Late last week, we heard through the grapevine that Windows 8.1 RTM had been finalized, and today, the process has begun. New devices and machines bundled with Windows 8.1 will become available from October 18th, with manufacturers now being issued with licenses to pre-install the software, everything appears to be running tidily to schedule.
Whenever Microsoft is on the cusp of a new Windows release, there’s always a bit of a to-do, but since Windows 8.1, which will drop just a year after Windows 8, is a less drastic update in light of the company’s new arrangement for release cycles, there seems to have been a lot more dialogue between the Redmond company and the millions of users. Certainly, with the return of the Start button a subject of much relief to many a Windows user, the October release date cannot come soon enough, and with IFA in Berlin set to showcase a slew of new, Windows 8.1-enabled devices, Microsoft will be anticipating strong adoption rates once again.
Because, see, while Windows 8 drew plenty of criticism – due in part to the now reinstated Start button – the number of people adopting it was still reasonably high, and although the near-identical install rate to Windows 7 was not quite the marked improvement that the company was hoping for, Windows 8.1, with its favorable alterations and enhancements, has the opportunity to put this right.
As we already gathered some time ago, those already on Windows 8 will be offered a free update, and with a little over six weeks between now and then, it won’t be long until users can officially be reunited with that Start button.
As well as that, there are several other key new features, including a bunch of new apps – notably Internet Explorer 11 – more versatile hardware support, and a significantly tweaked Start Screen.
Although the release date is officially slated as October 18th, it is likely that Windows 8.1 could hit the Windows Store the day before, on October 17th.