8.1 update seeks to unify the ‘Windows family’, makes a play for lower cost devices.Unveiled at Built developer conference today, Windows 8.1 update for tablets and PC, offers a more familiar Windows type experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs, and ramps up the desktop user experience by bringing back the Start menu.
Windows 8.1 update “really accelerates opportunity for developers, and enables device makers to offer lower cost devices” said Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc.
Hardware partners can now build cheap Windows touch tablets with 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also told developers attending Build, “we want our users to think about the Windows family of devices, and the consistency of the user experiences.”
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When asked by a young developer, ‘why should I build for Windows’, he replied: “You should build for Windows because we’re coming at this with a challenger mindset.”
“It’s crazy to abandon what you’ve built, and it’s crazy not to want what you’ve built across the broadest set of devices.”
Among the 8.1 changes are: the 8.1 Start screen with Power and Search buttons are located at the upper-right corner, users can search from the Start screen and shut down a PC more quickly.
For desktop users, PC’s will now boot to desktop as the default setting.
Windows Store is now pinned to the taskbar by default. Both desktop apps and apps from Windows Store and websites can now be pinned to the taskbar. The mouse is also better on 8.1 update and works more consistently anywhere in Windows says LeBlanc.
On the Start screen, right-click on an app tile and a context menu shows what you can do with the tile, like unpin from Start, pin to the taskbar or change the tile size.
Windows 8.1 Update is available today for MSDN subscribers, and will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update next Tuesday April 8th.
The majority of folks will receive the update automatically. If you are still on Windows 8, you can get the Windows 8.1 Update via the Windows Store on April 8th as well, says LeBlanc.