Computer Manufacturers will ship Windows 8.1 in late August

Wordwide Partners Conference 2013

The Worldwide Partnership Conference (WPC 2013) is a 5 day global gathering featuring 15,000 of Microsoft’s top partners in Houston, Texas.  It’s huge.  The purpose of the conference is for Microsoft to scale out the value of their technology and join their partners in advancing its business.

This year, the WPC 2013 focuses on four things:

  • Cloud services
  • Big Data
  • Mobility
  • Corporate Social

On Day 1 of the conference, Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management in Windows User Experience showed off a few flashy features like the new search and photo frame functions.

Harris reasoned that since every month 20 billion searches happen on Windows PCs it made sense for Microsoft to improve Windows Search.  Microsoft was uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on usability so it seized the opportunity.

And I think Microsoft really succeeded here.  Windows 8.1 flaunts something new known as Search Hero.  The hero aggregates search results from multiple sources and displays it in a unified view. It’s a curated, dynamically built app that culls data from your local computer, the internet and the cloud and then presents it to you as an App would.

Harris rhapsodized about the new cloud powered lock screen photo frame, the new Start Screen, integrated Skydrive, Miracast and Desktop.  The presentation starts at 01:43 and ends at 02:22.  I watched it through and although it’s almost an hour long, I thought Harris’s performance was concise and lean.  Everything you need to know about Window 8.1 is there in 40 minutes.

Tami Reller, CFO and Chief Marketing Officer, announced the newest and most exciting chunk of news: Windows 8.1 will be available to OEM partners in late August.  In other words, many devices shipping around the holidays will come preloaded with Windows 8.1 out of the box.

Check out to get started Windows 8.1 or read a good book on Windows 8
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