Windows 8.1 will include big bets, says Microsoft

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 12:49 Written by admin Thursday, 30 May 2013 12:46

Just how big? Not that big if you ask me. If you’re going to hold your breath for universe-shaking innovation you might as well exhale now. Or wait, if you’re actually believing that Microsoft has some aces up its sleeve, anything other than the stuff that was share in a blog post today by Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President, Windows Program Management. There are a few enhancements on the personalization front, including some love for the Start screen. That was expected, if you ask me.

Bing will still be at the heart of search in Windows 8.1. Bing? Really? I want to ask all devs in Redmond that are googling their way to the nearest five star gourmet Seattle restaurant. Bing? Really?

Moving on… Apps will get an upgrade, and it appears that multi-tasking has also been kicked up a notch. There’s one thing that I’m looking forward to, and that’s Internet Explorer 11. However, I disagree that IE11 is THE ONLY browser built for touch. Redmond doesn’t get the latest tablets running Android? There are browsers built for touch on those. Really there are! I promise. Moving more once again… Read Microsoft’s own blog post:

 

Windows 8.1 will advance the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of PCs, tablets, and a range of industry devices, and the experiences customers — both consumers and businesses alike — need and will just expect moving forward. It’s Windows 8 even better. Not only will Windows 8.1 respond to customer feedback, but it will add new features and functionality that advance the touch experience and mobile computing’s potential. Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity. Windows 8.1 will also include big bets for business in areas such as management and security – we’ll have more to say on these next week at TechEd North America. Today, I am happy to share a “first look” at Windows 8.1 and outline some of the improvements, enhancements and changes customers will see.

Personalization:

In Windows 8.1, you’ll be able to do more to personalize the experience on your device. As people started using Windows 8, we found that people were using their Lock screens to show pictures of their families. So in Windows 8.1, you can turn your PC or tablet into a picture frame by making your Lock screen a slide show of your pictures – either locally on the device or photos from the cloud in SkyDrive. We also added the ability to take pictures with the built-in camera right from the Lock screen without having to log in.

Windows 8.1 offers more colors and backgrounds for the Start screen – including ones with motion.

You can even choose your desktop background as your Start screen background, creating a greater sense of unity and familiarity. And the Start screen in Windows 8.1 features a variety of tile sizes including a new large and new small tile, so you can organize your Start screen exactly the way you want it. It’s also even easier to name groups and rearrange tiles. You can now select multiple apps all at once, resize them, uninstall them, or rearrange them. We also found people were accidentally moving tiles on their Start screen so in Windows 8.1, you press and hold (or right click) to move things around.

You can view all apps just by swiping from the bottom to view all apps, and we’ve added the ability to filter your apps by name, date installed, most used, or by category. You want the Start screen to be about all the things you love. So when you install a new app from the Windows Store, we no longer put that app on your Start screen. Instead, you’ll find these apps under apps view as mentioned above and marked as “new” where you can choose to pin the apps you want to your Start screen.

Search:

In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources (the web, apps, files, SkyDrive, actions you can take) to provide the best “answer” for your query. We think this will really change the way you interact with the Web and with windows making it quicker and easier to get things done. It is the modern version of the command line!

Quick actions include things you would want to do like play a song or video. Results from local files, apps, and settings are easily accessed in the same convenient view by scrolling to the left.

Apps and Windows Store:

We will be improving all our built in apps that come with Windows 8 for Windows 8.1. For example, the Photos app now has some new editing features that lets you quickly edit or adjust photos when you view them in the Photos app or open them from other places like the Mail, SkyDrive, and Camera apps. And our Music app has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection. We plan to talk more about updates to the built in apps in Windows 8.1 and some brand new apps we will be introducing in a future blog post.

We’re also making improvements for using multiple apps at once in Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 brings variable, continuous size of snap views. You will have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at the same time. You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen if you have multiple displays connected, you can have different Windows Store apps running on all the displays at the same time and the Start Screen can stay open on one monitor. This makes multi-tasking even easier. Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together – such as two Internet Explorer windows.

The improved Windows Store in Windows 8.1 is designed to show more info than in Windows 8 with detailed lists of top free apps, new releases, and picks for you on the homepage. The app listing is more descriptive and informative and includes an area for related apps to help with app discovery. Categories are listed with other app commands such as links to your apps and your account information. App updates install automatically in the background as well as they come through the Store. And search is available in the upper right hand corner for finding the apps you want.

