Windows at Build 2013

Windows at Build 2013

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just kicked off Build 2013 this morning in San Francisco by announcing the availability of the Windows 8.1 Preview. Steve talked about how Windows 8.1 is a “refined blend” of the desktop experience and modern experience with the Start screen, and how Bing powers the Windows experience.

It’s hard to believe that it has been only 8 months since we launched Windows 8 – and here we are today already delivering a public preview of Windows 8.1 update! As Julie Larson-Green mentioned during this morning’s keynote, Windows 8.1 advances the bold vision we set forward with Windows 8. Windows 8.1 also is evidence of our commitment to continuous innovation and improvement to the product. It is so exciting to be where we are today.

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During the keynote, Julie talked about how Windows 8.1 is great for tablets of all sizes. On small devices for example, the reading experience is great. Julie held up the Acer Iconia W3 and showed off the reading experience with the Nook app which has received a new update today (version 1.5). Julie also demoed the new Mail app coming for Windows 8.1 later this year, the new search experience powered by Bing, the redesigned Xbox Music app, new apps from Bing, and seamlessly playing videos from a PC with Windows 8.1 to the Xbox One.

This morning in the keynote as well as at Build this week, we’re also sharing details about how Windows 8.1 will provide additional opportunity for developers to design, build and market differentiated, innovative apps. We’re seeing growing app momentum for Windows. Last week we announced that new popular apps were coming to the Windows Store. And during this morning’s keynote, it was announced that Facebook and Flipboard are coming to Windows:

"Facebook has always believed in connecting everyone, everywhere, on every device. Given our strong and longstanding partnership with Microsoft, this is an exciting way to advance that vision."- Mike Shaver, Director of Engineering at Facebook

"Flipboard fits naturally into Window 8. Working together we aspire to craft the world's most beautiful Windows app." - Mike McCue, Flipboard CEO [Read Flipboard’s blog post here!]

Antoine Leblond also took the stage during the keynote to show off Windows 8.1 to developers and the benefits of developing for the platform.

The Windows Store has been redesigned in Windows 8.1 bringing a new layout with improved navigation, more related content with better discoverability based on an individual’s preferences and a new search control from Bing in the UI. Antoine also announced we are introducing Windows Store gift cards (guess what I am getting everyone for Christmas this year?), an easy way for people to purchase apps, books, games and content. You will be able to load your Microsoft account with stored value in local currency and make purchases online from the Windows Store. All this accrues to better ways for developers to make money.

Antoine also showed how Windows 8.1 natively supports 3D printing. You can read more about that here in this blog post.

Windows offers the best in class economics for developers who get to keep 80% of the revenue for the lifetime of their app once it crosses the $25,000 USD revenue threshold. Industry standard is 70%. And with Windows 8.1, developers can create apps that can work together with other apps to share data, share the screen and deliver richer experiences across a wide range of devices, including new 8-inch-and-below form factors. As examples of the wide range of devices for Windows, Antoine showed the Lenovo Helix, the Acer Aspire V5 which is now available under $400, the Dell XPS 10 which is also available under $400, and the really cool Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus which has a screen resolution of 3200 x 1800!

So bottom line, Windows 8.1 brings tremendous opportunity to app builders, while increasing the breadth and depth of apps in the Store that customers will download and enjoy.

If you’re a developer – see this blog post from the Windows App Builders Blogfor all you need to know to get started building great apps for Windows 8.1.

We’re super excited about today’s milestone. Windows 8.1 will bring a lot of compelling improvements and enhancements to areas such as personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity. With the Windows 8.1 Preview, you can try all the improvements and new features out for yourself!

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  • KAmran
    0 Posts

    how can you upgrade on windows 8.1. And windows mobile are really getting better an d better. I started following up the news on and subscribed on their feed via email. looking at the new advancements and apps on windows, i can see its future bright. What do you say?

  • auser
    0 Posts

    Thank you for Windows 7 - I think it works.

  • Princy
    0 Posts

    <a href="">windows mobile application development company</a>

    This Is just a preview.Lets not  just judge everything by this preview.From the customer response the developer company will change each and everything.So lets wait for the new 8.1 to get launched

  • Rem
    0 Posts

    I like the snap view improvements, however I think there's still room for improvement.

    Bring an application back to full size after closing the other app that was displayed side by side (i.e. resize the mail app to it's original size after closing IE that was opened from that same mail app).

