VPN Support, Siri-like Cortana voice PA, notification centre and more with WP8.1 in April

| December 16, 2013 | 54 Replies


WP8.1 may be coming in April according to TheVerge who says MS is set to unveil the latest big iteration of the OS at the build developer conference.

  • Notification centre, swipe down
  • Long swipe down retrieves the notification centre
  • Quick swipe down reveals quick settings
  • Cortana – enhanced voice controls to create and remind of appointments etc
  • Separate volume controls for ringtones/media
  • Bing smart search
  • VPN for enterprise users.
  • Social app extension in people hub
  • Nokia has two handsets prepared for this new OS, with
  • Goldfinger taking on 3D touch
  • Money penny with buttonless screens

Now remember when it was reported that MS had addressed some of these features but had to then retract that? I was wondering, what with MS being all shut up and ship, why they’d let everyone know months in advance and perhaps that retraction was a ‘woops, you’re not allowed to know yet’ which suggests perhaps that, although not mentioned, there’s a chance for the likes of file manager too?


Cheers Alvester and prashant for the tip!

Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at mynokiablog.com and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and  Facebook.com/mynokiablog. Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@)mynokiablog.com or email me directly on jay[at]mynokiablog.com

Comments (54)

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  1. SmoledMan says:

    Too little, too late MS. Might as well close up shop and return the cash to the shareholders. Nobody really needs MS software. Linux.

    • mj12 says:

      Sure….the OS with 1.56% Market share.

    • tom says:

      “Nobody really needs MS software”
      suuure, only 90%

    • efekt says:

      Uh god thank you for writing this! MS would never had known about your insightful analysis otherwise!
      They just called and told me to thank you for your comment, and that they’ll act fast to do as you say as soon as possible.

    • twig says:

      I just ordered the Nokia 520 at Amazon for $49 !!! Great price, great gift. If I wanted android from Google with Eric Schmidt cheating on his wife and family, I would not respect myself.

      • smoledman says:

        I’m shocked that there are people that are shocked that software development isn’t an instantaneous process! Look what MS is really guilty of is not beginning on Windows Phone back in 2005. When you look at their progress starting 4 years ago, it’s nothing short of amazing.

  2. Ravn92 says:

    That’s whats been taking so long? There better be more, atleast minor things like more colors, the option to disable autocorect and other stuff etc.

  3. Sowed says:

    Honestly, the first phone i ever owned that could play mp3 would let you forward through the song. Windows phone cannot. Every other OS I have used handles music players separately. Windows phone does not. .. Do you guys see where I’m heading.
    Point is Windows Phone 8.1 is going to finally bring SOME of the basic features that have been available on every java OS I have used.

  4. mawire says:

    I love the new website. Very
    user friendly

  5. Luisito says:

    April!!!!!!…. Why not the next decade????… MS slow as always…

    • Arth. says:

      Try writing software, then you’ll shut up.

      • Luisito says:

        I know it’s hard… I’m studying it… But still MS the expert at doing the things sloww (and overpromise)… Still waiting a decent Multitask experience (how the workflow goes, hating those littler dots everytime an app resume) and a file manager….

        • Random Random says:


          You have to remember that in the past Nokia didn’t have a decent multitasking experience with Symbian. It was quite usual that if you worked on one application, switched to another and then switched back, all your work was gone.

          While this is still possible on modern smartphones, it doesn’t happen that often. Applications are quite often forced to save the data when they are forced to close by the system.

          This wasn’t the case with Symbian applications.

          • MoritzJT says:

            What the hell are you talking about, Symbian S60v2 or older?

            Since v3 proper multitasking was possible without the loss of any efforts ongoing in between.

            Please back up your claims.

            • Random Random says:

              Possible doesn’t mean that the applications were using it.

              Please try to understand the differences between the real world and the Nokia fantasy world.

              • MoritzJT says:

                You can’t make your app ‘multitask’. It’s not like that. Whatever your app does doesn’t get lost upon switching between apps. That’s the way OS handles tasks and processes etc.

                Whatever app did lose data when it was in background was faulty – certainly not lacking any multitasking implementation. Sorry but you did not back up your claims.

                • Random Random says:

                  You probably don’t know how it should be done.

                  What happens if the device runs out of memory and a task is ended? If there is some unsaved work?

