At its Build conference set to begin on Wednesday, Microsoft is expected to unveil everything we want to know about its upcoming Windows 8.1 update while also trying to resell developers on what makes the OS so attractive. It should come as a surprise to no one that Windows 8's launch barely inspired a "meh" from the majority, and for Microsoft, which was banking on incredible developer support, that's not a great thing. With 8.1, it will finally be righting many of its wrongs.
Of course, Microsoft isn't going to admit to being erroneous at Build - that's really not how you sell your product to those who you need to help it succeed. And plus, Windows 8 has sold an impressive 100 million licenses since launch, so there's not much to scoff at. As someone who's not a huge fan of the new Start screen though, I'd love to know the percentage of those license holders that also wished Microsoft stuck with the traditional Start menu.
As we've covered before, what we do know about Windows 8.1 is that it is highly likely to reintroduce a Start button; although unlike before, it'll still launch the full Start screen, not a menu. This being the case, Microsoft is only going half-way for most people. I've been using Windows 8 for so long now that I don't even think I'll use the Start button when it returns - it's in me now to automatically just hit the Windows key (a key I already use religiously to open up my Computer (Win + E)).
Other changes come in the form of an enhanced Start screen, where you'll be able to customize your color to a much greater level, and also choose from two more tile sizes. This, again, isn't going to appease most people, including me. All we can hope is that 8.1 brings along some other things we're not quite aware of at this point, such as the ability to rename tiles, customize their icon, and so forth (seriously - we've had those abilities for at least 18 years).
As we saw with the recent Xbox One debacle, Microsoft is willing to lean towards consumers when the vocal ones stand up. We can hope that maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will learn from that and aim to return some other functionality to Windows 8.1 that will re-win the hearts of the OS' fans.
According to a leaked document, the 8.1 update is set to reach its RTM stage in August, with general availability to occur in October.
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