The end is in sight for the hundreds of thousands Windows 8 users in need of a Start button (not to mention a number of other enhancements too), as Microsoft finally marks a red ‘X’ on its calendar for the arrival of the next significant Windows update – Windows 8.1.
Earlier today Brandon LeBlanc – the company’s Senior Marketing Communications Manager posted on the official Windows blog that the Windows 8.1 update will be rolling out across the globe from October 17th:
“I am excited to share that starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am October 17th in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18th by market. So mark your calendars!”
As LeBlanc highlights, this will be an instantaneous global rollout that will grace us Brits at midday on October 17th.
The 8.1 update focuses on offering consumers a number of tweaks and changes to the existing user experience based on feedback and criticisms which arose following the original launch of Windows 8 back in late October last year. You can see the interface enhancements in the video above, while the Windows 8.1 app improvements are shown off below.
The most talked about feature is the reintroduction of a Start button, which more closely reflects older builds of Windows, albeit in truth simply acting as a shortcut to the Windows 8 homescreen.
We caught up with the company’s Rob Epstein at Microsoft’s London HQ; so enjoy him walking you through some Windows 8.1 evolutions, and if you can’t wait for October to get your hands-on the update, you can always download a copy of the beta from Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 preview site.