Yesterday, Paul talked about how Microsoft has been silently shifting Windows Phone development away from a dedicated consumer focus to provide better Enterprise support. Despite actually leading the smartphone initiative in the early days with Windows Mobile, Microsoft had to reenter the crowded mobile OS market behind Android and iOS. And, just like Android and iOS, Windows Phone targeted the consumer crowd and blindly ignored Enterprises. So, now that the market has peaked, each platform is trying to retrofit Enterprise support. As an example, Apple and IBM recently announced a partnership where IBM would resell iPhones and Apple would rely on IBM to build Enterprise-class security and services for Enterprises.
In Paul's article, he makes the case that Microsoft is working to rectify its me-too, follower mentality and bolster Windows Phone operations for businesses.
Today, Microsoft has announced that Windows Phone 8.1 will receive an update shortly. So, while many carriers have yet to release Windows Phone 8.1, an update is already set. Consumers can expect the update in the coming months. Those who are running Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers will get it next week.
There's a slew of updates, enhancements, and fixes in the update, but there are a few specific pieces Microsoft is adding to further improve Windows Phone for business.
The features for business include:
Better organization: To help separate personal apps from business apps, or just to provide better Start screen organization, Update 1 will bring Live Folders. Live Folders allows users to create "groups" of apps, giving them the ability to drag app tiles into folder groupings and categorize them.
Poor Man's MDM?: If your company has yet to deploy a full MDM solution, Apps Corner will be available to "sandbox" or restrict apps. Those apps placed in Apps Corner are used to create customized Start screens for others who might need to borrow or use the device. Think: Kid's Corner, but for businesses.
Custom Start: Also part of App Corner functionality, an app can be selected to run immediately whenever the phone is booted. This is great for those businesses that use Windows Phone devices for specific functions like inventory or POS.
Better VPN: Update 1 for Windows 8.1 will provide improved VPN coverage, allowing data to be send and received through a VPN while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots.
You can get a look at all the proposed features here: Windows Phone 8.1 Update brings Cortana to new markets + new features