Windows Phone 8.1 update details reveal 7" devices, app folders and more

Lumia 1520
Imagine a phone even bigger than the 6-inch Lumia 1520

Exciting updates to Windows Phone 8.1 are just around the corner as Microsoft inadvertently spilled the beans on some of the biggest changes coming soon to its mobile OS.

Microsoft accidentally revealed its release notes for Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, otherwise known as Update 1, on its Developer Center. Among the upcoming changes is the addition of app folders. It's a little sad this long-held iOS and Android feature has taken so long to come to Windows Phone, but we suppose it's better late than never when it comes to better app tile organization.

The update also adds a Cortana entry into the phonebook, allowing users to trigger speech controls through a car's navigation system. This could be useful for activating speech on handsets in cars that don't support the feature via Bluetooth.

Yet another big updates users will be able to take advantage of is the added support for voice over a Wi-Fi connection, a great service for those who don't have a lot of mobile minutes to spare.

Big screens, interactive covers

The premature spill also reveals Microsoft is preparing Windows Phone 8.1 for some of its biggest devices yet. The update adds support for screens 6.01- to 7-inches in size with 1280 x 768 WXGA resolutions.

Once the update takes, Windows Phone 8.1 devices with 1280 x 800 WXGA resolution screens will also become a possibility.

Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 also introduces the possibility of interactive case accessories. Like the covers made for the HTC One M8 and LG G3, these will allow Microsoft's mobile devices to display information on a phone screen even when a case is in use.

While there aren't any interactive covers nor 7-inch Windows Phone devices yet, the update indicates they could be here before long.

Touchy touchy

Although the gift-bearing update isn't yet upon us, Microsoft did release some new interactive lock screens to the current version of Windows Phone 8.1.

The Live Lock Screen beta brings the newfangled lock screens first debuted at Build 2014. They replace boring swipeable pictures with rotating image locks and text that slips off the screen's edge as users unlock their device.

Currently there are six themes Windows Phone 8.1 users can access upon installing the app. However, users might be better off sticking with the lock screens they already have as PC World reports many of the new ones are buggy.

Supposedly the experience lags quite often while other users have reported the Live Lock screens cause their devices to crash repeatedly.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.