Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 sent to manufacturers

Microsoft released a Windows 8 update to manufacturers, the company announced. A final version of the operating system update, Windows 8.1, will be available for customer download on Oct. 17.

This early release to manufacturers represents a new approach for the company, analysts say. Previously, Microsoft’s release to hardware partners — PC and mobile manufacturers — has meant the software was ready for customer download.
But with “s hifts to greater mobility and touch as well as the blurring of work and personal lives” the company is allowing hardware partners to “prepare the wide array of innovative devices our customers can expect later this fall,” Microsoft wrote. The software will be available to the public after manufacturers have had a chance to try out the changes.
The update will include Bing-powered search, cloud connectivity powered by SkyDrive, and Internet Explorer 11. Windows 8 became available in October of last year.
Variations in devices running on the operating system —tablets, phones and PCs — make software updates increasingly complex, according to J.P. Gownder, Gartner’s infrastructure and operations professionals analyst. Microsoft’s new approach emphasizes better co-development with manufacturers.
“I would say that Microsoft has created a faster and more effective cadence here—more innovation in less time—by creating Windows 8.1,” Gownder wrote in an email.
But he noted that by the time Windows 8.1 is available, it will have been a year since the original Windows 8 release. “By comparison, Google releases a new version of Android anywhere between 3 to 7 months.”


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