In a blog post this morning, Microsoft is detailing the new features it’s bringing to users of its Windows 8 operating system this fall.
That update, which until recently had been known as Windows Blue will introduce a huge array of changes to the way users interact with Windows 8. In fact the company is introducing so many changes that it should have just branded the update Windows 8.5.
Based on the details provided in to today’s post on Blogging Windows, the company is really making an effort to address the concerns that users have. First, the company will move more towards letting users customize the way Windows 8 looks. With 8.1, users will be able to select multiple pictures to display on their lock screen as well as use very short video clips and pictures as background for both the Desktop area, and the Start Screen. As rumored, users will get new Live Tile sizes so that they can better position the applications that are important to them instead of the large rectangles and squares that are available today.
If you thought that the Bing application of today was impressive, you’ll love the integration the search engine is getting in Windows 8.1. With the update, Microsoft will build Bing web search results into the Search Charm. That functionality will complement the charm’s current universal search functions and layout it’s results in a new panoramic search screen, which you’ll find above.
While we’re on the topic of integrated experiences, Windows 8.1 will include built-in background syncing for SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage solution. Users will be able to purchase more storage directly from Windows 8.1’s control panel.
The company is also paying a lot of attention to the way people make use of Metro-style applications. Starting with Windows 8.1, users will be able to Snap as many Metro applications as their screen can support, and will be able to have these types of applications display on more than one monitor at a time, something users can’t do today.
Notably, Microsoft will restore the Start Button as well and allow users to boot directly into the Desktop, so that users who prefer to use that environment will be able to quickly do so if they see fit to do so. However, the option will not be enabled by default.
The company also plans to introduce updated versions of many of the applications that are built in Windows by default, including what it’s calling a “complete redesign of Xbox Music”.
“complete redesign of Xbox Music”
Microsoft has already announced that it will make Windows 8.1 available for free to users this fall. It will release a preview of the update during next month’s BUILD conference as well. It plans to detail more about the updated applications on it’s blog sometime in between that.