Windows Phone 8.0 vs 8.1
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Visualized – Windows Phone 8 versus 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1 will officially be shown to the world at Build 2014 in San Francisco on April 2nd. We do have a sneak peek of the update thanks to a leak of the Windows Phone 8.1 beta SDK. There isn’t going to be a drastic overhaul to the design language started in Windows Phone 7, but Windows Phone 8.1 will bring a few aesthetic differences.

Visually compare and contrast Windows Phone 8 versus Windows Phone 8.1 after the break!

Messaging

In messaging you’ll see ‘text’ dropped and an extra icon in the app bar.

Jump List

Not much has changed for the jump list in Windows Phone 8.1. The globe icon is colored though. 

Microsoft Word

The multitasking view hasn’t changed much. You’ll see the updated Word icon and you’ll be able to swipe the card down to close the app. Something Windows Phone 8.1 learned from Windows 8.1. 

People Hub

The people hub has some new options. In Windows Phone 8.1 you’ll be able to only show contacts with phone numbers. 

People Hub Settings

Here’s a settings page for contacts. This is where you’ll toggle to only show contacts with phone numbers in Windows Phone 8.1. 

Photo Tile Options Shuffle

Settings for the photos+camera hub get updated. In Windows Phone 8.1 you can have the Start tile for the hub cycle through various photos. 

Data Sense Settings

On a limited internet plan? You can now select the level of compression for web pages served up through Data Sense on Windows Phone 8.1. 

IE OneDrive Background

Check out the new background tasks settings page. It’s interesting for telling users that you won’t be able to block all apps running in the background. 

There’s still a bit of work left between now and when consumers get Windows Phone 8.1. We don’t expect any drastic changes in the UI/UX, but don’t be surprised to see a few things moved around. We’ll be doing more comparisons like this in the future. Have any questions? Sound off below!

Big thanks to Matthew Miller (@millermk90) for sharing!

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Reader comments

Visualized – Windows Phone 8 versus 8.1

191 Comments

I switch it up. My 8x has had 2 pixels that are constantly white (happens a month after I got it on launch day) so the white helps it to be less frustrating. I get a lot more attention (good and bad) from non WP users when its set to dark.

Same, white looks weird on my phone/screen atleast
 

And i use my phone ALOT at night so dark mode is kinda better

Mee too! Windows Phone black themes is the best thing! I tried white themes once and couldn't last 5 minutes with it.

I don't have 'export to SIM' option in people as shown in the screenshot, can someone please tell me why? Thanks.

Because it doesnt support it.  Your contacts are now managed by your email/contacts.

Sim's die alot, i do it every day at work.  Much safer now to have contacts just sync in without having to worry about the sim.

I stopped using sim contacts since my old droid allowed me to sync online.

I dislike the white. Plus it drains your battery. And blinds you. Pointless if I do say so myself. Oh and it makes the start screen look weird also. Tiles look too small. At least when its black it looks like the screen is stretched to the corners of the phone (ClearBlack devices).

It was the opposite for old screen technologies, but if we are talking about LCD, screen spends more power to display black. You can check that article here.

The screen doesn't use any more or less on LCD screens. AMOLEDs use more power displaying white, than black though.

Not on AMOLED screens White is classed as On for pixels on those screens which would use more power, not less.

You obviously have no clue how AMOLED displays work. White Pixels are on, Black Pixels are off so setting the background to white regardless of the brightness uses more power as those pixels are classed as switched on.

I like the white, a lot of apps seem to look better in white. And with an LCD screen on my 8X, battery drain is exactly the same.

I prefer the black background on L920. Just makes the screen seem bigger, it blends into the curved glass so everything looks like its floating.

Also the colours and apps just pop out more.

They should have an option, at the same place where 'quiet hours' is, that made the screen display the light theme in day time and the dark theme at night. Easy but convenient! 

I use black at night too, but since WP team refuse to give us custom accent colour, I use bright theme most of the time, just to have the colours bright and vivid as much as I want them. 

