SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has boasted about the improvements coming to apps and services in its upcoming PC operating system (OS) service pack Windows 8.1, announcing that VoIP and chat service Skype will feature "front and centre" as a native app.
The Redmond, Washington firm announced on Wednesday that Windows 8.1 is due to arrive in the UK for download at noon on 17 October.
Crowing about its plans for the update in a blog post on Thursday, Microsoft said it will bring a new "one experience" approach to services, adding more than 20 new apps and improvements to existing ones in the Windows 8.1 start menu, including Skype, Bing, Internet Explorer (IE), Skydrive, Outlook.com and Xbox Music, Video, and Games.
"Skydrive is a great example of our new approach," Microsoft GM of Apps and Services Ryan Gavin wrote in the Windows Experience blog. "We believe that connecting and sharing should be a seamless part of every Windows experience."
Skype also took the opportunity to brag about the news that it will feature as a native app in Windows 8.1.
"Skype will be front and centre on Windows 8.1, from the very first time you turn on your PC," wrote, Skype's desktop marketing head Aga Guzik in a blog post.
"Now you don't have to download your favourite app to stay in touch whenever you're apart. With Windows 8.1, simply log in and you're ready to go."
With Skype built into Windows 8.1 as the default communications program, Microsoft should be able to push the VoIP and chat service to even more users than its present 300 million across different devices.
Microsoft's Windows 8.1 update, which supposedly will bring the much missed Start button and menu back to the Windows 8 PC desktop, will begin rolling out worldwide on 17 October as a free update for existing Windows 8 customers through the Windows Store.
Windows 8.1 promises to bring incremental improvements to the OS in areas like personalisation, desktop and internet search that are powered by Bing, and an improved Windows Store experience with cloud connectivity via Skydrive.
The software update is also said to include support for 3D printing, which the firm claims will make 3D object production on your PC "as easy as writing a document in Word". µ