Word on the street suggests Windows 8.1 will be released in October and for many, the new operating system can't come soon enough. After dealing with plenty of grief over Windows 8, time is of the essence for Microsoft
The lack of popularity of Windows 8 has caused a vast majority of PC users to stay with their previous OS rather than upgrade. Since Microsoft is a company built on software, failures on that side of their business can have catastrophic effects.
Along with launching Windows 8, Microsoft also entered the hardware market with introduction of its Surface tablets. Based on results thus far, since the Surface RT and Surface Pro launched, industry observers say Microsoft should keep its focus on squarely on software, which is what it does best.
Will Windows 8.1 Save Microsoft?
With current reports predicting that Windows 8.1 will come out in October, and leaks of the almost finished OS already available on torrent sites, Microsoft might strike gold with Windows 8.1. Specifically providing what people have been asking for should help Microsoft win back customers and get them to upgrade.
Windows 8 adoption rates have been absolutely horrendous. Some attribute the failure to the fact that touchscreen displays are expensive yet almost essential for Windows 8 to be beneficial. As of July's adoption rate report, Windows 8 only controlled around 5% of the market, whereas Windows 7 had 44%.
Hopefully, Windows 8.1 will bring back some of the core features necessary for people to use it in desktop mode without feeling limited. One problem with Windows 8 is that it does not have the start button in desktop mode that users were accustomed to using in earlier versions. That issue alone has lead to countless negative reviews and low adoption rates.
With Windows 8.1 presumably bringing back many of the necessary Windows features, Microsoft should see better adoption rates of the OS moving forward. I personally use Windows 8 and can say there are definitely some great things about it, such as improved boot times, for example. However, because of its heavy emphasis on touchscreen functionality, and touchscreens still not the norm on the desktop, Windows 8 has not been able to provide an adequate replacement for Windows 7.
The Surface Conundrum
The other aspect to Microsoft's failures with Windows 8 is related to its Surface tablets. Windows 8 relies on touchscreen controls and there are very few mainstream computers or tablets offering touch screens at a reasonable price. Microsoft tried to speed up adoption by introducing the Surface, but things did not go as planned.
The Surface Pro -- Microsoft's flagship device -- has not offered the level of performance expected from a nearly $1,000 device. Battery life has been horrible and with many people wanting to use laptops and tablets without them being plugged in, battery life is very important.
Unfortunately, the Surface RT and Pro have been unable to provide an increase in Windows 8 usage, as Microsoft would have hoped. Although other manufacturers are now hopping onboard and coming out with their own Windows tablets and laptops, Windows 8.1 is still necessary for widespread adoption of the operating system.
Posted: 2013-08-23 @ 12:18pm PT
Windows 8.1 is not going to save the day. I think as hard as MS wants to ram Metro/Modern down our throats, it's already doomed...
Unless Developers jump on the bandwagon, it's not going to have any reason to exist and with so few people liking it, I can't see developers getting on board soon... And truthfully, I can't see the developers taking the time to learn what they need to program for Metro, with little prospects for revenue... and a much greater chance that all that effort and learning, etc... may be obsolete in a year.
Windows 8.1 offers me no reason to upgrade and several reasons NOT to upgrade...
Posted: 2013-08-21 @ 4:29pm PT
"With Windows 8.1 presumably bringing back many of the "good old" Windows feature"
Is this supposed to be a sick joke? W8.1 brings back nothing but a Start Button that simply takes one back to the hated Metro UI screen. There's still no Start Menu in sight, and filetypes still default to the hated Metro UI, causing bizarre and unexpected returns from the desktop to the productivity-killing Metro UI.
No restored Start Menu means Microsoft is lying though their teeth about listening to their customers. The restored Start Button is yet just another way to force the user back to the execrable and hated Metro UI, meaning Microsoft has pretty much just spit in the faces of their users and has indicated that it no longer has any real interest in remaining in the business of making products its customers want. The outrage that will be engendered by such a slimy move will make the anger triggered by the original Start Menu removal look trivial.
Posted: 2013-08-15 @ 9:31am PT
8.1 is nothing but a ruse by MS to try to get people to actually use it. The 'Start Button' is a con, and does nothing but dump you back into Metro (so boot to desktop doesn't actually achieve much either). All the file associations still link to Metro, and allowing the desktop wallpaper to be used in Metro does nothing but 'fool' the user into thinking it's more integrated. It isn't. It's exactly what it was before, and complete waste of space as well as time and effort.
As most/all of the control panel functionality has now been replicated in Metro, you can really see how MS are pushing this thing down our throats, but in a way that (they hope) doesn't look like it to most.
Believe it, Metro is still where MS want to be and are going. The desktop is now 'legacy' and will not be there as we know it in Windows 9.