Yesterday, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft VP, Lead Windows Phone Team, held an AMA on Reddit and has provided some more info on what users should expect from the company’s mobile operating system moving forth.
One of the things that he unveiled there was the fact that an updated Facebook application would be released to Windows Phone users sometime in June, with a nice range of enhancements packed inside.
Among these, we can count a series of performance improvements, along with full-width photos available in the newsfeed, and the possibility to view both photos and comments at the same time.
The Facebook app won’t be the only one to get updated in Windows Phone 8.1, as Microsoft is also planning the release of a new flavor of Skype for the platform.
Apparently, the main focus of this release will be on the performance capabilities of the software, though no further details have been shared.
As usual, Microsoft will also focus on bringing more applications to the platform, so as to ensure that Windows Phone users receive a great experience from their devices.
At the same time, it will also work on making existing apps better, given that many of the major apps available on other platforms are already there.
Joe Belfiore also confirmed that they were in talks with Snapchat for the release of an official client on Windows Phone, though there’s no telling whether the application will indeed arrive on the platform.
One other thing that he shared and which was somehow already known, was that Microsoft was also looking into bringing more Google applications to the OS.
However, the possible release of such software is entirely Google’s decision, so there’s nothing that Microsoft can actually do about it but wait to see whether it will indeed release it.
Belfiore also talked about the Xbox Music app on the platform, unveiling that additional performance enhancements were planned for it, along with UI enhancements, and other changes. Microsoft is also working on bringing a consistent experience across multiple platforms.
Cortana will also get improved moving forth and will soon arrive in China and the UK, while also set to receive improved support for other English-speaking countries, such as Australia and Canada.
However, a global rollout is conditioned by the added support for local languages, which means that it might take a while before that happens. Microsoft is also focused on ensuring a great regional experience for Cortana, it seems.
At the moment, Windows Phone 8.1 is available for download as a Developer Preview, which means that it still packs some issues, though all of these will be polished when the final version of the OS, which will also include device firmware from handset vendors, arrives.
No specific info on when that might happen has been provided as of now, but rumor has it that carrier testing for the OS might kick off later this month, with the official rollout set to start in June. Stay tuned for more on this.