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Windows Phone 8.1 gets Google Calendar back, may have Miracast, and uploads from the browser

As the leaked Windows Phone 8.1 SDK continues to get torn apart by packs of anonymous devs, a few other features about the forthcoming OS have come forward. Today, support for Miracast, uploading of files through Internet Explorer 11 and Google calendar have been found in the documentation.

Miracast is a peer-to-peer wireless screencasting technology that allows beaming of your display to another display, more often than not a large screen TV. Now, references to Miracast have been found in the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK documentation, specifically in the section detailing the ability to let devs connect their devices via USB to a PC to show the display’s contents.

The documentation clearly states that the feature will be there “if the required work is completed before the release”, meaning this is far from a slam dunk for an 8.1 feature. But, it does show that Microsoft is working to bring it to Windows Phone, if not for 8.1 then certainly in its first GDR update, due a few months later.

Having Miracast built in would be a really big consumer feature, as people could share the contents of their phone to their TV using the Miracast standard, one that is preferred my many over Microsoft’s Play To.

Windows Phone Central's own investigation into the SDK can also add that there looks to be cursory support for mouse and keyboard input (i.e. USB human interface devices) too, though we’re digging deeper to confirm at this time. Such a feature would allow you to extend your phone to a monitor, mouse and keyboard, giving you a larger screen for working or even gaming.

The second big find is in uploading of files through Internet Explorer 11. This was intuitively known due to our revealing of File Picker, which allows devs to insert a tool into their app to allow file selection. That tool precedes a full File Manager, but it does allow isolated access to files for the user. Presumably, such a tool could be put into IE11 so that users can upload contents from their libraries – e.g. Documents, Photos, Video, or Music – through the browser to another site.

Finally, WPHacker confirms that native Google Calendar support is back, and in fact, it now supports multiple calendars as well. While not everyone uses Google’s services, it’s great to see native support back after the earlier standards controversy.

All of these are significant additions, should they come to fruition. We say should because beta SDKs and their features do not always make it to the final release. That’s due to testing, feedback and whether or not the feature can be completed in time.

For more information about Windows Phone 8.1 including release dates:

Source: AngelWZR, WPHacker

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

139 Comments
  • I really hope these leaks don't screw up later betas. With that said, I'm not complaining that I get to find this stuff out haha
  • I was thinking the same thing.
  • I think there are people who write comments before they read articles!
  • And apparently write comments before reading comments.
  • I agree but I think MS knew that this stuff would leak out.  It helps build anticipation and lots of internet activity about it. And any revoluionary items have been withheld.  Cortana and the Action Center are not in the SDK but I think we all believe they are coming in 8.1  So they kept out anything that really gave away the surprise element.
  • It also helps to keep focus on MS as buzz about the S5 and Apple devices a swarming as well. If they didn't release it, the net buzz would be dominated by the "larger iPhone", iwatch, two iPhones, galaxy S5 or the next Moto or LG devices. Though those stories are definitely making thier rounds, MS 8.1 is ranking pretty high on the Buzz-o-Meter or Buzzarometer.(Which is cooler?) :-) JLTechword.wordpress.com
  • Agreed; and Buzz-0-Meter sounds better.  Sounds like a game show term while Buzzaromter sounds like a new station term.
  • Lol...cool Buzz-0-Meter it is. Look forward to April and WP 8.1!
  • There's a lot more that are withheld/disabled in the SDK besides Action Center and Cortana :)
  • Do you have a source?  What can you share?
  • I believe there is an action center that comes up from the bottom, and a notifications center from the top.
  • That wouldn't work well with the on screen buttons or capacitive buttons.  Bottom gestures are often awkward.  
  • When can we expect 8.1 OTA?
  • Developer Preview, early April. Everybody else, a month or so after? Not sure on the "everybody else" part.
  • Everyone else probably quite a while, depends if it has to go through carriers or not (it probably will)
  • It'll be 2015 before legacy devices like the 920 get it. Hope I'm wrong. New flagships will have it in the fall first sometime..
  • That's still way ahead of the 810, which will get updated just after never.
  • Well there is always the option of geting the developer preview. especially if you wait a little untill they iron out the issues. 
  • Yes, and I'm *really* thankful that Microsoft opened up that door, otherwise I would never have GDR3, let alone 8.1 when it comes out.   Still more than a little bitter about Black, though.  (Can't get the new firmware through the developer channel.)
  • Yes, Miracast. Nice.
  • Looking forward to this also. Hopefully they'll finish the "work required" before WP8.1. Not too much of an issue though, as they should have it done by WP8.1 update 1.
  • Would it require wifi to work....i mean if we have to share our screen with a TV...how would it connect with that device..?
  • Usb
  • No, Miracast works over WiFi Direct. Not sure exactly what the USB thing is all about, but it's absolutely not Miracast. Maybe some alternate screen-mirroring tool for demos, etc.? I can imagine there are cases where you don't want extreme amounts of wireless congestion screwing up what you're projecting (e.g. a lecture in an auditorium full of people with laptops).
  • Miracast is a wifi standard. Newer TVs and BluRay players now come equipped with it. Other wise, you can purchase a Miracast adatper. Miracast utilizes WiFi direct to connect device to Miracast adapter/TV. The adapter or TV doesn't have to connect to any type of wifi network. They will negotiate a private connection (hence peer-to-peer).   The USB thing is not Miracast. That's being with WP since day one but never was enabled out side of Microsoft dev devices.
  • I know! The lack of AirPlay type of functionality has been a big sore spot for me.
     
