After years of being in the mobility dumps, Microsoft (MSFT) — along with its primary hardware partner Nokia (NOK) — gradually clawed its way back into contention, overtaking BlackBerry (BBRY) in 2013 to become the third-largest smartphone platform, worldwide.
Windows Phone has also been the fastest growing smartphone operating system, but the reality is that apparent momentum is because its share is so small to begin with (3% in Q4 2013). If Microsoft is to keep up the momentum break into double digits, Windows Phone simply has to get better and be able to compete at the level of Apple’s (AAPL) iOS and Google’s (GOOG) Android.
The Windows Phone 8.1 update is hugely important to Microsoft. And the good news for MSFT is that reaction to the new smartphone operating system — released to developers on April 14 — has been very positive. Ars Technica went so far as to pronounce Windows 8.1 “a magnificent smartphone platform.”
Microsoft has been on a roll in these early days of the Nadella era, and Windows Phone 8.1 seems likely to extend that winning streak when it’s released to the public. Until that time, here are 5 features of the new Windows Phone update that are making waves with developers and reviewers.