Why You Should Upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1

latest update lets cortana replace google now on android lumia1520 hithereimcortana
sponsored-by-microsoftUpgrade to Windows Phone 8.1

Your very own personal assistant would require a salary near $31,000 on average. Sure, that’s more than what most would be willing to pay for access to an organized life, but there’s an appealing alternative. With Windows Phone 8.1 comes Cortana, a virtual personal assistant designed not only to tap seamlessly into the apps you already use to manage your life, but also to provide a number of services itself. Her versatility means she’s even available on the most affordable Lumia phones, which are even free on some contracts.

Cortana is an interactive personal assistant powered by Bing. Like any good personal assistant, Cortana studies your behavior, learning from your decisions and preferences to anticipate your needs. She tracks all of this in a digital notebook, which begins with a few simple inquiries into your preferences. For example, she’ll make notes on whether you prefer to eat in or dine out. And if you love tacos, she’ll let you know next time you ask about lunch that there’s a great taco truck just around the corner.

Cortana is respectful of your privacy, too. You can see the information she keeps in her notebook, and decide if you want her to track your next flight when Expedia emails you the itinerary, or change who is in your “inner circle”. You get to decide which aspects of your life Cortana plays a role in, so that she’s there when you need her, and silent-but-available when you don’t. Cortana is the only personal digital assistant who can set reminders by people as well as location or time, so that you remember to talk to your boss about that raise the next time she calls, emails or texts you about your workload. Cortana knows that you usually leave for the office around 8:30am and she proactively serves up the traffic for your commute.


Microsoft Office, free cloud storage, and more

Windows Phone 8.1 comes with more than just Cortana, though. Windows Phones also include OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage system for productivity on the go. Included with the phones are 15 GB of free cloud storage — three times as much free storage as offered by Apple with an iPhone. OneDrive can be used to seamlessly backup photos and documents for viewing and downloading anywhere. Windows Phones also boast full Microsoft Office suite, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as other Microsoft programs like Bing, Skype, and OneNote. When paired with OneDrive, documents created on a Windows Phone can be edited on any other device that also runs OneDrive. Pick up right where you left off from phone to tablet to PC and back again.

With the latest and most popular apps, such as Instagram, Uber, and FitBit, Windows Phone 8.1 is the kind of diverse, robust ecosystem we love and expect in our smartphones. With Windows Phone 8.1, developers can incorporate Cortana and OneDrive into their apps using APIs offered by Microsoft. That kind of smart integration means that Cortana can launch an app for you, just by saying “Facebook, what’s up with Adam Smith?”

For the gamers, Xbox SmartGlass lets you control your Xbox directly from your phone. Games and videos can be played, paused, and discovered all without a controller.With Xbox SmartGlass, your device can be used as a second-screen for immersive gaming. Your phone could display a map of you and your opponents, or a tool for quickly customizing and tweaking your character.

Polish … with flair

Even the tiny details are upgraded. So that, for example, the Live Tiles on the start screen, keep you up to date with the things that matter most to you– like timeline posts, status updates, latest scores and much more – making your start screen a reflection of you. Windows Phone 8.1 also has the fastest integrated keyboard on the market, with shape writing built right in, so you can text or swipe as you choose. Action Center provides one swipe access to email and texts notifications, and social media updates. You can also access four personalized quick actions, so you can easily switch on and off Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, and more. For an exhaustive list of everything new on Windows Phone 8.1, check out this overview.

Today, many Windows Phone 8.0-compatible phone can receive 8.1 via an over-the-air update. For more info on whether Windows Phone 8.1 is available for your phone right now, find out here. And from here on out, all new Windows Phones will ship with 8.1, including Microsoft’s new $99 offerings, Lumia 630 and Lumia 635, as well as the versatile Lumia 530 and the flagship Lumia 830.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on standalone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.

Microsoft patent filing shows wearable that mitigates involuntary movements

A patent application from Microsoft has shown the company is looking into using wearable technology to alleviate symptoms from various diseases and disorders that cause involuntary movements.

AT&T makes 5G a reality for a dozen U.S. cities, with more to come in 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.

Which smartphone manufacturers won and lost in 2018

As the curtain comes down on 2018, we take a look at the big successes and failures in the smartphone market over the last 12 months. Which phone maker had the best year, and who had a year to forget?

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Product Review

With sapphire glass and analog dials, you'd never know this watch is smart

The world of hybrid smartwatches is getting much larger, and the latest comes from a name with history — New York Standard Watches. In our NYSW GTS Activity Tracker review, we find out what makes this watch special, and why we were so…

Scientists have charged a phone and a Fitbit with solar-powered clothes

Scientists from Britain's Nottingham Trent University have discovered a way to incorporate solar panels into clothing, and they've even managed to charge a phone and Fitbit with the energy created.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT packs the most RAM ever seen in a smartphone

The next generation of smartphones has begun, and it's begun with a bang. The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT comes with the next generation Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.

The best iPhone XS Max screen protectors to safeguard that huge display

If you love big screens, then the iPhone XS Max's huge 6.5-inch display is perfect for you. But it won't fare well against concrete. Protect your display with the best iPhone XS Max screen protectors.

Fitbit supercharges its smartwatches with its new 3.0 operating system

Fitbit announced a new software update for the Versa and Ionic, called Fitbit OS 3.0. The new OS will allow for things like on-device daily views, as well as 10 new third-party apps on the watch.

Google’s Gboard communication app reaches 500 languages in only 2 years

In December 2016, Google launched Gboard with support for an already-impressive 100 languages. Since then, however, Google has added a hefty 400 languages to the software keyboard, bringing the total number to 500.