Microsoft has announced the availability of Windows 8.1 for PC. Windows 8 users can now download the free OS update via the online Windows Store.
Windows 7 users can get the software for the same price as Windows 8: $120 for the standard version, and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro. Microsoft will be selling full-version software, which can be installed on a machine that isn’t already running Windows.
The new Windows 8 operating system comes with enhanced features to improve mobility for both home-based and business customers. Other enhancements include built-in Bing search, smart SkyDrive syncing, and visual changes to the Start Screen and application snapping.
Microsoft will announce Windows 8.1 on new devices over the next few weeks and months.
“Windows 8.1 comes within a year of Windows 8, reiterating the fact that Microsoft is constantly listening, learning and evolving to enhance user experience,” said Amrish Goyal, general manager – Windows Business Group, Microsoft India. “Windows 8.1 builds on our vision for mobility and touch-firs, bringing together everything you do across all devices whether at home, at work or on the go.”
Windows 8 has been designed to bridge the gap between touchscreen devices, such as tablets and smartphones, and more traditional form laptops and desktop machines. The new interface is built of tiles that could be tapped or swiped to open applications.
Tapping the Start button once brings the tiled interface and long press opens up system controls. The desktop mode lets people avoid the tiled interface entirely. Keyboard shortcuts remove the need to toggle between different on-screen keyboards when typing numbers and letters.
With the new Web browsing view, Windows 8 devices will now display separate Web pages side by side.
Users also can customize tiles. The blocks on the touchscreen interface can be in one of four sizes. Some applications, such as those for cooking, can now be paged through without touching a screen. The software also offers better support for multi-tasking and improved links to Microsoft’s Xbox game console.
Deep cloud integration with SkyDrive makes it easier to work from anywhere and access the files anytime across multiple devices and locations. With SkyDrive Smart Files, users can create, edit, save and share files anywhere, anytime, on whatever device is being used.
Windows Store now gets an improved look making it easier for users to get the apps they want. Fresh layouts and categories such as ‘New & Rising’ make it easier to stay up-to-date on the hottest new entries to explore. Personalized recommendations use Bing’s advanced recommendation and relevance system help you find new favorites.