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After Nokia World, the Finnish company has still a lot work to do before they finally leave the mobile phone industry; the same goes for Microsoft, as they enter the said field. After the unveiling of new devices, the efforts are now focused on polishing the new software updates that will be rolled out around the first half of 2013 – Nokia’s exclusive Lumia Black and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade. While we are waiting for Lumia Black to finally arrive, since it will be first on the list and we have the general idea of what to expect on the update, thanks to the Preview for Developers version, let’s talk about Windows Phone 8.1 and what The Verge has gathered from their reliable sources inside Microsoft.

According to the popular tech site, the people at Redmond are now testing the beta copies of the WP8’s successor inside their headquarters, with the full features to be presented at the Build Developer Conference in April 2014. Two significant additions is claimed to be found in the new software – a new notification center more advanced than the Me Tile and the Siri-like personal assistant, which will be called “Cortana”. Of course, you may have read about these new features in some of the articles, but it seems that we will be really seeing these in our Lumia smartphones next year. If ever this rumor will really be confirmed as true, I commend Microsoft for their faster performance compared last year – I hope they truly are living to our expectations.

The notification center, which is said to be included to all Windows Phone upgraded to 8.1, is expected to be similar to the ones found in iOS and Android smartphones – it will be accessible by swiping from the top of the screen, revealing all notifications needed to be address. Even though the Me Tile somehow provides the purpose, the notification center won’t need a live tile to work, so you may allot more tile space for other apps and games.

Cortana, which name has been derived from the Halo games, will work as an interactive voice assistant for all Windows Phone 8.1 handsets. It is believed that Microsoft has been working on the service for months now, to perfect their assistant that will soon rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now.

Things are getting exciting, with all these rumors; however, keep in mind that unless supporting official statements are published or announced, take these rumors with a pinch of salt.

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