The first screenshots of Microsoft's long-awaited Windows Phone 8 notification centre have finally appeared online, ahead of the utility's official debut as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 Blue update.
Leaked by WPCentral, the images apparently come from an internal email sent around Microsoft, and give WP users a glimpse of what is surely the number one feature the company's mobile OS is still lacking.
Not that Microsoft ever intended it to be that way – or so the story goes. Way back in November 2012 we reported that Microsoft had planned for the newly launched Windows Phone 8 to come with a notification centre built in, but hadn't managed to finish it in time.
At the time we reported Windows Phone program manager Thomas Fennel as saying getting the notification centre finished was “very very important to me” and that “we're thinking very very hard on that one”.
Fast forward some 15 months and... well, let's be positive about it and assume that a huge amount of thinking has gone into the creation of the Action Centre.
Looking at the screenshots, the basic interface, accessible with a single downward swipe, gives you one-touch access to various key settings – in this case, it's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and Driving Mode but these can be configured to suit. Below that on the right is the option to call up the full Settings pane.
A further downward swipe opens the notifications window, which can likewise be configured to promote and omit certain types of content. Apps can supposedly “intelligently” manage notifications themselves – that is, silently add, update and delete notifications – while there's also a Clear All button to clear the decks should you so desire.
It wouldn't be fair to deliver a full verdict from a couple of screenshots, but from what we can see so far, Microsoft has more or less delivered... a notification centre – which was the idea, really. It's just a pity it's taken so long.