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Microsoft rolls out Windows 8.1

Microsoft has unveiled Windows 8.1, which is available as a free download via the Windows Store.

Consumers in South Africa and across the world with a Windows 8 device can download the free update via the online Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available on new devices and as boxed software at retail locations.

Speaking at the South African launch in Bryanston, Microsoft South Africa’s devices lead, Colin Erasmus, said Windows 8.1 evolves the Windows vision for highly personalised computing while showcasing Microsoft’s continued commitment to rapid and responsive development.

‚”This marks a wave of new, innovative devices coming for consumers and businesses ‚Äî from the convenience and mobility of tablets and 2-in-1s to the productive experience expected from laptops, all-in-ones and specialised industry devices,” said Erasmus. “”Many of these new devices are touch-enabled and will deliver advancements in processing power, battery life and design, across a range of price points,‚””

Windows 8.1 offers a increased customisation refinements and functional improvements. It provided the following overview:

· Highly personal. An improved and more customisable Start screen offers variable tile sizes, more background designs and colours so each Windows device looks unique and personal.

· More familiar and easy to navigate. Windows 8.1 brings back the Start button as a familiar point of navigation. An updated apps view lets users see all their apps at once for easy access and new clicks and cues, as well as a Help + Tips app that gets them up to speed quickly.

¬∑ Enhanced Search. The new Bing Smart Search provides the easiest way to find what’s needed on the device or on the Web in one easy consolidated view that’s built for touch. Simply swipe or type from the Start screen and Smart Search will find it whether it’s a document on a PC, a photo album on SkyDrive, a favorite app or a website.

· Wide range of apps and services from the Start. Windows 8.1 is the most complete out-of-the-box experience. It offers a range of apps and services from the Start screen, allowing customers to quickly and easily do the things they love on Windows. Windows 8.1 also comes with the new Internet Explorer 11, which is fast, fluid and perfect for touch. Windows 8.1 also provides native support for 3-D printing, meaning it will have plug-and-play support for 3-D printers, enable apps to seamlessly print 3-D jobs and understand 3-D file formats.

· Multitasking and productivity. Windows 8.1 includes the display and use of up to four apps side by side, flexible windows sizing for each app on the screen, the ability for one app to launch another app, and improved multi-monitor support so users can view the desktop or apps from the Windows Store on any or all monitors.

¬∑ Deep cloud integration with SkyDrive. Windows 8.1 makes it easier than ever to work from anywhere and know that files are always accessible – across devices and locations. With SkyDrive, users can create, edit, save and share files anywhere, anytime, on whatever device they’re using.

· A redesigned Windows Store. The new design of the Windows Store improves how great apps are showcased and makes it easier for customers to get the apps they want. Fresh layouts and categories, such as New & Rising, make it easier to stay up to date on the hottest new entries to explore. And with Windows 8.1, apps are updated automatically by default, so users always have the newest and best version of any app, such as Fresh Paint, which now includes watercolour, a new graphite pencil set and a new clean, modern user interface for the latest painting or drawing creations. New and updated apps are also continually being delivered to the Store.

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