Microsoft has announced a ‘spring’ release date for the much-anticipated Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 updates. Microsoft Vice President Joe Belfiore took stage at company’s event at the sidelines of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, confirming several other details in the process.Belfiore said the Windows Phone 8.1 would be compatible with all devices currently running Windows Phone 8. The update will bring support for Snapdragon 200, 400 and 400 LTE chipsets, which means we should see more entry- and mid-level Windows Phone handsets. The update will also allow apps to be stored on the microSD card, which will be music to ears of those with devices which have limited on-board storage.Microsoft also confirmed that Windows Phone will finally get dual-SIM support with the update, something that will help Windows Phone make a stronger case in markets like India, where dual-SIM phones are very popular. Redmond-based software giant also confirmed India’s Karbonn and Xolo as future Windows Phone hardware partners, along with Foxconn, HTC, Huawei, JSR, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE.
On Windows 8.1, Belfiore said the update will address some of the gripes users have had when they use devices without touch capabilities. Windows 8 was designed for a touch environment, but some of the gesture commands don’t translate well when using traditional mouse and keyboard controls, something the update hopes to fix.
Belfiore confirmed that Microsoft will add search, power and settings buttons to the Start page, so that users don’t have to figure out how to pull those functions like a sock drawer from the right. There also will be ways to make it easier to close apps.