Microsoft Officially Announces Windows 8.1 Update 1

Redmond says that a new update will be released this spring

At the Mobile World Congress Microsoft has announced that Windows 8.1 is set to receive a major update this spring, confirming that the company is working to improve its operating system on both touch and non-touch devices.

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s executive in charge of the devices unit, explained during his keynote that Microsoft will make it easier for users to launch apps from the taskbar, probably hinting at options to start Metro apps from the desktop, as we’ve seen in leaked builds.

At the same time, he also added that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will bring several improvements for the desktop, including options aimed at those relying on mice and keyboards.

“Some of those touch affordances weren’t really tuned as well as we could do for those mouse and keyboard users,” Belfiore was quoted as saying by The Verge. “We found people weren’t aware of where they should look in the UI. Those are the things we’ve really started to improve for this update coming this spring.”

Windows 8.1 Update 1 will also represent another attempt by Microsoft to bring more Windows devices to the market, with recent reports pointing to a 70 percent license price cut for OEMs. It turns out, however, that Redmond is also reducing hardware requirements in Windows 8.1 Update 1, allowing the new OS version to be installed on devices with only 1GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage space.

Belfiore hasn’t provided a release date for the new update, but it’s believed that Microsoft is planning to use the upcoming BUILD 2014 developer conference in early April to introduce the new OS version.

Of course, Update 1 is going to be offered free of charge to all Windows 8.1 users and will be delivered through Windows Update as an optional download for both desktops and tablets.

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