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Microsoft has revealed full details about the comprehensive update to Windows 8, now known as Windows 8.1 and formerly known as Windows Blue. There’s also a Windows 8.1 RT version, too.
Windows 8.1 was launched at the Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco and when available the final version will be available as a free downloadable Windows 8 update.
In the meantime, Microsoft has released a preview version of the new version of Windows 8 – the Windows 8.1 Release Preview is now available to download. The final Windows 8.1 release date is likely to be September or October, as the OS will be released to manufacturers to install on new PCs in August.
What’s New in Windows 8.1 ?
Lock screen slideshow
“As people started using Windows 8, we found that people were using their Lock screens to show pictures of their families,” Leblond says. 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 Microsoft SkyDrive.
You can unlock the camera or answer a Skype call quickly without needing to fiddle with a password. If small tablets get popular, that will be useful.
The Start screen evolves
Windows 8.1 offers more colours and backgrounds for the Start screen – including some with motion. You can also choose your desktop background as your Start screen background.
However, it’s still perfectly possible to get a really garish looking Start screen, like this – does anybody actually use these patterns? (More …)