  • Miracast is not AirPlay. AirPlay is the equvilent of Play To (or DLNA).
  • Which both stream over Wi-Fi to a TV (and Airplay does more than that)
    He was funcationally accurate no?
  • No, Airplay is limited in what it can stream. Miracast looks (to Windows 8) like just another monitor attached to the system. So on Win8 you can do *anything* on that display, even extending the desktop onto it. Not sure how that will work on phone, but it would let you do a lot more than stream media (e.g. playing games on your TV, showing PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
  • I read that as being able to project my W8.1 desktop screen onto my WP8.1 screen?Would it work this way round?
  • According to Apple (and I am no fan of them but rather wanted to get the facts straight since WP has been pathetic in this realm), Airplay can: 1. Stream (like Play to or Chromecast)
    2. Mirror (like Miracast but is a helluva lot more reliable than Miracast and their supposed list of devices that are compatibile)
    3. and work with Dual Screen like Microsoft's SmartGlass https://www.apple.com/airplay
  • man...I want GDR3 on my Lumia 822. Hurry up, Verizon
  • Ditto
  • Ditto x2
  • Unfortunately me too as my 8x dropped in water. Decent temporary replacement though.
  • Any chance of a podcast next week? I need my fix... I'm starting to jones here. So much news. 
  • FWIW, Windows 8.1 has Miracast support. So this isn't so much of a surprise that it's making its way into Windows Phone 8.1.
  • If only it were possible to get a Miracast receiver for a reasonable price :( £60 is the cheapest reliable one in the UK and isn't worth it just to see how well it works with Windows 8.1... :(
  • A lot of new Blu Ray players now come with Miracast adapter built-in. 2013 Panasonic and now 2014 Sony.
  • Yeah, best not to get me started there...I have a Sony BDP-S5100 (2013 model) but doubt they'll update the firmware :(
  • I did the work for you :) http://data.withinwindows.com/miracast-display-devices-and-windows-81-compatibility/
  • Thanks, good to see some information on the subject. The devices are still very expensive over here though. The $45 Netgear works out at more like $100 equivalent in the UK :( utter rip off considering....
  • Yep, love it using it on my Surface 2 (with a Netgear Push to TV 3000) Nice to hear it's coming in due time to Windows Phone too.
  • How well does the Netgear box work? Is it possible to use it as an extended monitor (different images on both) and stream video from the internet to the PTV3000 without the whole system collapsing under the strain of keeping the connections going?
  • So I read MS are removing Facebook from People Hub. If this is so then they will need to have uploads from browser
  • No, no, no. That is such a blown out rumour. They're just changing the authentication method, as it's now managed via a connection to your Microsoft account on the web rather than a standalone account option in settings.
  • Any source? As per my info, fb is removed & they are cooking something Facebook blue as well.
  • Yes, the fact that Microsoft accounts now integrate with Facebook accounts (didn't do this when WP8 was first released) as a whole. Why have two integrations when one will do all of the work?
  • No source except for the leaks, however that's also the same for this 'Facebook blue'. They're all rumours based on the SDK leaks, and 'Facebook blue' has a lot more speculation whereas mine is closely based on what is already done in Windows 8.1.
  • Thank you for understanding!!!
  • Só, the facebook chat integrated in the messages "hub" will continue like it is now? Thx on advance.
  • I think everything will remain as it is now, only thing will be different is you will be signed into the facebook chat in messages hub through your microsoft account assuming you have the two linked. Once again, only based on my understanding of what i've seen/read so far, could be wrong, but logically it makes no sense for MS to take away facebook integration as it was a big feature, but then again its MS we're talking about, so you never know.
