A couple weeks ago at our Build 2014 conference, we announced Windows Phone 8.1 with tons of new capabilities for both consumers and enterprises. Yesterday, Windows Phone 8.1 was made available as a Developer Preview for developers and app builders that are registered in our Windows Phone Preview for Developers program.

Click to enlarge ...
Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1

In this article, we’ll discuss how to get the new Developer Preview for Windows Phone 8.1 and I’ll also share some of my favorite new features!

How do I get the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview?

Easy! You’ll need to register as either a Windows Phone Developer ($19 USD/year) - or - for a FREE App Studio account (yes, FREE!), and then download the Windows Phone Preview for Developers app to “opt-in” for receiving pre-release developer updates. After performing these steps, you'll be able to use the normal Settings > System > Phone update path on your phone to download and install the new Developer Preview.

Special notes: Before performing these steps, please be sure to read these Important Notes.  Developer preview releases are intended to provide early access to new Windows Phone bits for developers that are building new apps. Installing a preview release on your device may void any warranty from your mobile operator and/or OEM.

Do I need to be a "coder" to build Windows Phone 8.1 Apps?

Absolutely not! Anyone with an interest in building mobile apps can build no-code apps by leveraging App Studio for FREE!  In fact, here's a sample app that I recently published to the Windows Phone store using App Studio ...

Learn more about building no-code apps with App Studio with these "How-to" tutorials.  And ... if you're a teacher or educator, you can leverage this free 5-hour classroom curriculum with exercises to teach your students about building mobile apps.

Do you write "code" for mobile apps?

If so, be sure to register for our free upcoming Microsoft Virtual Academy Jump Start event on Building Apps for Windows Phone 8.1 to learn more about the other new developer features.

Note that no prior experience developing Windows Phone 8 apps is required for this Jump Start event.

Where can I find more details on what’s new in Windows Phone 8.1?

For more details on the new business-related features of Windows Phone 8.1, be sure to also check out these new whitepapers …

What’s my favorite new features on Windows Phone 8.1?

There’s so many new features to choose from, but if I have to narrow things down to just a few, I’d choose …

  • Cortana, my new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant
  • Syncing my IE Favorites (and other device settings) between phone and Windows
  • Word Flow for super-speedy keyboard input … which now holds the world's record for fastest text entry on a smartphone!

Here’s a few short videos that introduce each of my favorite features in more detail …

New Windows Phone 8.1 Updates … Word Flow and more!

Sync All Your Screens …

Meet Cortana: Your New Windows Phone 8.1 Personal Assistant

What’s your favorite new features on Windows Phone 8.1?

Download the Developer Preview release of Windows Phone 8.1 and share your favorite new features in the Comments area below!

Which new features do you enjoy most on Windows Phone 8.1?

- Keith