LOS ANGELES (USA TODAY) — With smartphone maker Nokia part of the fold, Microsoft is ramping up efforts on its Windows Phone platform. You've probably seen ads for Nokia phones touting impressive hardware specs such as the Lumia 1020's 41-megapixel camera sensor, but Microsoft also recently made a bunch of software updates it will release in coming months. The company recently traveled here to show off the best features of the Windows Phone 8.1 update — besides Cortana, the personalized digital assistant, of course.
Here are five fun things you'll be able to do with Windows Phone 8.1.
1) Social media integration
With Windows Phone 8.1, you can push updates to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — simultaneously — with one click.
2) People Hub
The 'People Hub' not only acts as an address book but also consolidates your contacts' updates from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Windows Live into one feed.
3) Office integration
As you might expect from a Windows device, Microsoft Office is deeply integrated in Windows Phone 8 — and available for free to Lumia users. The Office Hub allows you to view and edit Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel workbooks and notes with OneNote. Microsoft's OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) cloud service can then keep these files synchronized for use across various platforms.
4) Live Tiles
Though nothing new, Live Tiles continue to set the Windows Phone platform apart from the competition. The WP8 home screen allows you to "pin" to it what matters most to you, whether it be social networking or photography apps. These dynamic tiles then feed content directly to the start screen.
5) Word flow
The built-in keyboard offers predictions based on the context of your text, which Microsoft's Lucas Westcoat says allows you to "type by word instead of by letter."
Windows Phone 8.1 takes the predictive text keyboard a step further with gesture typing. Like popular Android apps Swiftkey and Swype, Word Flow allows you to trace words without lifting your finger from the screen.