OEMs Getting Windows 8.1 RTM Next Month

On Monday during Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas, Windows CMO and CFO Tami Reller announced that Windows 8.1 RTM will be available for OEM partners in late August. That means OEMs will be able to get the updated platform and begin preparing their new and current Windows 8 devices just in time for the holidays. Additional details regarding consumers and other customers on how to get Windows 8.1 will be provided in the coming months.

The update will bring a portfolio of improvements including the ability to bring the desktop background to the Start screen, making the transition from one to the other both less jarring and less disconnected. The Start button is also making a return, but it won't feature the familiar Start menu but rather bring users back to the Start screen. The mail app will also see an improvement among other much-needed updates and enhancements to the Windows 8 platform.

According to Brandon LeBlanc, Jensen Harris joined Reller on the conference stage and demoed a new Reading List app. It allows users to share articles from the web and content from other apps to read later using data that "roams" across Windows devices thanks to SkyDrive. He also demoed a search feature for music integrated with Xbox Music where users can share a webpage and the Xbox Music app will create a playlist according to what it pulls from that page.

"Jensen demoed for the first time new technology built into Windows 8.1 called Miracast that streams HD video and audio over Wi-Fi to another display like a TV," LeBlanc said. "With Surface Pro, he essentially turned a TV into a whiteboard with the OneNote app."

In addition to the Windows 8.1 news, Reller also introduced the User Experience Design Competency launching in January 2014. This will provide a way for partners to train their designers and get recognized for their expertise with the Microsoft Design Language. She also revealed a program called TouchWins, a new commercial channel incentive for authorized distributors and reseller partners who sell featured Windows devices.

Reller said at the conference that Microsoft now has more than 20 million enterprise evaluations and that Windows 8 has logged 60 billion hours of use. Even more, new customer activation continues at a consistent pace. Microsoft released a preview version of Windows 8.1 to customers just two weeks ago, presented as an update in Windows Store and as a downloadable ISO.

  • jdog2pt0
    JDog2pt0 getting Windows 8 at no point in the foreseeable future.
  • nitrium
    Meh, rather they release Windows 7.2 (I'm assuming the .1 is the new way of saying SP1).
  • nevilence
    Be careful the M$ and win 8 fanbois will be flamming you soon >< they seem to be crawling the forums lately
  • __-_-_-__
    isn't linux great?
  • viper666
    11120880 said:
    isn't linux great?

    If the next windows(9?) scheduled for 2014 keeps up the same trend as 8 did, I'll delete my windows partition which is mostly used for some games, as most older titles run just fine under wine, and the new AAA titles are not even worth pirating.
  • DjEaZy
    ... well? F@&k Windows H8.1... what's the use? they bring back the desktop mode and start button, but, when you press it, it gives you the screen estate waster aka modern ui... and then there is still no easy accessible shut down and restart button at the start 'screen'...
  • acidice
    DjEaZy - have you tried right-clicking on the start button - the shutdown command and other usefull apps will be listed when you do that...
  • SteelCity1981
    you know an actual windows 7 service pack 2 would be nice just for all the updates that came out after windows 7 sp1 came out alone. Adding DirectX 11.2 support would be nice too if they bundled that in with the next windows 7 service pack but i'm not holding my breath for either or.
    Why not just have Windows 7.2 where you CAN add a Start UI if you have a touchscreen? Microsoft really screwed up with Windows 8. We're not ready to ditch the Keyboard and Mouse just yet, you know...not even close.
  • memadmax
    I am so close to abandoning the wintel platform.
    If there is a win9 and it looks/behaves like this pile of poo(yes, even 8.1) then I'm outta here. I can't just break ~70 employees' decades of start bar use, I can't force them to learn this and they won't either, not to mention the untold hours of lost productivity and that translates to lost money. WHY should I give money to lose money??? We also have in house software that is unusable on this thing, and even commercial software that refuses to run on this pile of dung.