Very subtle changes, nothing to shout about

Same. It seems like I can only accept the light theme if my phone is white. But, I'll still use the dark theme more often if that's the case.

It "looks" same, but we don't have the swipe down to close feature yet. Other than that, I believe Microsoft has not revealed any UI change to the developers yet, so personally I expect a lot to change between now and final reveal.

I submitted that picture to point out that Internet Explorer and OneDrive have background tasks now and they don't on GDR3.  The interface is the same.

It is, you tap the person icon with the lines next to him and it brings up that contacts information the same as tapping their name does

Yeah I think it Might be a way to toggle "messaging" options for the contact your messaging or possibly a full contact card. I thinking(hoping) the former, because unless they change the implementation in 8.1, all one need to do to reach the full contact card is touch the persons name.
I'm thinking, based on the picture for the People Hub, there's a section for " Add Contacts" for "accounts AND social apps". So, this may be where the Hub ties into FB and some other messaging apps.

Maybe can be that or maybe they changed the people link to an icon instead the link name because I think most of people doesn't know they can touch in the name.

Having used the SDK emulator, the extra button opens the contact page in the people app.  The number/name at the top does as well, as it currently does in GDR3.  So the button is just a duplicate link to the ocntact apge for people who don't realize you can click the number or name at the top.

I was hoping the contacts thing would be a swipe, so you bring it up and it has everything, swipe right and it's just phone numbers (or vice versa). I often only want contacts with numbers but not always.

People tend to learn where their most used settings are, and if they don't they probably won't need to visit them so often.

But it doesn't stay that way. When a setting is updated it goes right down to bottom. So you re-learn? Is this my GCSEs or what?!

In settings its Microsoft settings first followed by OEM settings. That's about 27 MS settings and 13 nokia settings on my 920. U can put a lot of these settings in an app folder tile (where u can arrange them also). But yeah having an option to arrange in the main settings page will be useful too.

Yeah, they knew people like having bad battery life, so they limited it to 15 to increase it. Darn you Microsoft.

My 1520 is a workhorse.. I've never seen that thing drop below 25% battery. And that was after a day and a half away from a plug.

What I see wuite often though is the "15 background tasks only" or whatever. I say let the hugest of the phones run more!

I actually did not like it but now I can understand for Battery and performance reasons.
I then love it since it allows the user to keep track of the apps running in the background. It differs from Android when you don't know what apps are running in the background or it is not easy to keep track on your head. I bet someone with Android will correct me there is some app monitor.

Are you seriously saying you don't know? People use more than 15 apps that supports background tasks. Without background tasks, live tiles won't update.

One thing I don't like about Windows Phone is this bg-task limit.

Not true. Live Tiles can easily be updated via push notifications. Using background tasks means the app service is saving on their own server infrastructure whilst not utilising the push service.
 

Are you sure? Last I checked, live tiles relied on background tasks (unless you update the tiles each time a user opens the app) regardless of push notifications service.

I like to see that too. I'm already tired of the bland grey screen whenever I'm making an outbound call.

Hmm, "text" dropped in messaging window. Must be because of missing FB integration and it's now only SMS. I was hoping that they will at least keep the FB messaging there.

That's what I thought as well when noticing "text" was absent from messaging, ive come to love the integration of Facebook throughout the OS. Whenever I do use facebook, I rarely open the app itself, its just to slow and clunky, rather I browse my news feed via people hub, post all messages through Me tile, unless its a picture, in which case I just share from within photos hub, and then we have the Facebook chat integration into messaging, and if it were missing or not an option in WP 8.1, well, as a long time WP user, would be a huge step back and having to rely on an inconsistent app for im notifications would be horrid.

+1020 same with me here. loving the integration of facebook and also linking other contacts from facebook to other accounts. and it is generally faster than the official app

Yeah, me too. But the "add contacts" section has options for "accounts" and "social apps". Maybe a multitude of social apps will be able to tie into the people Hub via access to the API's. And the little icon at the bottom of the msg window that looks like a person and lines, maybe is a way to change between msg apps. Currently to get to a Contact Card we just need to touch a persons name, if that's not changing in 8.1, to have access to a Contact Card is that icon and the name would be redundant.