  • From what it looks (and seems) like is we will still have access to FB through the people hub, but it will be like it is on W8/8.1. Once you sign in with your MS account, you will automatically be signed into FB assuming you have the accounts linked in your Outlook/Live account.
    Not sure how or if this will affect the way FB integrates with the Photo Hub though.   Again, this is all an assumption.
  • Yeah, I doubt anything will change. The apps will just use the existing authentication and permissions.
  • So if i had say a 3rd gen widi receiver i could use that
  • God, mouse and keyboard support would be awesome!!!
    I can imagine using the phone snapped on my monitor and having my phone laying on the desk. You can whatsapp with keyboard then. Would be so awesome!!
  • Hey, that's a great use for it. If the USB receiver is a Modern app that would be great for snapping. Even better if mouse and keyboard from the host computer are passed back into the phone ...
  • almost like... i dunno just using your computer instead...
  • Some apps are not on the computer. Most of my communication goes over Whatsapp. It would be great if I could Whatsapp on the PC this way.
  • Sure for things like internet browsing. But if you could text from your computer snapped to the side without taking your hands off the KB to pick up your phone, that's pretty tight
  • So... A keyboard with a WP8 dock (presumably since every WP8 device has the USB cable at the same place)?
  • Agreed but surely, long term the future is that we dont have a pc we have a phone and a screen. When you look at how powerful phones are with multiple cores versus what PCs had even 5 years ago, can we expect that unless you need the full desktop experience you could well have a phone as you primary device in say 5 years? maybe sooner?
  • Especially if the phone only needs to be a Remote Desktop thin client to a RemoteFX server that's running your actual desktop. Businesses could stop issuing separate PCs and phones to a lot of their employees.
  • Exactly!
  • Has there been any info yet on the mail app? I'm hoping there's a way to choose the "From" address. A lot of these features are on the suggestions site, with the "From" one getting the second most votes in the Email category, so I'm remaining optimistic.  
  • What's the issue currently? You choose the 'from' address when you start composing.
  • That functionality doesn't exist on Windows Phone.   Edit: I think you're referring to the linked inbox functionality where you can choose the email account when you compose. You can't choose in a reply. I'd like to move to Outlook from Gmail, not wanting to straddle both worlds so everything would be forwarded to Outlook. Like Windows 8 and the browser, it'd be nice to choose the From when replying.
  • I see what you mean. Well I believe you can achieve it with Outlook.com's aliases, though it's more of a set-and-forget thing.
  • How does screen sharing work if I don't have a smart tv just HDMI in?
  • You can buy a Miracast receiver that goes into HDMI.
  • From this pictures you can see taht it is possible to output video from the usb port  (Project my screen) http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-sdk-gallery I know that some Android phones could be connected with MHL cables from the usb to the hdmi port and we know that WP8.1 will include usb output for video so maybe MHL cables will work for WP8.1 as well. Like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2jkj4raanA
  • Notice how that white-on-blue mail icon square and the black bar to its right is EXACTLY the same style as that Cortana video that showed up on youtube like 10 days ago and that was deemed fake... As somebody said - I forget who - the fact that it was fake doesn't imply that it wasn't a pretty good recreation of the design we'll see... Very interesting.
  • I'm really hoping for a full file manager here!!
  • Why?
  • doubt it'll happen, we'll probably get a limited version of it
  • Any idea when 8.1 will be available in India. Its usually its 3 or 4 months after US and Europe release.
  • U can download it from the preview app
  • Are you gonna do that?
