by James Geddes |

Windows Phone 8.1 can be installed on any current Windows Phone 8 smartphone and if you’ve got one, here are some of its best features.

If you currently have a Windows Phone 8 smartphone, you’ll be happy to know that it will be upgradeable to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1. The update brings popular features that iOS and Android users have been accustomed to for years. Microsoft will officially release Windows Phone 8.1 later this year, but it can be installed on Windows Phone 8 smartphones right now.

You can install Windows Phone 8.1 by signing up for a free developer’s account. Once you’ve finished the install, your smartphone will be running Windows Phone 8.1 and here are a few of its best features:

Cortana  iOS has Siri and Android has Google Now, Windows Phone 8.1 introduces the world to Microsoft’s answer to a personal assistant that lives inside your smartphone. Cortana learns from you and stores information in a virtual Notebook to make future searches faster and more accurate.

Action Center – Windows Phone fans will have a centralized notification center that will allow access to settings and notifications. Action Center can be accessed from anywhere by swiping down from the top of the screen, just like Android and iOS.

Start Screen Customizations – Windows Phone 8.1 will finally allow users to set a background image on the Start Screen. If you love Live Tiles, you’ll now be able to display more of them on your Start Screen. This feature is especially useful on smaller displays like the Lumia 520.

Data Sense and Wi-Fi Sense – Data Sense has been a popular Windows Phone feature and its update makes it even more useful. You can see what apps are using the most data in a month in an easy to use interface and it also can help you save data with a new “high savings” mode. Wi-Fi Sense makes it fast and easy to connect to free public Wi-Fi hotspots automatically, saving you on data costs.

Install Apps on microSD card – This feature is extremely useful if your Windows Phone 8 smartphone has a microSD expansion slot. Windows Phone 8.1 will now allow you to save internal storage by installing apps and games on a microSD card.

Those are only a few of Windows Phone 8.1’s best new features. The update makes a huge difference and puts Microsoft’s smartphone OS on a level playing field with iOS and Android.