          • Shaun says:

            “You have to remember that in the past Microsoft, Apple and Google didn’t have a decent multitasking experience with Windows Phone, iOS and Android. It was quite usual that if you worked on one application, switched to another and then switched back, all your work was gone.”

            There, FTFY.

            I presume that’s what you meant as Symbian has had pre-emtive multi-tasking since birth and you can leave apps open for weeks and come back and still find you’re halfway through replying to a comment you started weeks ago.

            Jeebus, I mean how wrong can you possibly be?

            • Random Random says:


              Symbian did have pre-emptive multitasking, but it didn’t give the users a decent multitasking experience since the developers were not forced to create applications saving the applications state when the OS closed them.

              Also, Symbian had some other issues with multitasking.

              If some application was left running on the background, it quite often drained the battery since the OS didn’t have a way to do something about that.

              Then again applications like WhatsApp were forced to left running on the background in order to make it receive messages. For example on iOS WhatsApp can be closed and can still receive messages from other people. This can’t be done with the Symbian version.

    • xxx says:

      April Fools’ Day… let’s sing:
      I’m so happy that I can’t stop crying
      I’m so happy I’m laughing through my tears…

    • SK says:

      Better April than next decade, no? Also, I’m pissed about the time it’s taken, but if the update is major, I’ll take it.

  6. Viipottaja says:

    Jay, you may want to modify, this part was a bit confusing:

    “Notification centre, swipe down
    Long swipe down retrieves the notification centre
    Quick swipe down reveals quick settings”

    This is what Verge says which sounds a lot clearer and sensible:

    “New quick settings are exposed by a short swipe from the top, and a longer swipe will display a full notification history”

  7. BarryB says:

    Separate media / ringtone volume! Sign me up :)

  8. Patata says:

    So we’ll get those basic features in just about a half year from now? Amazing… /s

    • Random Random says:


      Nokia promised to deliver a great touch screen UI for Symbian and never delivered. When did they promise that? 2007? 2008?

      Certainly took more than 6 months to deliver.

    • Mark says:

      From my point of view, WP is already better than iOS or Android (particularly Android, which remains horrible and clunky).

      This is a nice bonus.

      But then I actually have a WP8 device and don’t whine about things I don’t have or never use.

      • Patata says:

        Yep, WP might be enough for users who don’t expect that much from a smartphone. People who just want a feature phone with touchscreen ;)
        The difference between Android and Windows Phone is, that Android gives the user much more options to customize / optimize their experience. With Apps supporting much more Apis or even more optimized custom roms. MS offers nothing like that for WP, so no one else but MS is able to add new features and optimize the UX.
        And yes there are people like me, who actually own a WP8 device and expect more from it. People who didn’t buy their device cause WP is such a perfect OS.

        • Random Random says:


          We have two types of users.

          Those who want to use the phone they have.

          And those who don’t really use it but are into modifying it.

          • Patata says:

            But how to use features that just aren’t available?
            You could also say, there are those users who know what they want to use a smartphone for, and others who want to let a company like Microsoft or Apple decide for them how to use and what to use on their devices ;)

            • Random Random says:

              The modifiers usually say that they don’t need those features the competition has.

              For a long time they claimed how Instagram was useless and not needed.

              How convenient.

        • Mark says:

          “The difference between Android and Windows Phone is, that Android gives the user much more options to customize / optimize their experience.”

          No-one cares though. Apple taught us that a good user experience trumps features no-one cares about.

          • Random Random says:


            To be honest there are few people who care about that kind of opportunity but they are a niche and not something Nokia or any major mobile phone manufacturer should focus on.

          • Rich says:

            “No-one cares though. Apple taught us that a good user experience trumps features no-one cares about.”

            So that’s why Apple has 13% marketshare and Android has over 80%?

            I have an Android now, after a Lumia (7.5 and 8), and I’m not particularly fussed about customising it. There are things I miss, like the people hub and pinned contacts on the homescreen with updates, but Android has far more to offer right now. For instance, I can manually back my phone up when I want – with Windows Phone, last I checked, you couldn’t. Yes, in WP8 Microsoft lets you back up your messages to their servers but I don’t want to – I want local backups of my entire device. Not only can I do that on Android, but I can also back it up every 24 hours to dropbox.

            Wireless transfer is another one.

            Notification centre…

            The widgets available let me access things like flashlight, volume commands, flight mode, bluetooth etc, without taking *any* screen estate (or as much as I want).


