Join Doug Winnie for an in-depth discussion in this video What is Windows Phone 8.1?, part of Up and Running with Windows 8.1 Phones.
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- Windows Phone 8.1 is the latest generation of Microsoft's smart phone and phablet operating system. Windows Phone 8.1 is designed to work on phones of any size, from just over four inches in size, to phablets, like the Nokia 1520, which are six inches. Windows Phone 8.1 continues the modern user interface style that was first unveiled with Windows Phone 7. The interface focuses on clean, flat design with heavy use of typography and bold colors. Working with Windows Phone involves manipulating, live tiles in the start screen, and a combination of basic gestures and interactions, that carry over from app to app.
Windows Phone 8.1 introduces the concept of universal apps, meaning that if an app supports it, you can purchase and download an app for your Windows Phone, and for Windows 8.1 on your tablet, or computer as well. For example, popular apps, like Wunderlist, a task management app, or Fitbit, a fitness tracker app, are built as universal apps, which you can install and run on both operating systems. There are a few universal gestures that you should become familiar with, as you work with Windows Phone 8.1.
The first is swiping. In Windows Phone, an app can contain multiple screens, or tabs, that you can swipe between, to the right or left, to navigate within. The other is the long press. Pressing or holding a tile, or item in a list, can reveal additional functions you can do with the item. The menu bar is a function bar that appears at the bottom of most apps, that contain up to five common actions you can perform. Beyond the menu bar are additional commands and actions you can take, by swiping up the menu bar, to reveal these additional items.
Windows Phone 8.1 introduces some new features to the operating system, to make working with your phone easier. The first is the action center, which you can display by swiping from the top of the display. This contains common phone settings, like wifi, bluetooth, and others, and also displays notifications you receive from various apps, installed on your phone. The other is Cortana, a digital, personal assistant that you can configure to keep track of your favorite interests, stocks, sports teams, and set up reminders, or search the internet.
Cortana can work with your voice, or you can enter in questions or actions, using the keyboard, as well. Something to be aware of, is that Windows Phone 8.1 is not Windows 8.1. The two are based on some shared foundation technologies, but they are distinctly different systems. Windows Phone 8.1 can only run apps from the Windows store. It also is not the same as Windows RT, which is a tablet only operating system that is similar to 8.1, but only runs apps from the Windows store.
An example of a Windows RT device is the Surface 2 tablet from Microsoft, or the Nokia 2520. Over the next several videos, you'll see all the user interface concepts that I mentioned earlier. In the last chapter, we'll have a specific video, dedicated to using Cortana, to help you configure, and get Cortana set up, to help you work with your phone better.
- Adding an Outlook.com, Gmail, or Exchange email account
- Personalizing your phone
- Getting apps from the Windows Phone Store
- Working with contacts, calendars, and the Camera app
- Working with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files