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Windows Phone 8.1 now available to developers (and anyone else)

Windows 8.1 is now available to those of you who wish to try it early; it will require a small amount of form filling and possible spending some coin. Can you really put a price on having a new OS before your friends and colleagues?

Windows 8.1 became available yesterday through the Windows Phone Preview for Developers program. This program aims to give developers an early opportunity to test their Windows Phone apps against the latest edition thus ensuring that everything runs smoothly on release.

You may want to consider a few factors before you jump on the bandwagon though, this update actually voids you warranty if done before its general release. Plus there’s the fact that a lot of your favourite apps may not quite work yet, or may not be the same. So perhaps think twice before you install this early preview of Windows Phone 8.1 on your phone.

See Also: Nokia Lumia 630 and 635 Windows Phone 8.1 handsets official

Windows Phone 8.1 can be downloaded one of two ways. You can register for an app developer account (heres what you need), which will set you back $19 or $99 a year if for a company (USD not going to convert it for you). The Windows Phone Preview for Developers page then gives you access to pre-release updates for Microsoft’s mobile OS. Or you can register for free with App Studio, then just download the preview app and you’re good to go. Just saved you $19 doesn’t tell Microsoft.

Windows 8.1 comes with several new features over its predecessor which was shown off recently at Microsoft’s Build conference, including a new Start screen, an Action Centre notification drawer, and the feature that’s generated the most excitement Cortana. Cortana, Microsofts challenge to Siri Apples voice control program, named after an AI hologram in the popular Halo series is designed to interpret voice commands and reply to you allowing you to basically control and have a conversation with your phone. The OS will be available to Windows Phone handsets over the next few months and new devices with 8.1 will start to launch later this month.

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