third party options. Some other minor changes include Xbox Music coming pre-installed, instead of Music and Video apps standing separately, and OneDrive replacing SkyDrive. Earlier leaks have suggested we can expect a real notification center and on-screen button controls, too.
Hopefully Microsoft’s plan to make it easier to create apps for Windows and Windows Phone at the same time expands the Windows Phone portfolio drastically. While these changes are certainly welcome, we also want Microsoft to really push the envelope a lot further with Windows Phone 8.1, and we can’t say we’re feeling blown away just yet.
Our best guess is that we’ll hear more on this front during Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference in early April. That gives Microsoft just about two months to get everything finished up before then. Check out the screenshots above, provided by WPThrowaway, for a look at some of the tweaks.