Windows Phone 8.1u1 leak - catching up with the big boys

One sign that a "major" platform is quite far behind the race is that it is still trying to catch up with other players in some rather basic aspects. Microsoft may have just started rolling out, and rather slowly at that, version 8.1 of Windows Phone, but the upcoming features of Update 1 have already been leaked, revealing just how much catching up the mobile platform has to yet to do.

To avoid the device fragmentation that plagues Android, Microsoft has tried to exert an Apple-like control of hardware by dictating the display size and resolution of certified smartphones. That, however, did not really work in Microsoft's favor. Now, the company is left trying to catch up to support additional sizes and resolution in each release. In Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft added support for 6-inch devices. Update 1 will add 7-inch support, opening the way for phablets and small tablets. The new update will also add common resolutions such 1280x800 and 960x540.

WP8.1u1 will also require proximity sensors in future WP smartphones, and it is quite surprising to know that Microsoft didn't require it early on in the first place. Even more shocking is finding out that Windows Phone didn't have any NTP support. This time syncing protocol is an invaluable feature, not only in making sure that personal devices are kept in sync but also in ensuring that enterprise handsets keep up pace with internal servers for security and auditing purposes. One new feature that not even all major Android smartphones have is VoLTE support, so WP users might be happy to know that their next device might allow to them to make HD calls.

In terms of user interface features, WP8.1 Update 1 will finally be bringing folders to the Start screen. Yes, folders. Something quite so basic that both iOS and Android have had it since like forever. The update will also expand some tiles' available sizes, in particular the WP Store tile, transforming it into a Live tile when set to large. Microsoft might also be ready to jump into the accessory business, adding support for "smart covers" that have their own displays or windows into the phone.

There are just some of the features that are now believed to arrive in the next Windows Phone update, though, of course, with leaks there is no 100% guarantee of veracity. The source of this information supposedly comes from Microsoft itself, though that can't be verified, naturally. Nonetheless, it does reveal just how many kinks Microsoft has still to iron out on Windows Phone, though hopefully they won't be dragging their feet much longer.

VIA: Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows