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Several new Windows Phone 8.1 features leaked from SDK

Today Microsoft has recently released the Windows Phone 8.1 Software Development kit, Reddit user “wpthroaway” who has access to the developer kit has made a post on Reddit covering all of the new features and modifications found in the new 8.1 version. Like TheVerge states “The first major change appears to be the initial signs of a Windows Phone and Windows RT merge”. The SDK also includes “Universal App” support with templates to build Windows Store and Windows Phone Store apps from the same HTML and JavaScript code.

new windows phone 8.1 interface

In terms of features, Microsoft also appears to be readying changes to allow users to switch out their default messaging app. A screenshot shows a setting to “Receive texts using different apps” (as shown in the image bellow).Microsoft also did this with the camera (image can be seen above), allowing developers to create an alternative to use instead of the default camera app, the built in camera app has also seen other changes, now the top of the app includes access to different lenses, the flash and front/rear camera selection, while at the bottom of the app you can switch between a single photo, a video or burst mode.

Other changes include a new “Battery Power Sense” feature which will be used to monitor and track the phones battery life, VPN support, and the obvious change from SkyDrive to OneDrive. Users will also be able to install their apps to an SD card with the new “Storage Sense” option. The Reddit user also says that the Music and Video apps have been separated and the old Music+Video app has been removed.

See also: Windows 9 coming in 2015 and will feature a redesigned Metro UI

It also looks like Microsoft is making some changes to multitasking, with several developers saying that the back button no longer terminates an application, instead the apps are suspended in the background and just like with iOS with just s simple swipe up, the app will be closed.

windows phone 8.1 update

Developers have also spotted that you can now link your Apple’s cloud service iCloud account in the settings and changes to the built in Facebook functionality. Even though Facebook integration is gone, Twitter is still present so it’s not clear if this is a bug or that Microsoft is finally moving away from Facebook integration.

There is also big rumors that Microsoft is building a voice activated “Cortana” like assistant much like Siri into 8.1, but it looks like the company is keeping it a secret as it’s not part of the SDK. Microsoft is planning to release the full Windows Phone 8.1 preview to developers at Build, where the software will be installable to their devices.