Microsoft has announced that it will be launching Windows 8.1 in October, an updated version of the recently released Windows 8. The new version will be available to users with Windows 8 or with Surface tablets on October 17.
Windows 8 marked a significant departure for Microsoft from its previous operating system. Reception was mixed, and with Windows 8.1 Microsoft is responding directly to some criticisms of Windows 8. Microsoft’s response to customers is commendable, and 8.1 is considered a big improvement by early users, including ourselves.
Whereas Windows 8 featured a strong focus on touchscreen computing that many find alienating on the desktop, 8.1 offers more flexibility for those who prefer their keyboards and mice. The updated version generally places a strong emphasis on the user experience, on more customization, and on heightened controls for administrators.
For instance, Windows 8.1 has Workplace Join, which gives IT administrators finer control over BYOD devices and corporate data. Users can have partial access to company resources rather than an all-or-nothing, either joining the domain or not approach. Microsoft clearly has BYOD in mind with the new operating system, also offering more compatibility with MDM solutions for greater control over user-bought tablets and laptops.
Microsoft describes the features in further detail here.
8.1 is now only available for download in “preview” mode. However, be careful installing this on a production machine, since there is no upgrade path from the preview version to the final release.