Microsoft Demos Some of the Changes in Windows 8.1

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A preview of Windows 8.1 is going to be released later this month, but Microsoft decided to not wait — it has released a video showing off some of what’s going to be different in this upcoming version.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has talked about the features of Windows 8.1 — the company described many of them a few weeks ago — but it is the first time future users have been able to see the changes in action.

The demo is done by Jensen Harris from Microsoft’s Windows User experience team, who gives users a look at the redesigned Start Screen which now includes tiles of different sizes — a feature brought over from Windows Phone.

With this new version, apps designed specifically for Windows 8 will be able to launch side by side, with the user controlling how much of the screen space each gets. Devices with larger screens will be able to open three or four Windows 8 apps simultaneously.

Harris also talked about the Lock Screen, which has been turned into a photoframe, with images coming from the user’s SkyDrive account, as well as their PC and Windows phone.

He did not, however, demo Windows 8.1’s ability to boot directly to the desktop, circumventing the Start Screen. 

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