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MWC: Microsoft details Windows 8.1 update ahead of spring rollout

Firm also outs Windows Phone 8.1 with support for entry-level chips, dual SIM devices
Sun Feb 23 2014, 16:54
Windows 8.1 Start screen

BARCELONA: SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft revealed a number of updates coming in a Windows 8.1 Service Pack at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona today, including improved search features and a better app interface.

Announcing that the update will arrive within the next few weeks, Microsoft corporate VP and manager of Windows Phone [programme] management, Joe Belfiore, said that the Windows 8.1 user interface (UI) has undergone a few tweaks, which are mainly aimed at keyboard and mouse users.

The update will be arriving across the x86 Windows 8.1 and ARM Windows RT operating systems and includes a new discoverable search, the arrival of power and settings buttons on the Start screen, title bars at the top of full-screen apps, a new mouse user interface for right click, easy app launching and switching via the taskbar.

Belfiore also talked about how the Windows operating system has improved across multiple devices over the last year or so and claimed that consumers using Windows 8 on touch-enabled devices are generally more satisfied than those running the software on non-touchscreen devices.

The Windows 8.1 update aims to address this, making it easier to use for users with non-touch devices. Belfiore said that these small but welcome user interface changes will also bring down the hardware requirement for Windows to 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, most likely to make way for budget Windows devices running Intel Atom processors.

The update will also roll out with improved compatibility for the education and enterprise markets so businesses can to offer more compatibility with Microsoft's legacy software.

The Windows 8.1 update will be released this spring, and Microsoft will no doubt be hoping that it will grow Windows 8.1 market share, with Windows 7 gaining more traction than both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 at present.

Microsoft also detailed an upcoming Windows Phone update at MWC on Sunday, Windows Phone 8.1, while adding that LG and Lenovo have signed up to release smartphones running the mobile operating system, likely in a bid to end Nokia's dominance.

Windows Phone 8.1 will deliver features including support for entry-level Snapdragon chips, support for onscreen shortcut keys, the ability to store apps on microSD cards and support for dual-SIM devices. µ


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