    Why go back to the start menu after closing an App, while other Apps are still active?

    It makes much more sense (to me), that Windows switches to the previous App that was used. This would not only be more convenient, but will make users more aware of active applications (and might help save system resources).

  • Can I have the pop up start menu like 8.0?

  • MoWeb
    0 Posts

    Exciting to see some of the new features and improvements to Windows and the other Microsoft services. The new "Store" alone is a massive improvement in terms of visibility, usability, and functionality (especially with payment systems). I see this being a fantastic rebirth of that feature - and one that will finally see more top-level exposure of great apps, and attract top developers/apps to the store. As soon as the store matures and is easier to use, I think a lot of the Windows 8 criticisms will fade away. Fantastic job.

    And if the critics remain, Microsoft shouldn't really worry too much. Because when Apple eventually catches up and claim to have "invented" this great, new, innovative desktop/mobile experience (merging the experiences), Microsoft's attempt will just gain acceptance amongst the masses (but called inferior). After all, it only took Apple five years to copy Microsoft's vision of the tablet. five years to copy Sony's vision of the smartphone, and three years to copy Sony's vision of the ultrabook - of of which now have market acceptance. I'm sure in three years their OS will put the "Launchpad" feature and "App Store" front-and-centre and merge the experiences too. Then you'll be fine.

    And that, combined with the Xbox debacle, is something Microsoft needs to look at. You can create amazing products, ahead of their time, but just can't market them to save your lives. You are NOT an approachable company, and resort to being far too technical, far too early in your presentations. It's a shame, but it appears that a LOT of attendees at //Build/ are simply technology journalists... and unless you pull off a WWDC (Apple-style) marketing-loaded, pretty-pictures-and-misleading-figures presentation, then you just get slammed in the media. If I could make a few suggestions:

    1) Please limit the amount of time Steve Ballmer talks for. He can do a VERY quick introduction (a couple of minutes), and can come back later to talk to the audience/investors about numbers. But keep him out of the main presentation. It's embarrassing.

    2) Don't let Brad Anderson present ever again either. That guy is horrible to listen to, awkward to watch, and has an appearance of a "bully". An image Microsoft should avoid portraying from now on.

    3)  Jump straight in with a brief discussion covering Windows Store, Apps, and Customer Services. And for those topics, consider getting Ted Dworkin (Partner Director of Program Management on the Windows Services team) to present. His session was very, VERY well done, and enlightening. He presents the information the customers, journalists, and developers need, but without being painful to listen to.

    4) Briefly cover Windows User Experience and Mobile Devices as well, as that is crucial for the success of the platforms you are presenting on. Consider getting someone like Joe Belifore (Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Program Management) to discuss this. His presentation on Windows Phone 8 was the BEST presentation I've ever seen from Microsoft. Amazingly good presenter, and talked for just long enough before brining on an area-expert for more detailed presentation. This is something Microsoft NEEDS to do.

    5)  Show off the Windows platform, as a practical demo, usiong someone passionate about the platform (but not crazy like Ballmer). For that, you can't look past Julie Larson-Green (Corporate Vice President for Windows). Her demonstrations have always been great - even when she was handling the Windows 8 demonstrations for Steven Sinofsky.

    People accuse Microsoft for copying others (like Apple) all the time. The one area where Microsoft has NEVER tried copying, is the one area they desperately NEED to copy: Presentation. Apple's marketing, customer service, and presentation (in terms of appearance AND at conferences) utterly smashes Microsoft's approach. And I am absolutely sick of great products getting a heap of negative publicity for no reason. Especially when the negativity stems from a lack of information, or factual inaccuracies on the part of the critic. But ultimately it is Microsoft's issue - because you can't market ANYTHING (it seems).

  • Maxim
    9 Posts

    Oh, and what's the point of lock screen on desktop PC without touch screen? Or even with touch? It's useless even on tablets. Can you make it act like a screensaver but that will disappear when you move mouse without need to enter password?

  • Wow. The hatorade is in full swing here. Personally, I'm loving the new Start Screen on all my devices, my desktop included. The ability to use the desktop wallpaper, and set custom colors really sets it off. Personally, I'm not missing the Start Menu at all, and am glad it's gone. It was too limiting, did not scale, and was not future proof.

    For those of you who want the old menu, I highly recommend using the Win+X power menu on the desktop, it's been updated in 8.1 to include more options.

