NEW ORLEANS: SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has spilled more details about its upcoming Windows 8.1 operating system, promoting interface improvements and better security.
Microsoft has already revealed that a preview release of Windows 8.1 will be made available on 26 June, and has shown off some of the user changes that are coming. These include resizable tiles, an updated Internet Explorer 11 web browser, and greater integration of Skydrive to enable users to access files anywhere on any of their devices.
At its Tech Ed conference on Monday, Microsoft revealed how it is aiming to win over customers, including points such as better security, improved tablet devices from partners and an enhanced app selection.
For users who mostly run legacy applications, Windows can now boot straight to the desktop environment, and users will not need to leave it, according to Erwin Visser, senior director for Microsoft's Windows Division. Conversely, there is also less need to leave the new-style user interface and dive into the desktop, thanks to an updated Settings app that allows access to capabilities like Power options and connecting to a Windows domain.
On the device front, Microsoft showed off upcoming devices running Windows 8.1, such as the Lenovo Helix hybrid laptop and ultrabook and the Acer Iconia W3, the first 8.1in Windows tablet.
Microsoft also detailed improved wireless capabilities in Windows 8.1. including native support for the Miracast wireless display standard to make it easier to connect to give presentations. It also supports WiFi printing and wireless hotspots, which will allow a Windows 8.1 device with an internet connection to share it with other devices as if it were an access point.
As to security, all editions of Windows 8.1 will now support a device encryption capability, according to Chris Hallum, senior product manager for Windows Client Security.
That's not all Microsoft gushed about at its annual Tech Ed conference this week, as the firm also announced Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 and updates to Windows Intune, all coming later this year.
Brad Anderson, corporate VP of Microsoft's Server and Tools division touted the products' "significant updates" at the show. For example, Windows Server 2012 R2 now supports automated storage tiering using SSD and spinning disks in its Storage Spaces disk pooling feature, delivering a claimed 16x performance boost, and SQL Server 2014 now enables in-memory analytics capabilities, delivering more powerful transaction processing in real time. µ