Cloud Connectivity:

In Windows 8.1 your files can be saved directly to SkyDrive, so you can always have your files with you.

The new SkyDrive app gives you access to your files that are on your device or in the cloud, and files are accessible even when offline.

Also, when you log on to your Windows 8.1 device with your Microsoft account (Outlook.com by default), your device magically becomes personalized with your settings and apps, making switching or setting up a new device really easy.

PC Settings:

The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop. You can do things like change your display resolution, set your power options, see the make and model of your PC, change the product key, let you run Windows Update, and even join a domain – all from PC Settings. You can even manage SkyDrive from PC Settings as well and see how much available storage you have (and buy more if needed).

Internet Explorer:

Web browsing continues to be one of the most popular activities on any device. That’s why with Windows 8.1, you also get Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). IE11 builds on the advancements in IE10 and is the only browser that is built for touch. IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy. For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices.

Better Mouse and Keyboard Options

PCs today are evolving for a world of mobile computing where people interact with their devices through touch, and we designed Windows 8 for this. But we also recognize there are many non-touch devices in use today – especially in the commercial setting. As such we’ve focused on a number of improvements to ensure easier navigation for people using a mouse and keyboard.

We’ve improved the way you navigate to Start with the mouse by changing the Start “tip” to be the familiar Windows logo. The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop. There are also options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens. For example, if you prefer to see the Apps view versus all the tiles, you can choose to have the Start screen go directly to Apps view.

These are just some of the updates coming in Windows 8.1. We’ll be blogging more about these and other changes in the coming weeks. As you’ve heard us talk about before, Windows 8.1 will be available later this year as a free update for consumers to Windows 8 through the Windows Store the same way customers get app updates today.

Beginning June 26th, and timed with the start of Build, our developer conference, you will be able to check out these improvements for yourself with a preview of Windows 8.1 that will be released. At Build, we’ll also be sharing more about Windows Embedded, which will be updated in the same timeframe as Windows 8.1. We’re aligning the platforms even more to bring Windows to form factors of all types, including not only tablets and PCs, but also the growing category of industry devices such as ATMs, point of service (POS) terminals, and kiosks.


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Windows Blue Public Milestone Preview coming, get ready to download and test

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 February 2013 01:27 Written by admin Sunday, 24 February 2013 02:55

You’ll be able to start playing around with the first public test release of Windows Blue sooner than you think. Windows codenamed Blue, which is shaping up to be the equivalent of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows 8, although this detail has yet to be confirmed officially by Microsoft, already reached Milestone 1 (M1), with a number of screenshots leaking to the public, confirming the milestone.

It appears that there’s won’t be a Windows Blue M2 release, and that the next testing milestone of Windows Blue will be a public preview. There’s no availability date for Windows Blue Public Milestone Preview so far, but you should be able to download the bits in the next few months.

Following the public MP release, Microsoft will make the final version of Windows Blue available to the public, without going through any other interstitial testing milestones. According to Win8China, Windows Blue will be released to manufacturing sometime by the end of June 2013. This means that Windows Blue RTM will be ready for users in early August.  MSDN and TechNet subscribers will get the first taste of Windows Blue RTM.

As you might have already heard, Windows Blue will come with Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) and serve to up the versioning of the Windows kernel up to 6.3. Chances are that Windows Blue Build 9600 will be the gold version of the next iteration of Windows.


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Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) cooking along with Windows Blue, Reportedly

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 February 2013 09:52 Written by admin Saturday, 23 February 2013 09:52

Microsoft is building not only a new version of its Windows operating system but also the next major iteration of Internet Explorer. Check out the screenshot below which comes from Windows Blue Milestone 1 Build 9319, according to Win8China.

It’s not very much to look at this point in time, that’s for sure, however, it appears that the M1 Build of Windows Blue comes with Browser Mode enhancements, allowing testers to choose IE11, among other options.

In all fairness, Microsoft has made it somewhat of a tradition to match the release of new Windows and Internet Explorer iterations, so the chance that it will do the same with Windows Blue and IE11 are quite consistent.

ie11

 

 


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