Not long after being released to developers and despite being placed under strict NDA, the first video showcasing some of the changes in Windows Phone 8.1 has surfaced on YouTube. The 12-minute video reveals the following additions:
- Updated Flash player integration in Internet Explorer now allows playback in browser window
- Multitasking support is refined, with apps no longer automatically exiting with the back button
- New USB settings that can detect slower charging speeds
- Option to install apps to memory card as a system toggle
- New user interface that allows independent adjustment of audio sources
- Full Microsoft Account integration with Tablet – Mobile sync capability
- Menu item that lists individual battery usage for individual apps
- Browser tabs are now independently controlled in the app switcher instead of being tabs in browser
Because of the nature of the early SDK build, more key features such as the Cortana intelligent personal assistant and key changes to the user interface are not included. The video is embedded below:
In related news, Windows Phone 8.1 will be adding support for both qHD (540×960) and QHD (1440×2560) displays. Before the discovery of the additional resolution support, the maximum resolution support on Windows Phone 8 is still 1920×1080, which was added with the recent GDR 3 update before the launch of the Lumia 1520.
Additionally, the minimum logical resolution is being updated from 480×800 (WVGA) to 360×640 (nHD), with Microsoft implementing a responsive design mandate for apps going forward. In the future, developers will need to update apps that use absolute positioning and resolutions while building new apps that can be upscaled to various resolutions without constant updates to add specific resolution support.
The additional resolution support also implies that Windows Phone 8 will be merged with Windows RT, which has been speculated and rumored for months now. Windows Phone 8 first gained support for 6-inch and larger displays at 1080p resolution with the GDR3 update as seen with the launch of the Lumia 2520 tablet.
With Windows Phone adding support for QHD resolution, the higher resolution support may mean that the next wave of Windows Phone flagships will match Android for high resolution display support after years of trailing behind as well as the possibility of Surface and Lumia tablets with QHD displays.