Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (GDR1)

Microsoft has just officially announced the first update to Windows Phone 8.1, called Update 1. Though this isn’t a major update, it does bring some new features that users will definitely enjoy. And it also brings Cortana to new markets which, judging by everyone’s enthusiasm, is a great thing for Windows Phone.

Update 1, or GDR1 as it’s also called, is the first official update launching for Windows Phone 8.1. It’s launching next week for folks running Preview software, with general availability to follow soon after.

Live Folders

The first and probably most obvious feature bundled in GDR1 is native folders. Microsoft calls these “Live Folders” and we’ve known about them for quite a while thanks to a previous leak. Users will now be able to organize their apps into folders on the Start Screen, while still maintaining their Live Tiles.

Folders works pretty much as you’d expect. By dragging and dropping tiles on top of each other they’ll form a folder which users can rename and move around. The fact that apps still have their Live Tiles gives users the best of both worlds.

Xbox Music

The next feature coming through GDR1 is an improved Xbox Music experience. We’re constantly getting Xbox Music updates in an effort to bring the app up to users’ standards and this update will definitely help. According to Microsoft app loading, scrolling and general performance are all improved once this update is applied.

Futhermore Xbox Music is finally getting a Live Tile, the type we used to have before Windows Phone 8.1, and it’s also available in Kid’s Corner.

Apps Corner

A completely new feature coming to Windows Phones via this update is named “Apps Corner”. Through this, users will be able to display apps in a sandbox mode. It’s mainly aimed at businesses or retailers using the phones for display purposes. The whole idea is to offer the user access to select apps in certain scenarios.

Other features

There are also a number of smaller features coming to your device with this update. Users will now be able to select and manage multiple texts in the SMS app. Privacy and security are improved with Update 1 through features such as VPN on public Wi-fi. The Store app will be getting a new Live Tile that display interesting new apps - the same as the one in Windows 8.1.

GDR1, or Update 1, will become available next week to folks using the Preview program. There’s no info on when this will hit general availability, but considering most users have yet to receive Windows Phone 8.1, and we’re already getting the next update it’s obvious Microsoft is doing their best to push their release cycle.

Source: Windows Phone Blog | Images via Windows Phone Blog

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