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AT&T rolls out Windows Phone 8.1 to Lumia 820, 920 phones

Latest version of Microsoft's mobile OS brings its Cortana voice assistant and other enhancements to the Lumia 820 and 920.

Microsoft hopes Windows Phone 8.1 will draw in more buyers for its Lumia phones. AT&T/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 is now officially gracing the Lumia 820 and 920 via AT&T.

In a blog posted by AT&T on Thursday, the carrier confirmed that Windows Phone 8.1 is now available for the Nokia Lumia 820 and Nokia Lumia 920 smartphones. Users can grab the update on their phones by clicking the Live Tile for settings and then tapping the option for Phone Update. After downloading the update, simply restart your phone for the new version to take center stage.

Windows Phone is the third most popular smartphone operating system on the market, but that doesn't mean much in a world dominated by Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems. Microsoft's mobile market share has actually remained flat at around 3 percent. The software giant recently launched Windows Phone 8.1 with a variety of features designed not just to satisfy current users but to draw in more buyers for its Lumia phones.

The Cortana voice assistant is one of the major new features in Windows Phone. Designed to respond to your voice commands, Cortana attempts to outdo Apple's Siri and Google Now by more easily helping you set reminders and calendar events and better understanding natural-language queries.

But Windows Phone 8.1 holds more in store, as per the following features described by AT&T:

  • Personalization. Live Tiles with multiple sizes, transparency, and color options let you pin apps, music and people to your Start Screen so you choose the information you want to be displayed in the way you want to see it.
  • One Windows. With OneDrive, Skype, Office and Bing, the Windows experience is reinvented across all your screens -- phones, tablets, PCs and Xbox -- so you can shoot, share, work and play on the go.
  • Xbox. With Xbox games, music and video in your pocket, you'll have entertainment options on-the-go.
  • Efficiency. Windows Phone is optimized to help you do more, with the new Word Flow keyboard, Action Center for managing notifications and quick actions, and a new suite of device and data management tools.
  • Word Flow keyboard with shape writing. The updated Word Flow keyboard with Windows Phone 8.1 knows your contacts, learns your phrases and has shape writing integrated right in so there's no need for a separate app.