Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 brings support for accessory apps, especially smartwatches
Earlier today, Microsoft started seeding the Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 Update to developers, which introduces plethora of features and enhancements to the OS. Along with it, the update also reveals some information about the future plans of the company as well. If you dig into the Settings in the latest Windows Phone 8.1 Update, you’ll notice the presence of “accessory apps,” which is for notifications from smart devices such as watches, fitness bands, etc.
Enabling it will obviously allow the connected apps to interact with the smartphone, and get instant messages, notifications, etc., to the devices. Don’t get too excited since the feature is not yet enabled by Microsoft. If you go inside this, you’ll eventually find out that it can’t be enabled since it’s for users on the Microsoft approved list.
We’ve heard in the past few weeks that wearable devices will eventually support Microsoft’s operating system — Fitbit did so recently and more could be on the horizon. The APIs were first uncovered by Jeremy Sinclair, who mentioned how these accessory apps can be used to answer phone calls, accept video calls, and reject calls too, along with several other features.
The feature was not present in the previous builds of the OS, and this could mean that Microsoft is trying to make it easier for developers, like Pebble and many others, to bring support for Windows Phone in an official manner. At the moment, there’s no word from any smartwatch manufacturer about bringing support for Windows Phone, but there’s no harm in guessing — we may see some of them in the distant future.
Microsoft is also rumored to launch its own smartwatch in the coming months, and we’ve seen a few patents and other leaked information about the device being in the pipeline. However, there’s no confirmed report at the moment. We’ll update you if anything interesting pops up about this feature, or about Microsoft’s wearable device.Further reading: Microsoft, Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8.1