Microsoft Windows 8.1 Gets October Release Date
In a sign of Microsoft's commitment to a quickened software release cadence, Windows 8.1 will launch in less than a year after its predecessor.The first major update to Microsoft's flagship Windows 8 operating system will be officially released Oct. 17, the company announced. Dubbed Windows 8.1, the free update will arrive "just before Windows 8 celebrates its 1-year anniversary," noted Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc in an Aug 14 blog post. LeBlanc revealed that "starting at 12 a.m. on Oct. 18 in New Zealand (that's 4 a.m., Oct. 17 in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store." He also hinted that the launch is the precursor to a coordinated product rollout. "Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on Oct. 18 by market," he wrote. Microsoft and several of its OEM partners are widely expected to debut new Windows 8 systems, including small tablets. However, current-generation tablets like Microsoft's own Surface and convertibles like Lenovo's Yoga 11S will also benefit from upgrades, noted LeBlanc. "If you buy a Windows 8 device today, you can look forward to the new features and improvements from Windows 8.1 in October."
Available now as a public preview for enterprise users and consumers, Windows 8.1 has several enhancements, including upgraded versions of the operating system's built-in apps. It also reverses, to a degree, some of the most controversial changes Microsoft ushered in with the Windows 8 launch.