Windows Phone 8.1 notifications center + UI changes allegedly revealed in video [Update]

With Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has been working to improve the rate at which it updates its mobile operating system. Having already delivered General Distribution Release 1 (GDR1, also known as the 'Portico' update) earlier this year, GDR2 is on track to be rolled out to devices over the next couple of months, with Nokia's new Lumia 925 being delivered with that update pre-installed.

A third update, GDR3, is also expected later this year, bringing support for quad-core processors and 1080p displays to the platform. But Microsoft hasn't shared any details of its next major update to the OS, part of the 'Blue' wave of updates that is also bringing significant enhancements to Windows 8 and Windows Server. Windows Phone 8.1, as it's expected to be called, now looks like it won't arrive until early 2014

Earlier this month, images leaked claiming to show an early build of Windows Phone 8.1, showing changes to the user interface and a new notification center; some sources apparently confirmed that these images were authentic. 

Today, a video has been posted on YouTube, purporting to show a build of Windows Phone 8.1 running on a Nokia Lumia 920. The video - taken with an appallingly blurry camera, as these videos so often are - is brief but shows off two interesting features not included in current builds of the OS. 

The notification center is seen in action, accessible via a swipe down from the top of the screen. It features the same UI as seen in the previous leaked images, but with one significant difference: the clock and status bar usually fixed at the top of the screen are pulled down to the bottom when the notification center is opened. It appears that swiping back up from the status bar is the gesture used to close the overlay. The differences between the earlier images and the version in the video don't necessarily mean that the video is a fake; it could simply be indicative of Microsoft's ongoing development of the OS, with changes being made as new builds are completed.

Another major change to the user interface is seen on the Start screen. There seems to be a new kind of Live Tile which, when tapped, opens an overlay of additional buttons that hover over the other tiles in the background. Unfortunately, the quality of the video is too poor to be able to make out what these buttons are for. 

We can't vouch for the authenticity of this video, but if it's genuine, it looks like there could be some very interesting additions to Windows Phone in the works. It's a shame that they probably won't be arriving for quite some time.

Source: YouTube | via WPCentral


Update: The folks over at WPCentral have checked in with their sources, and one of them states that the video is a fake: "We won't go into details, but our source is very confident that this is not real. Sorry folks!"

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So it looks like the top icons will always display, great! (a swipe down reveals them for a brief period, quite annoying really!) hope it isn't too far off!

Neobond said,
...(a swipe down reveals them for a brief period, quite annoying really!) hope it isn't too far off!

From the video I see, it seems like he swipes back up to close the notifications center. So it's not a "brief period" - it's for however long before you close it.

I really don't get why this is so exciting. I get to see live tile notifications of what I want anyway, Am I missing something?

What I want is something that notifies me there is new email/sms/message or missed call from the screen when it's timed out. Just some tiny icons would be fine so no battery issues. I'd guess Nokia will be doing it soon as an addition to what they have done with Amber - mail/sms etc rather than battery and the other useless notification they have added.

A central notification center is nice to see notifications from all your apps (not just what's pinned on the home screen), and we can dismiss each notification individually.

It would be nice to see more useful notifications on the status bar as you said. More control on the status bar in general. While I own a Nokia and like their improvements, I want to see these improvements OS wide, not just on Nokia phones.

I thought with windows phone that you did not need a notification centre because your live tiles are always telling you what's happening... otherwise why have the flashy live tiles at all?

Say you get a notification (in my case, from Skype) that you don't have pinned, then if you miss the notification, you won't know what it was, from where, and when, at the time when you return to your phone.

Oh really, that sounds like a design flaw.Was windows phone always going to have a notification centre? Why is it not in the OS already?

derekaw said,
Oh really, that sounds like a design flaw.Was windows phone always going to have a notification centre? Why is it not in the OS already?

GET OUTA HERE TROLL!

derekaw said,
THAT HELPS, THANKS!
Lets ensure the content of conversations here only meets your criteria.

I think it was initially going to be in WP8 but because of the massive code-base shift from WP7.x the feature was dropped and planned to be added with a later update.

I hope that isn't the notification center, small red boxes with small plain text. That can't be what we have waited for since WP7's release and supposedly has had so much work put into it.

Very intresting concept, I wouldn't be surprised if the tile with small tiles behind it would find it's way to Windows 8.1, even if it is added after the Milestone Preview (after all, Microsoft added a new desktop interface to Windows 8 after the RC, so this small change wouldn't be anything special if you ask me). For a notificationcenter: I think that will find it's way to Windows in the thing we get after 8.1.

"taken with an appallingly blurry camera"

Theres a surprise. I mean just about every mobile OS leak comes courtesy of a 0.2MP camera or pic these days...

I am seeing the same thing. A quick way to access phone settings like turn off wireless, air plane mode etc. I can see the wireless icon and airplane mode icon.

I like this concept. It would make WP8 compete on Android's level in terms of home screen functionality while not suffering from the inconsistencies found in many Android widgets.

Certainly looks like a folder option. It pops out smaller tiles.

The tiles seem to have icons related to settings (airplane mode/wifi/bluetooth etc.). A cool way to do folders... assuming you can make it a small tile and not a medium tile.

These look very interesting indeed! I guess they didn't do the swipe left so it can be accessed from any app... As you see, it's not just a swipe down but a drag down.

j2006 said,
I guess they didn't do the swipe left so it can be accessed from any app...

No, because a swipe left already does something, Kid's Corner.

There are screenshots in the source article - hopefully the color scheme will change, as it's difficult to differentiate from one notification to another in all this red-ness

Tigurinn said,

And it's a swipe down to see the notifications; I was hoping for it to be a left swipe from the home screen

That's because a left swipe from the home screen opens Kid's Corner.

rfirth said,

That's because a left swipe from the home screen opens Kid's Corner.

I thought that space wasn't occupied, kinda like how in ios 7 there's nothing when you left swipe whereas when in ios 6 and 5 it opened up search.

Or maybe it's my left and someone else's right

Never the less, the 'left' swipe should, in my opinion, be notifications (with a better ui) and Kid's Corner should be a tile that could be removed

Tigurinn said,

I thought that space wasn't occupied, kinda like how in ios 7 there's nothing when you left swipe whereas when in ios 6 and 5 it opened up search.

It's normally not occupied, but if you set up Kid's Corner, it's a swipe from left to right, just like a swipe from right to left opens the full apps list (if you're on the home screen).

rfirth said,

It's normally not occupied, but if you set up Kid's Corner, it's a swipe from left to right, just like a swipe from right to left opens the full apps list (if you're on the home screen).

Wow.. do you even have a WP8 device to say this crap. Accessing kid's corner can only be done from the lock screen and it's a RIGHT TO LEFT swipe.

notchinese said,
Swiping from the left requires you be at the home screen. Swiping down can be done from any context (except full screen games)

That's just the thing; swiping from the left could open up a new page, despite one being in an app - that left swipe could open up a page that had settings for the particular app or game, as well as settings for the phone and notifications as well. Plus even a few quick settings ...doesn't have to be messy if Microsoft could make the ui elegant and streamlined