The second update for Windows 8.1, scheduled for release on August 12, will contain changes to the OS' user interface, according to a report on ZDNet. Update 2, also being referred to as the “August update,” is an optional upgrade that is said to contain a few small design changes, but no major improvements to features.
Microsoft had originally planned for a much more substantial change to its latest operating system, including the addition of a version of the Start Menu, ZDNet reported, citing anonymous sources within the company. However, those changes have since been pushed back until the release of the company’s “Threshold” update, which will likely constitute an entirely new version of the OS to be called Windows 9.
The August upgrade could represent the last for Windows 8, with Windows 9 being rumored to launch in Spring 2015. Adoption numbers for the Windows 8 OS have remained weak compared to earlier versions, with both versions representing a combined 12.48 percent share of the OS market as of July, roughly half that of the much older XP. Windows 7, meanwhile, maintains a 51.22 percent share. Microsoft may be eager to cut its losses with Windows 8 in the hope of enticing back users frustrated with the system.
During its Q3 conference call, CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft planned to streamline the Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone platforms into a single “converged operating system,” creating a unified OS that covers all devices and screen sizes. Each platform would operate under a common architecture, allowing for the development of so-called “universal” apps that can work on PCs, tablets, phones, or the Xbox.
Aside from the return of the iconic Windows Start button, other rumored features in Windows 9 include the ability to run Metro apps in the classic desktop UI environment. Microsoft may be considering taking a page from rival Apple’s playbook by offering Windows 9 as a free upgrade to users currently running Vista, XP or 7, according to rumors.
On the other hand, Redmond is also rumored to be considering a subscription service model similar to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service, to be known as Windows 365. Microsoft could potentially make a basic version of Windows 9 available for download, while requiring a subscription to receive updates.
Windows Phone Gets Update
Windows Phone 8.1 is also receiving its first update with the release of Update 1 to developers. The release is currently only being made available to users of Windows Phone 8.1. However, all users of the latest OS can download the update through Microsoft’s developer preview program.
The update to the mobile version of Window’s OS includes an SDK (software development kit) and emulators package. It also features several interface changes to the smartphone platform, including the geographic expansion of Microsoft’s voice-activated Cortana tool, extending the service beyond the U.S. market for the first time. It also features changes to Live Folders, allowing users to create folders dynamically from the start screen.
Posted: 2014-08-05 @ 5:25pm PT
Since I upgraded today to Win.8.1, I have 2 apps that do not work any more.