What's new in Windows Phone 8.1 (developer preview) and how to get it?

Microsoft just launched its latest update for developers, Windows Phone 8.1. Calling it an update would be wrong though, it's like a whole new operating system. I tested the WP 8.1 on Nokia Lumia 520 and here are the best new features:

Cortana: With its personal assistant named Cortana Microsoft has added the best of both iOS' Siri and Android's Google Now. Your personal assistant will do tasks for you as you say them. It'll even tell you joke when you are sad.

The Notification Center: Microsoft finally added a swipe down notification center which will contain all your notifications. All the toast notification will get added here unless you clear them. This screen will also have shortcuts for four or five settings' shortcuts to toggle options like Bluetooth, WiFi etc. 

Internet Explorer 11: The new internet explorer is faster and better. It can save your passwords, handle many tabs and can play youtube videos. HTML5 support has been added. And, finally you can download music and videos instead of streaming them online.

The Swype Keyboard: You can now swipe through letters and your keyboard will write the words for you. Emoticons now show up in suggestions.

Contacts & Call: You now have an option to show contacts only with a phone number. You can view call details by pressing and holding a contact in the history.

Other features:
a) Apps can now be stored on SD card.
b) Installed apps can be filtered in Store by usage and install date.
c) Option to automatically update apps added.
d) Calendar has been revamped.
e) Camera app now has a new layout with burst mode.
f) VPN support.
g) Changed layout of call screen.
h) You can now search in SMS threads.
i) You can now connect your device to projector and project it.

j) You can add a wallpaper on live tiles.


How to get Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview?
Note: Installing WP 8.1 (developer preview) will nullify your phone's warranty if any. Also you cannot revert back to previous version once 8.1 is installed.
  1. Go to appstudio.windowsphone.com and click on 'Start New Project'.
  2. Log in with your Microsoft ID and choose any template like Empty App for example.
  3. Now go to store on your Windows Phone and search for an app named, 'Preview for Developers'. Download and install it.
  4. Open the app, choose necessary options and log in using your same Microsoft with which you registered on AppStudio when asked.
  5. Close the app when all is done and go to settings > phone update and check for updates.
  6. You may have to download few updates before you actually get 8.1 but it is worth the wait. 
How to enable Cortana outside United States?
  1. Go to settings > region (after installing 8.1)
  2. Change your region to United States.
  3. Restart the phone.
  4. Go to settings > languages.
  5. Change your language to English (United States) and move it to the top if it is not already there.
  6. Restart the phone.
  7. Now you can access Cortana by tapping the Search key.