Windows Phone 8.1 is still rolling out, but Microsoft is already detailing what’s coming in the next major update. The company revealed the news in China early Wednesday, and while the update has a lot of global features, there are also some major changes coming to Windows Phone 8.1 that everyone will enjoy.
First, Cortana is launching in beta form in China and the U.K., and in alpha form in Australia, India and Canada. Cortana is nicknamed Xiao Na in China, and has some additional features, including new animations and sounds, support for Mandarin voice, text and speech, and can also provide details on air quality, driving restrictions and more. In the U.K., she has support for U.K. pronunciations and special data on the London Stock Exchange and local transit lines.
Meanwhile, the first update to Windows Phone 8.1 also includes other major features that everyone can take advantage of when it rolls out. For one, Microsoft is adding live folders, which allows you to organize your home screen content by simply dragging and dropping one icon on top of another one. Xbox Music is also updated with background sync, swipe to advance, support for Kids Corner and more. In addition, the Store Live Tile in Windows Phone 8.1 will soon show updates on the latest apps that are available, SMS will get some management tweaks, and apps corner will allow you to show which apps are displayed. As usual, the update will also include security and privacy enhancements.
Microsoft said the Windows Phone 8.1 Update will be available to Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers users next week and that it will roll out as an update to all users in the coming months.