  • To answer my own question I installed the update on my old laptop that has been running win 8 for a while and you still cant use dark themes (well you can just dont expect to see the title text or any button other than the red x) this is poor design.

    Other things

    - still no adequate replacement for desktop gadgets without the use of "hacking" and third party tools.

    - Still looks like windows 3.11 .

    - The "start button" still is not as useful as Stardocks start8 and for me as a programmer / documentor the start screen and its apps offer absolutely nothing other than a way to waste screen real estate.

    I cant see my main PC moving from win 7 anytime in the future.

  • Maxim
    9 Posts

    1. Please, bring Aero back from Windows 7. It's not as ugly as Windows 8 UI. Because W8 windows looks just like  theme file is corrupted or css is broken. It's even uglier than iOS 7 Safari icon. It's probably the ugliest and most horrible visual style for windows that was ever created.

    2. Please, bring back classical games from Vista/7, that can be run in a window.

    3. Give users a choice between Metro Start screen and classical start menu. Using modern start screen forces you too loose focus from your work. And colorful tiles just make eyes to tear with blood from that color palette.

    4. Metro apps are lame. Who was that genius that decided that full screen is great on 32 inch display? And putting 2 or 3 programs side by side is not a choice. It's even harder to work with that sausages of content.

    5. Add more codecs to music app. ALAC, FLAC, OGG audio. Same with VIdeo app. It's a lame and big fail that number of supported formats can't be changed, cause it was possible since Windows 3.1 at least.

    6. Again - GIVE USERS A CHOICE BETWEEN COMPACT MENU AND FULLSCREEN CARPET! Even windows 1.01 allowed to place windows horizontally.

  • Commenting in this blog appears to be totally inactive. Is this the correct area to give Windows 8.1 feedback?

  • Disappointed to find that I MUST use a Windows 8.1 iso to upgrade a Windows 8 VM. This is effectively a fresh installation and makes it impossible for me to test whether installed legacy Windows 7 PROGRAMS (not apps) are affected by an upgrade. Is there no way I can do an on-line upgrade of a vm to test this aspect?

  • Currently running the 8.1 preview on a tablet - works great.  The improvements to the music app, search, and on-screen keyboard are huge. I was a bit worried that the return of the start button would be lame, but the implementation is unobtrusive. Overall, I'm a happy customer. Was glad to hear that Microsoft recognizes the continuing importance of the desktop, because many of the apps I use at work are not likely to get metro/modern equivalents any time soon. Making metro/desktop play nicely together is the key. Keep it coming!

  • I'm  really sorry that Microsoft have once again failed to seize the chance to make adequate provision for those with large screen monitors and the need to multitask more than just four applications. Windows 8 just wastes large monitor screen space unlike any competing OS (and I include Windows 7 in that category). It also leaves a large gulf for business users to bridge. It drags desktop users back to the days of Windows 3.1

    Had Microsoft adopted the approach of Stardock's ModernMix that would have gained the benefits of leaving a fairly familiar start menu in a much smaller window, while giving access to apps within that smaller window which mimics a pad or phone. Not only would business managers see the value in this they could also start to see some value from purchased apps. A big let-down for business, desktop users and app developers.

    Those unfamiliar with ModernMix can get a taste here:

    Sure Businesses could spend time and effort on customizing all their desktops but why the hell should they!

  • - did you write that tutorial yourself?

  • and - thank you for your comments. We appreciate the feedback the feedback however I would like to ask that you keep things a little more constructive and respectful.

  • carusen
    23 Posts

    If you are looking for a complete presentation of what's new and improved about Windows 8.1, check this overview:

    You will be surprised to learn how much new stuff has been included for PC users.

  • @OldSchool   I believe the start menu is back.  I haven't installed it yet, but from what I've read they added it back.  And it's not a failure.  Once you get used to the start screen it acts just like the start menu and desktop combined.

    @fansoft Go back to your little Linux box.  Nobody cares what you think.

  • Can you now use a dark theme on the desktop with losing the ability to read the title (i.e can you change the title text colour as your could in previous version of windows) and see the 2 other buttons on the window other than the red x.

  • Windows Team: Until you add back the option of a Start Menu Window 8 will continue to be a failure.

  • fansoft
    0 Posts

    nobody wants your "new coke" - you should dump it along with your ceo