            A dock (I like the WP homescreen, but there’s still something to be said for having your favourite things in one place. I have 8 folders in my dock.)

            And so on.

          • Shaun says:

            Unless you do care about those features and then it’s no longer a “good user experience”.

            You could replace all the ugly bouncers on a nightclub door with supermodels covered in honey and it would be a “good user experience” but if they’re still saying you’re not coming in it makes little difference.

            You may be happy queuing however. ;-)

  9. MoritzJT says:

    ::VPN for enterprise users.

    Means no chance for private VPN setup because all the infrastructure probably needs some MS tools & services etc. – if so, what’s the point. A compromise incoming or full fledged VPN?

    Anyone knows something?

  10. Konek says:

    Yes, MS and Nokia is so slow. When they launched Lumia 1520, Samsung has sold Note 3 millions of units worldwide. And few months later, Lumia 1520 available at all stores.

    Same goes to Lumia 1020. Too late. In terms of speed you have to beat Samsung and Apple.

    They launch their phones this week, and you can buy next week.

  11. SD says:

    Good job MS, waiting for it.. Hope, some suprises are there..

  12. LimCK says:

    I wonder if Google going to patent the swipe down for notification center related stuffs. First is iOS, now MS.

  13. DesRed says:

    “A highly requested notification-center feature will be added to the software, and we’re told it’s enabled by swiping down from the top of the screen in a similar way to iOS and Android.”

    Isn’t that action already mapped to displaying the phone’s status at the top? I know that you can also tap at the top to reveal them, but using the same action for status, notifications and quick settings isn’t very intuitive at all.

    VPN? Good that it is finally coming, though the fact that China recently mention that they are targeting it did put a damper on it as I sometimes go there for a holiday.

    Separate volume controls for both media and ringtones is welcome but one thing I’d really welcome is the ability to toggle between vibrate, ringing + vibrate and silent. Not just between the former two.

  14. Rich says:

    So in 4/5 months MS will release some of the features I’ve been taking for granted on my Note 2 for the past year, which I bought after my Lumia 800 wouldn’t last 5 hours without a charge.

    This is pretty shocking. When WP7 came out everyone wanted a notification centre. When 7.5 came out, everyone wanted a notification centre. When I reviewed the 920 with WP8 exactly this time last year, I was surprised it didn’t have a notification centre. A major update later and everyone still wants a notification centre. Finally, after all this time, there’s an announcement that the notification centre will be coming – in the future.

    Major facepalm.

    • Random Random says:


      That’s a tradition I guess? Tradition Nokia used to have.

      When Nokia launched 7650 in 2002 people wanted to have a stable phone. They didn’t get it.

      Every year it was pointed out how it should be stable.

      In 2012 Nokia didn’t manage to ship a stable Symbian phone.

      If Microsoft manages to ship a stable phone with notifications in 2014, they have delivered. Nokia never did.

      • Rich says:

        Stupidest post I’ve read in a long time.

        Firstly, one thing Nokia phones were never shy of were features – they had capabilities competitors didn’t have. Although this is true in certain parts of windows phone, it’s still missing far, far too many of the basics.

        Secondly, ‘stable’ is a vague term. I owned many Nokias, my family owned many Nokias. Very rarely did we have a problem – my N95 8GB became faulty, I don’t recall any other issues with my Nokias (and I had my fair share, from the 3210 to the Lumia 800, via the N900, 5800, N95, N95 8GB, 6120c, and various others).

        But more than that, every piece of software can be ‘unstable’ – browse any forum for any product, from my BT Vision box to iOS, Linux, Windows, Android, for every piece of software there will be people who have issues with it. To pick on Symbian and say “Oh well, Windows Phone having missing features is fine because Nokia couldn’t deliver a stable phone anyway” is the biggest load of BS.

        • Shaun says:

          “Stupidest post I’ve read in a long time.”

          Stick with it. Random Random will be along shortly with another one.

        • Random Random says:


          Apparently only the Nokia fans had those magical Symbian phones with no flaws.

          Nokia phones had lots of features but usually half baked.

          Symbian was a prime example of that. Lots of features and people were still forced to remove the battery quite too often. Why? The phone simply froze.

          The iPhone was able to have a non removable battery from the start because it doesn’t do that.

          The fact is that Nokia wasn’t able to deliver a stable Symbian phone.

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