There I was sitting in the car, on my way to Brighton, desperate to access my Nokia Drive app for directions. My phone screen told me:
…it will be worth the wait!
I had my Nokia 1020 telling me this for most of the night before and that morning. I was so frustrated, I was ready to throw the phone out the window. The Windows 8.1 update was taking way too long! (I really should’ve made sure I was on WiFi for the whole process!)
Finally, just as I was on my last grain of patience, the Nokia Lumia 1020 sprang into action!
Switching it on for the first time I had the option of setting some security and privacy settings:
I was asked about sharing my data, setting my advertising ID on, whether websites should be asked not to follow me and whether I wanted to activate WiFi Sense.
What is WiFi Sense?
I had to Bing it and here’s what the windowsphone site says:
- Automatically connect you to open WiFi networks it knows about by crowdsourcing networks that other Windows Phone users have connected to. These are usually open WiFi hotspots that you see when you’re out and about.
- Provide additional information on your behalf to networks that require it
- Let you exchange WiFi network access with your Facebook friends, Outlook.com contacts or Skype contacts to give and get Internet access without seeing each other’s WiFi network password
How I experienced it: I was at a Moto services and I didn’t have to go through the hassle of registering on their free WiFi, because WiFi Sense connected me automatically as soon as I allowed it to.
Once my Nokia 1020 switched, the first thing I noticed on the home screen was that the WiFi Icon had shifted from top middle to next to my signal strength icon & next to it was a little notepad type icon- the notifications.
I clicked on the top left corner and nothing happened; then swiped down and down came my notification screen (This is nothing new to Android users and as a former Android phone owner I really welcome this new feature to windows phone. The difference with the new Windows 8.1 notifications area is that I find it cleaner and neater, everything is in one place):
As you see, I can also easily access features like WiFi, Bluetooth, flight mode and rotation lock from here.
In settings you can change these quick actions to a number of options. (Settings> notifications + actions)
Another feature that I discovered over the past day is the improved calendar:
For me the calendar is one of the key features of my smart phone: I’ve come to rely on notifications to be anywhere in time. It’s the only way I can juggle life with 3 littlins and the busy schedule we have day-to-day.
Four years ago, when my Nokia met its early demise I was offered an iPhone upgrade free of charge. It was out of the question, as it didn’t have live tiles to show my agenda. I was midst a major house renovation project at the time & I was using the calendar to schedule our time and those of the workmen. I needed that constantly on reminder of what’s on there in front of me anytime I looked at the phone.
The overview of my agenda has also improved with this OS upgrade and I like the cute new feature of adding weather information to my diary.
Finally, I’ve left the best feature (in my modest opinion) till last: Scroll typing or shape writing as Microsoft refer to it. A feature, again, well known to Android users and much coveted by windows users.
Image credit: Windows phone Central
Couple of months ago I heard it was a feature in the pipeline and was very excited by the prospect. The Microsoft developers have not disappointed: I LOVE the word flow keyboard that you get when upgrading to Windows 8.1 on your window phone! The faint blue line shadows your moves across the letters as you shift your finger around without lifting it. The words appear at the top of the keyboard for you to choose, if the system didn’t insert the correct word. My impression is that shape writing is about 95% accurate (this is my guesstimate, as I have no stats to back this up, just my gut feeling based on a lot of tweeting and the number of words I had to correct.)
As an avid social media user on my phone, the word flow keyboard has probably doubled my productivity (this may not be an advantage, some might say 😉 ). Another advantage of the shape writing is that I’ve started making more use my OneNote app (one of my favourite apps on my PC and tablets- Windows and Android) now on my Windowsphone too.
If you follow me on twitter, you’ll also see that my use of icons has increased in the past day. That’s because the word flow keyboard offers up the icons for the words too, if they are available. I can’t resist them.
I’m a magnet for technical glitches. If the technology can go wrong it will for me. Just how I am. I was always the person to test software and keep away from temperamental office printers, because I can expose their flaws.
So far I’ve managed to find 2 issues with my Nokia 1020 since the Win 8.1 upgrade:
1, my camera takes a fair bit of time to load; it wasn’t instantaneous before upgrade either, but it’s got to annoying. Having spoken to the support team, we think this might be a hardware issue that I need to have looked at. 🙁 … told you I was a magnet for tech glitches!
2, twitter has disappeared from my social sharing options. Hmm! Now I have to copy the URL of a site I want to share to twitter
(or maybe I need to browse the forums to see if there is a solution.)
So these are my first impressions from using Windows 8.1 on my Nokia Lumia 1020 for the past day. As I find new features, I’ll share them with you. Questions? Comments? Pop them below.
Has the Windows 8.1 upgrade trickled through to your windows phone yet?
Which feature are you looking forward to using most?
Update 02 July 2014
Although the new calendar does look great, I’ve discovered a big flaw: it doesn’t allow me to add appointments at the moment. According to twitter sources this is not just me and Microsoft are aware and fixing it. Until then I shall revert to adding appointments through my google calendar, so they still show up and alert me to events on my windowsphone. 😉
Disclaimer: As part of the Microsoft Loop I was given a Nokia Lumia 1020 windows phone in November 2013 to experience and share my experiences of if I wish to do so. I’ve not been asked to write this or any other posts about the device or the softwar. The contents above represents my own opinions.