Microsoft released a public preview version of Windows 8.1 late last month, and it seems things are going well so far. As a result, it looks like Microsoft is ready to set a date for the final version to be sent out to OEMs. The company is planning to push out a final version of Windows 8.1 to PC makers sometime in “late August.”
Microsoft announced the release window during their annual Worldwide Partner Conference today, with Windows CFO Tami Reller saying that Windows 8.1 will be ready to go at some point later next month. This means that new computers will have Windows 8.1 pre-installed in time for the holiday shopping season.
As for when consumers will be able to upgrade their initial copy of Windows 8 on their current machine, Microsoft didn’t provide a timeline, but we’d imagine that current Windows 8 owners will be able to grab the final version of Windows 8.1 a couple months after the OEM release in August.
As for the various new features that you’ll be able to play around with, the update most-notably brings back the Start button that we missed in the initial release of Windows 8, although it doesn’t serve the same function as with previous versions of Windows, which is slightly disappointing, but we were able to get used to the new OS without it anyway.
We ended up getting to play around with Windows 8.1 ourselves and are mostly happy with the new features and updates, including new user interface elements, and support for larger displays this time around, as well as redesign of the Xbox Music app. We’re also treated with a new all-apps view that should make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.