Microsoft Says Windows 8.1 Coming To Tablets as a Free Upgrade

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Microsoft has made it official: the update formerly known as “Windows Blue” will be named Windows 8.1. A preview of this will be introduced late next month.

Windows 8 BlueSpeaking at a conference in Boston, Tami Reller, the chief marketing officer for Windows, announced the new name.

The name had been rumored already, so it is Reller’s other announcement that is the big news: there will be no charge for Windows 8 users to upgrade to Windows 8.1. This is certainly good news for those who were brave enough to try a first-generation Windows 8 tablet.

There will be new versions of both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

What’s New?

The Microsoft exec did not reveal what changes are going to be made in this new version. The current one has been controversial because of some major changes it made, such as getting rid of the Start Window. There are those who are hoping the upcoming version will roll at least a few of these back.

In her speech today at the JP Morgan’s Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference Reller walked a fine line between saying that Microsoft is sticking to its guns, but also listening to its customers: “You need to have a vision. You need to have a point of view. And you need to consistently deliver on that. You’re also consistently listening, learning, and becoming smarter.”

According to information that has leaked out about early betas of this operating system, Microsoft is going to make enhancements to the Start Screen, not get rid of it. The next version will also include some new apps. 

Preview Coming in June, Full Version Much Later

A preview version of Windows 8.1 is going to be released on June 26, timed with the Build developer conference in San Francisco. Reller did not reveal when the full version will be available, but it’s clearly not going to be soon — she promised it will be introduced before the holiday shopping season this winter.

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