    do you know when it's gonna be available via the dev preview?
  • Current information points to at or within the week after //BUILD on April 2nd.
  • Uploads from the browser?? Praise the Lord, my prayers have been answered. :D
  • No joke. I can't believe more people don't realize how inconvenient not having this feature is. It is amazing how much shit Blackberry took for their web browsing just a few years ago, now it makes other platforms look dated.
  • I miss my Blackberry and Blackberry 10 is the best OS. I only left for the ecosystem
  • Nice try thorsten heins, you cant hide behind that username.
  • My username has Win in it as in Windows so shut the hell up.
  • T'was but a joke my angry friend. Might I advise a chill pill?
  • They actually do and many have dumped Windows Phone for this ridiculously basic feature: http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4291684-allow-uploading-in-browser http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4276271-allow-photo-and-file-upload-through-ie http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4305141-internet-browser-file-upload- http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/2392542-allow-lt-input-type-file-gt- http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/2343183-upload-files-via-browser http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/3499583-add-ability-to-upload-picture-using-ie http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/4058179-we-can-t-upload-pictures-with-the-ie10-mobile-wp8
  • But Google calendar works on GDR3.
  • Yeah I have it, but I think it's only for accounts connected before Google closed their Exchange service to new users.
  • Nops. I got my phone last month. GDR3 adds support for CalDAV which is suppose to work with Google calendars.
  • It's not to do with the phone, it's to do with the Gmail account. If you first used ActiveSync before they shut it off, then you still get it. They only shut off ActiveSync for accounts that haven't used it yet.
  • No, it has nothing to do with ActivSync. PureView was right, it has to do with the CalDAV support that was baked into GDR2. I keep wondering as well why everyone is saying that 8.1 brings back Google Calendar since it works just fine on my phone.
  • Ok cool, yeah that is puzzling. Not the first time though, like people saying GDR3 bought the ability to attach documents to emails ...
  • I managed to set up my Lumia 1520 with Gmail as an exchange account before the deadline of no more activesync, so my calendar works fine. But if I had to go without Google Calendar Syn, I doubt I'd even be able to use Windows Phone at all. I rely heavily on Google Calendar and, though I like Outlook.com a lot, switching isn't really an option for me right now. I'm not sure how you guys have been getting by without Google Calendar sync. That sucks.
  • Never got involved.
  • I was referring to people who actually use Google services on Outlook. A bunch of OMGGOOGLESUCKSLIVEMAILALLTHEWAYBBYFISHSTICKS!!!!11!one replies aren't really necessary. I already know that a lot of you are invested in Microsoft's ecosysem. For some of us who like Windows phone, that's not an option right now.
  • Yeah like Zulfigar said - never got involved then switching is nothing. Unless you must have access to shared calendars and you can't get the other people to switch then you just make your old google calendar accessible and use outlook to subscribe to it, then you stop entering new appointments to G calendar and switch to using Outlook.  Done, migrated. 
  • All I want today is the battery sense app.
  • YES for keyboard support!!!
  • To be honest I haven been using Google Calendar since I bought the 2520 that doesn't have access to it. Still have since on my 1520 I guess? I have slowly killed off Google other than Gmail. Stop being dependent on Google Voice and quite a few apps I been attached to.
  • Anybody still remember the Windows Phone 7 days (pre-Mango) when we had file upload? Why did they ever take it away?
  • LoL i do remember.......i owned Samsung focus dat time
    Which phone u owned?
