Windows Phone 8.1 icons hint at Cortana capabilities, new OS features

The recent leak of an early version of the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK (software development kit) has revealed an enormous amount about the upcoming update for Microsoft’s mobile OS. Among the most significant revelations have been the inclusion of greater customisation support for the Start screen, support for non-‘traditional’ keyboards, and a look at the new notification centre on video.

As information continues to drip forth from the SDK, livesino.net has uncovered a set of icons buried within it, which hint at some of the capabilities we can come to expect from the update.

Perhaps the most significant icon set relates to Cortana, the new voice interaction assistant that will be baked into the OS. The first three icons – a star, a square and a circle – are listed as Start tile icons; the remainder appear to be icons that will be displayed within the Cortana environment as needed. The Cortana icon set signposts the kind of features you would expect from a digital assistant, hinting at voice control support for a wide range of tasks, from changing settings and making appointments, to getting directions and traffic reports.

Under Maps, the Start tile icon is unchanged in its design, but two new map icons are introduced to the App Bar, signifying a perspective view and a regular overhead view. Eighteen ‘map category’ icons are also introduced; curiously, these icons are drawn as outlines rather than in solid colour, and many of them appear more intricate than the rest of Windows Phone’s iconography.

The Wallet icons hint at broader Apple Passbook-style support, including the addition of event tickets. On the camera side of things, as WMPowerUser notes, new icons point to the addition of native support for HDR and continuous shooting mode.

The Action Center – the small drop-down tray that offers universal access to quick settings – sees its own share of icons revealed too. Icons for settings such as VPN, NFC, WiFi, hotspot and Bluetooth, among others, are all listed here. A range of new system tray icons – including alerts, language and caps lock indicator – are also shown here, along with a rather ambiguous ‘HD’ icon.

Finally, on the Start screen, there are new icons to incorporate dual-SIM support for Windows Phone, a feature which is expected to début on the upcoming Lumia 630. There are also Start tile icons for Podcasts, Radio and the new Battery Sense feature coming in Windows Phone 8.1. 

Source: livesino.net via WMPowerUser | images via livesino.net

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I smell a new Mobile OS for both phone and tablets. this would be perfect in the windows phone and windows RT world. Making it One OS for Mobile. The Windows pro Tablets would be portable PC Tablets. In my opinion this is perfect.

aviator189 said,
i think this update should just be called windows phone 9, to coincide with windows 9 at build.

Based on the mount of improvements, definitely yes; the problem is that it would not be in sync with W8.X.X
In the good old times Word jumped from V2 to V6 to be aligned with WordPerfect V6. Hopefully by Summer of 2015 we will have WP9...

Depending on where MS take this Cortana thing, I might consider a WP device for my next upgrade. I still prefer Android, but a change once in a while never hurt anyone!

Just out of interest, not trying to start a war What do you like about android that Windows Phone doesn't have it, or is it just Android?

Ben Dyson said,
Just out of interest, not trying to start a war What do you like about android that Windows Phone doesn't have it, or is it just Android?

There are some enterprise features that I use on Android, such as VPN, that isn't there in WP yet; and of course, the much wider choice of apps. I also greatly prefer the huge customisability that you get with Android that WP just can't match (and probably never will). Also, there's the ability to develop my own apps and sideload anything I want without having to jump through Microsofts hoops. It's MY device, after all. I don't like corporate planks telling me I don't know what I'm doing so can't do this and that.

But... I'm also starting to get a teeny bit bored with it, so a change might be nice. Certainly, I've always thought the Lumia devices were far superior to most androids when it comes to the quality of the hardware.

I haven't used WP for a while, not really since 7.5. Back then the OS was sorely lacking in a lot of stuff, but I hear it's improved a lot since then. I was never interested in the close linkage with social media sites, so the ability to quickly tell the world that I've just taken a crap or eaten an apple or whatever other mindless drivel people post on those things holds zero interest for me...

FloatingFatMan said,

I was never interested in the close linkage with social media sites, so the ability to quickly tell the world that I've just taken a crap or eaten an apple or whatever other mindless drivel people post on those things holds zero interest for me...

@FloatingFatMan I just ate an apple for you. #appleeaters http://bit.ly/1jkTvSa

TBH, there are very cheap contractless Windows Phones. Granted, you won't get to test drive the hardware. But you could easily test drive the OS. Finding a used one for $50 or even spending $100 on a cheapo phone just be sure you want to risk your contract re-up may be a good idea if you can pull together the scratch.

Nobody realized that 3D maps will also be part of WP8.1 according to those icons? I guess it will be very similar to the Maps Preview app in the Windows Store.

tiadimundo said,
Nobody realized that 3D maps will also be part of WP8.1 according to those icons? I guess it will be very similar to the Maps Preview app in the Windows Store.

maps preview?