Microsoft needs better Windows 8 apps, and in greater numbers, but, at times, it seems at a loss on how to get them. The company has introduced various initiatives, but then for reasons that are hard to fathom, does its best to hamper developers.
In a blog post yesterday, following the announcement of Windows 8.1 hitting the RTM milestone, the Windows Apps Team put out a call to developers to get their apps ready for the Windows 8.1 launch. It went down like a lead balloon with app makers asking exactly how they're supposed to do this without early access to Windows 8.1 RTM.
Ten months after Microsoft launched the polarizing Windows 8, comes the news that the software giant has now reached RTM on Windows 8.1, and started to roll out the OS refresh to its hardware partners.
I’m using Windows 8.1 as my primary operating system, and frankly can’t wait to install the finished OS, but will have to wait a while yet -- that’s not set to be made available to consumers until October 18. I was never a fan of Windows 8, but 8.1 is a huge improvement.
Windows 8.1 is a huge improvement over Windows 8. Once you've spent any time in the preview (or one of the leaked builds) you'll find it impossible to go back to the obviously half-baked original.
But the default setup still has some annoyances that get in the way and prevent you from just booting up your PC and using Windows. For starters there's the lock screen to get through -- a delaying stage which serves little purpose in a home environment. Then you have to enter your password and log to in your Microsoft account, and finally, once you've cleared those steps, there's the Modern UI to go through on your way to the desktop. Fortunately you can configure Windows 8.1 to skip all of that nonsense.
A couple of days ago my colleague Wayne Williams looked at the new features in the latest leaked build of Windows 8.1 and now, hot on the heels of that, comes the announcement of the official release date for the OS refresh.
Set your alarm for 4am Pacific Time October 17 as this is when the much-anticipated update to Windows 8 will be unleashed on an eager public.
Windows 8.1 will likely hit the RTM milestone in the next couple of weeks but a new version of the forthcoming operating system -- build 9471 -- has leaked onto the internet, revealing a few interesting changes and additions to the official Windows 8.1 Preview released two months ago.
Don’t expect a genuine Start button, or a raft of exciting new apps -- Microsoft isn’t about to reinvent the wheel this close to RTM. However, the software giant has introduced one big new addition which might appeal to anyone thinking of migrating to the tiled OS, as well as a selection of smaller changes.
Internet Explorer is an integral part of Microsoft's tiled operating system, and the software giant has endeavoured to improve the way it handles touch in Windows 8.1, adding new touch elements and improving existing ones.
In a new blog post Microsoft discusses the changes it has made which, if you’re planning on using the OS refresh on a touch enabled device, you’ll likely find both interesting and welcome.
On 26 June, Microsoft rolled out the highly anticipated Windows 8.1 Preview, making it firstly available through the Windows Store, and then as ISOs a day later. The Windows refresh has a lot of new features, besides the new Start button, and to help sell the product Microsoft has created a PDF guide.
Called "Windows 8.1 Preview Product Guide", the PDF starts with an overview before going through the features on offer.
I had an old uncle who watched a lot of TV. If you tried to speak to him while he was concentrating on the screen he would politely nod and say "I’m listening" even though he patently wasn’t. Microsoft is the tech world equivalent of my uncle.
I knew when Windows division CFO Tami Reller discussed the Start button with The Verge a month ago and said: "We've really tried to understand what people are really asking for when they're asking for that", the end result would be something nobody had asked for, nor wanted. And of course, that’s exactly what the Windows 8.1 Start button is.
Shortly after Windows 8.1 Preview was announced at this year's Build conference, Microsoft made it available to install through the Windows Store. The ISO files took a while to appear (MSDN subscribers got to download them first, followed by anyone with access to BitTorrent) but they are finally available to download officially from here.
Because Windows 8.1 is a preview version, and far from the finished article, you may not want to upgrade your existing operating system just yet. Fortunately, you can try the Windows 8 refresh without risk by installing it in a virtualized environment using the free Oracle VM VirtualBox.
Microsoft still wants everyone to use and love the Modern UI, but it accepts, finally, that a large portion of users aren’t interested in apps and the tiled interface. So it’s given desktop users the option to skip the Start screen on boot up, but then tucked it away, along with a bunch of other useful customization options.
If you want to have your own wallpaper displayed on the Start screen, or have Windows 8.1 show the Apps view when you hit the Windows key (or click the new Start button), that’s easily arranged at the same time.
The hype bubble around Windows 8.1 is steadily building this week. Microsoft will supposedly dump a full preview version of 8.1 in ISO format, and the rumored date across the net happens to be June 26. In step, BetaNews readers have been sounding off on Wayne Williams' post asking the big question at hand: Will you be installing Windows 8.1?
Interestingly, just by chance, I found out myself that you don't need to wait until the 8.1 ISO hits the web. Some of the biggest, and most requested, changes are already floating around in the wild -- albeit in a slightly different package than you may expect. Both the new Start Button and the 'Boot to Desktop' option are fully viewable in the latest Windows Server 2012 R2 preview build. You can download a full preview copy for yourself over at TechNet.
Microsoft will be releasing the Windows 8.1 Preview this week and we’re excited to finally get our hands on an official build, and try out the new features and improvements which the software giant has implemented in its quest to make its divisive operating system more appealing to the masses.
A week ago we asked you if you intend to install Windows 8.1. To date we’ve had just over 2,800 responses, so it’s a reasonable sample size given the time the poll has been up, and the results are interesting. The actual percentage between answers hasn’t changed much since around the 1,000 responses mark.
On June 26 Microsoft will release a preview of Windows 8.1. The OS refresh is designed to make the operating system easier to use, address some of the concerns that users have, and persuade doubters to finally make the switch.
Windows 8.1 fixes issues and introduces some welcome new features, including the return of the Start button, boot to desktop, the option to have multiple apps on screen at once, Internet Explorer 11, the ability to turn the lockscreen into a photoframe, as well as various Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and security enhancements.
If you downloaded a leaked build of Windows 8.1 you’ll have noticed quite a few changes to Microsoft's new operating system, but there are still a lot more tweaks and features to come in the official preview build which will be released on June 26.
One of the new features is a revamped Windows Store, but unfortunately this wasn’t available to explore on the leaked builds. I say "wasn’t" because as of today you can now access and browse the store, and even download apps.
Ringo Starr admits he gets frustrated that all people ever want to talk to him about is The Beatles. The developers of Windows 8 must feel similarly annoyed that despite all the changes in the new OS, all anyone wants to talk about is the Start button.
Windows 8 gets a lot of things right, and a lot of things wrong, but the lack of a Start button and menu in the desktop is the one thing that seems to unite all the haters. It’s symbolic of how badly Microsoft judged our attachment to the status quo in its rush to embrace the future. Fortunately with Windows 8.1 Microsoft gets a chance to fix things and give us the OS we should have had in the first place.