  • Samsung Focus purchased on Nov 8th 2010....I still have it in a drawer. :-)  
  • HTC Surround in my drawer. Purchased: 20-Jan 2011 was my first smartphone. Before, I was using dumb-but-snappy-nokia-phones :)
  • Verizon Trophy
  • Different kernel meant they had to redo the code. That's just a part of life sometimes. :/
  • All I see is week view.
  • Yes, MS decided to go from not having week view... to only having week view. :-\
  • With Miracast could it be possible to run Power point directly from the phone :) and with Miracast and keyboard could Word be more useful :D
  • Yes yes yes
  • From all these leak photos one thing keeps popping out to me is that they have decided to keep status bar icons visible 24x7 instead of just having clock. We will now have network icon visible constantly too?! I bet I have seen threads about that in our forums! Also, it feels like devs are so busy freaking leaking stuff, they won't built a single decent app update using this! This was meant to help develop stuff early, no??
  • It'll either be like that, or this is just in the SDK. ;)
  • why windows phone's doesnt have wifi direct, its faster than bluetooth and why doesnt it has PAN i mean EDR its convinient than wifi hotspot and even saves battery
  • We confirmed Wi-Fi Direct on Tuesday for 8.1
  • will it be available for devices with 512mb ram?..
  • How long until google changes their programs to not work on 8.1?
  • Can anyone with the SDK check if 8.1 will have word substitution like on Blackberry? I miss that feature the most.
  • I am ready to Void my warrenty this april.... :P
  • Wow..
    Such feeture
    Much antecepation
    So hype
    Very ecxite
  • Jaxbot a/k/a Windows Phone Hacker will be happy...
  • This is probably the biggest and best update so far. We can probably finally say that we've caught up with the mobile world. I had faith in Windows Phone and I'm extremely happy I stuck around. (not like I was going anywhere in the first place lol, but y'know.)
  • I just wish internet explorer could open tabs open on a windows 8 machine and visa versa
  • will windows 8.1 be for all windows 8 phones ore just for some of them
  • ALL.
  • Finally, TV out via USB aka, MLH, Slimport and more and USB OTG may be coming to Windows Phone!!!
  • Uploading of files?! Now that is cool. :) Being able to use this on websites would be awesome!
  • the real ? here is how long it will take google to break the compatability. it. will only be a matter of time until they sabotage microsoft some more.
  • 'If they can be completed in time"... reminds me of what we heard about the notifications center in 2012.
  • Bluetooth certification screenshot for 8.1 showed no HID support. Assuming USB keyboard / mouse only then?
  • Ahhhh, the power of windows NT. So much more capable than the windows CE core that windows phone previously ran on. The future will be very bright for windows phone.  
  • The new calendar is really ugly.. :/
  • Don't know why no update happening on office and outlook?? Can't we still attach office files or PDF files to an existing conversation thread? Its annoying....
  • Awesome man!I am just waiting for it!Just waiting to play Ashphalt 8 with Xbox controller from my 520 on my Pc.Keep the goodies comin!
  • Here's the ISO:   magnet:?xt=urn:btih:b804fa1bad6e7440cf0abd0b175bbd0c0c1f916c&dn=+Windows+Phone+8.1+SDK+5D+-+ISO+   Paste in your favourite bittorrent client :-)  
  • double post, my bad
  • I never knew when an alert pops up at the top of your screen you could actually slide it to the right to get rid of it. Amazing. Just notice that today
  • What I think is Nokia n Microsoft shud think about providing basic feature n application for accessing sd card data, just like we used to do in Symbian or android phns. Users shud be given freedom to install apps in sd card. Blue update must provide these othrwise win 8 os is not going too far..trust me
  • Please tell me 8.1 is going to give us wireless printing.
  • So few new features. Are they sleeping? Why don't they take the best features from IOS and Android and improve from there?
  • Now only if they can Google Calendar sync on Windows 8.1....