Along with all the recent updates in Microsoft products the 8.1 update for Windows Phone has finally become available to owners in Australia.

The Windows 8.1 update brings a significant amount of improved functionality to the Windows Phone platform. The most handy of these improvements is the notifications that you can view by dragging down from the top of the screen. This gives you a quick update on what’s happening on your phone.

The new update also increases the amount of tiles that can be displayed on the home screen by adding an additional column. It is also now possible to have a picture as a background on the home screen.

You also now get the option for configuring a VPN for security across untrusted networks which is really handy when you are using shared wifi from a coffee shop or a hotel room.

Another big enhancement is the inclusion of a swipe keyboard. This allows you to drag your fingers across the on screen keyboard rather than having to tap on each key separately. It takes a little getting used to but once mastered it makes sending SMS messages very fast, especially using a single hand.

All it all this is a pretty seamless and worthwhile update for anyone with Windows Phone 8. Generally, if you haven’t received the update then the phone will prompt you to download and update the software. However if it doesn’t you can always look for the updates option in the settings section.