This is example is showing a phone number that doesn't have a facebook attached otherwise there would be the change button in the app bar on GDR3. It might just be that it won't be displayed unless necessary.

I think the Text and Facebook status will be shown at the top now Where the phone number is to avoid repeat info from being displayed

I think you're probably right. I would think that if one or more social apps are linked to messaging, the word "text" (or something similar) would probably show up again.

Hope not. I've never used it, nor the messenger integration. But I've been living in hope that Skype would eventually be added.

Personally Id love for the Skype app to be dropped and the phone able use Skype as if it were a regular call or text message.

chance is, it's only for text messages now.. which would be very sad. but there's no sign yet of it not being like that..

If bing apps are any indication, Microsoft is going that way with WP 8.1 UI. Smaller text and other distractions and bigger content focus. And honesty, it looks best.

The current size was okay when Windows Phone was still running mostly on devices with 3.5-4 inch display (Windows Phone 7 era). It looks really great on my Lumia 710. But now that the devices' displays got bigger, those titles are just too big. (They are ridiculously big on my Lumia 1520, around 1.2-1.5 inch wasted vertical space.)

The new people hub looks great. :) All interfaces look better. Did they actualy clean up settings, it's becoming a mess, and if 8.1 gets lot of new features, that means also: lots of new settings.

Do you guys have more pictures?

just posted comment about. It is exactly the same as pre-portico, GDR1, GDR2, GDR3 :p maybe these two screenshots are swapped and we will no longer see this message under background tasks -> advanced after Windows Phone 8.1 update

"its interesting for telling users that you won't be able to block all apps running in the background" that's what Sam wrote about photo with GDR3|WP 8.1 background task page screenshots.
Miller, it wasn't about OneDrive :)

does this mean that a IE page could load in the background while navigating on another one? i usually start a search and open 2,3,4...pages in a new window...but those do not load until i move on the page i want to see. Thx, sorry if it's a dumb question,i think that feature would be nice,this really holds me back with my WP device....the browsing issue.

Background Tasks -> Advanced has always shown greyed out app list and "...you may not be able to block..." message on my device. Its nothing new. :p

There's nothing bad in adding features but I didn't really like the idea of making the "people" font smaller. Maybe it's only me but I liked it large.

Although I prefered seeing the word Text, I guess it makes the most sense for now, although would be nice if other services like Facebook/What's App/ etc. can use it then hopefully they bring word Text back to differentiate to what you are doing.

And a minor thing, but I really hope they make the lower case l smaller in the new people hub. Right now it looks like it's touching the phone instead of the gap of space it has now. Sorry just being nitpicky about it...and I'm gonna miss having my picture and recent status update in the People hub too. In 8.1 it looks quite plain...but oh well.

My question would be whether Microsoft is going to prevent carriers like ATT from blocking Data Sense. I have an unlocked ATT 1020 that I no longer use with ATT and it's complete bull**** that I am still limited by ATT's crap, even when on different carrier with a phone I own and fully paid for.

 

Really, there is absolutely no reason why the usage meter part of Data Sense isn't available on every WP phone, whether or not the carrier supports its other features.

I'm probably missing something but where is the battery percentage? In a previous article it showed it below the battery icon.

It only shows when you pull down from the top of the screen to show the action center.  Otherwise it would cover up the content of the app you're using.

Thanksヽ(^^)ノ. Wouldn't it make more sense to put it directly to the left of the battery meter as long as there were no icons using up that bit at the time?

The probably don't want a cluttered interface.  Seems Microsoft has been happier and happier to hide anything they deem unnecessary lately.  It suits me but I know it's not for everyone.

Wondering two things in the email client:
1). Can we attach other types of files now, instead of only pictures?
2). Can we add formatting to text in the email? (Example: bold, underline, italics, colored text, etc)

thanks!

1) from the leaked information before, yes you can attach any type of files (even you cant upload file via browser).

2) hope so.

