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Windows 8.1 'Continues The Vision' For W8, Due October 17

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This fall, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will release its long-awaited update to Windows 8.

Previously known as Windows Blue, the new update is officially named Windows 8.1. On Thursday, October 17, users around the world can begin downloading the upgrade immediately at 4:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

The download is free, but Microsoft will begin to add the upgrade to retailers (likely replacing the standard Windows 8 software) on October 18. New PCs will also come pre-loaded with Windows 8.1.

"Windows 8.1 continues the vision we began with Windows 8 and is an example of our commitment to continuous innovation and improvement for our customers," Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

LeBlanc outlined a few of the tweaks that will be included with the download:

 

  • Improved personalization
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Search (powered by Bing)
  • Built-in apps, including a few new ones
  • An improved Windows Store experience
  • Cloud connectivity with SkyDrive

 

"Now is a great time to buy a Windows 8 device in a range of different form factors like Microsoft Surface, the Acer Iconia W3, the Lenovo (OTC: LNVGY) Yoga 11s, the Toshiba (OTC: TOSBF) KIRAbook or the Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) XPS 18," LeBlanc added.

While Surface RT is $150 cheaper than it was at launch (the tablet started at $499 but now sells for $349), this may not be the best time to buy one.

The International Business Times speculated that Microsoft will use the October 17 launch date (or October 18 retail date) for Windows 8.1 to boost its next-generation Surface tablets.

Microsoft has not said if or when it may release another Surface, but the company is expected to follow its competitors and provide annual upgrades to the device.

But after losing millions of dollars on the first Surface RT, Microsoft may not be eager to release a traditional upgrade. The company may opt for a different type of device, such as the long-rumored Xbox tablet, instead.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Acer Bing Brandon LeBlanc Dell XPS 18 Iconia W3 KIRAbookNews Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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