Also, separation from the original email content is not very good and (after being sent) tend to display not nicely in different email clients. :-/

There is not a Me Hub anymore?? I know this doesn't make sense since now we have a Action Center, but is not displayed in the People Hub screenshot.

This. This was the ONLY comment i came here to make. I want a Me Tile. Without it, WP is like any other OS in a different package.. Zzz.

I (as mentioned in the article @ millermk90) took the screenshots of the GDR3 side on my stock Lumia 920, and the 8.1 side in the emulator from the 8.1 SDK leak

why i'm still not impressed with all this features ??? 'till the time come and we use all this new features in our daily live i won't be impressed.

The UI changes are not expected, at least for me. Microsoft did a wonderful job in the Windows Phone design, both in beauty and simplicity. It's so damn clear and easy that it beats any other mobile operating system.

That's why the main focus is on the expandability of the already implemented features and the advent of new resources. I'm very eager to see this update and hopefully more updates for WP.

Posted via the WPC App for Android

I don't have 'export to SIM' option in people as shown in the screenshot, can someone please tell me why? Thanks.

That's one thing they haven't shown off yet but I guess we'll see it at BUILD. The second of the three slides pictured at the bottom of the article on http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-sdk-leak-burst-photo-mode-more states "People Hub extensibility for social apps".

It looks like the social side will still be there but separated into apps that hook into the People Hub and, possibly, Messaging, this will allow for new features and bug fixes without updating the whole OS. Don't forget that Facebook (Blue) will be built into the OS anyway.

What about phone call history? Hopefully they figure out how to group all calls with same phone number. Not rocket science

The background settings in GDR3 already notify you that you may not be able to block all the apps. You can find it in the advanced settings.

I have a question concerning the closing of apps. So the way I understand it is that you swipe down from the top of the app to close it (like Windows 8) but you also swipe down from the top to open notification centre. How are you going to open the notification centre from anywhere on the phone without accidently closing apps?

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Look, for closing apps you have to open multitasking and after swipe down the app. Like iOS7 does, but swiping up.
You cant close the app swiping down without opening multitasking.

Closing an app works like this.. U long press the back button on your WP device to go to the multitasking/appswitcher view.. Now u see an X on the top right corner in gdr3.. In wp8.1 u can hold the pane and swipe down to close. Notification center is from top bezel down and i don't think it will show up when multitasking view is active

I posted further up that Facebook (Blue) is built in but there is People Hub extensibility for social apps as well!!

Maybe,we will have a fb app in future which will integrate itself,and yea,with chat heads too.
But I liked the integrated chat,they shldn't remove it.
And if they dont,will we be able to send photos,stickers from d messaging sector(fb)?

Hey i have a question. Is the video hub/library open for devs.. Can u add videos to the hub via Bluetooth transfer? At present it goes into the photos hub which is stupid.

Am I the only one bothered with the small font in people hub?? If that's gonna be the thing everywhere, give us option to choose font style. I like those extra big fonts..

Finally the 'people' title no longer takes up half the screen. WP titles could still be 50% smaller though imo.

MS, please increase number of background tasks, it's way too low atm! :-(
Please add a scroller for too long lists. Something like there's on Android where it appears automatically if the list has too many items. And it should be controlled by apps as some already have a gesture (swipe from right) that brings the scroller (navigation bar).

There's a globe icon? Never seen that before. Doesn't do anything when I press it. It was hidden to me because on my phone there is an extra row of letters that you need to scroll down to see.

More useful but get ugly at the same time,it's sad,just like wp8 home screen looks bad than wp7,in order to be more efficient we give up the beauty

Why not long press home button to show action center and long press search button to show contana?it's easier than swipe from the top

I dont like that the send button is going to be shifted again on the text screen. Now im going accidently pressing the attachment button all the time

and this took over a year? looks the same as 2011. it seems windows phone hasn't yet made the jump to 1080p and still t hinks it is a 800x480 os.

2 Things I woudl like to know.....

1. Does the new games hub show Xbox one AND all your other xbox live achivements ?

2. Has there been any updates to backup, can we finally save app/game settings to be able to restore ?