Windows 8 updates expected at Microsoft conference

Apr 1 2014, 10:20am CDT | by

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft is following through on a promise to update its Windows 8 operating system on a regular basis to respond to consumers' complaints and other feedback.

Just months after the release of Windows 8.1, Microsoft is preparing changes to make it easier for people to use Windows with traditional keyboard and mouse controls. Among other things, Microsoft will add search, power and settings buttons to the Start page, so people don't have to figure out how to pull those functions from the right side of their screens. The update also promises easier ways to close apps.

Microsoft Corp. outlined some of the new features at a February conference in Barcelona, Spain, and will likely provide more details Wednesday as the company opens its annual Build software developers conference in San Francisco.

The new, yet-unnamed update is expected soon. It follows the October debut of Windows 8.1, which came just a year after the release of Windows 8. The pattern contrasts with Microsoft's past habit of waiting years to release major updates.

Microsoft is also updating its Windows Phone system to work better in corporate environments. The company will add VPN support, for instance, to allow phones to connect with corporate networks securely. There will also be features that consumers in fast-growing emerging markets desire, including the ability for phones to have two SIM cards so people can switch carrier plans easily for the best deals.

The company hasn't announced pricing or specific availability for either update, but both are likely to be free downloads, based on past practice. They could be available as early as this month and will be among the first major software releases since Satya Nadella became Microsoft's CEO in February. It follows Nadella's unveiling last week of Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for Apple's iPad.

Microsoft may also use the Build conference to update software developers on the company's plans to integrate the Windows Phone 8 system for smartphones, the Windows 8.1 system for tablets, laptops and desktops and the Xbox system for its game console. The company has said it is working to have its various systems share more of the underlying code, while retaining separate interfaces adapted to the specific devices. The integration will make it easier for developers to adapt apps for the various devices.

Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., saw lackluster demand when Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 came out in October 2012.

Windows 8 was supposed to be Microsoft's answer to the growing popularity of touch-screen devices such as smartphones and tablets. Instead, research firm IDC blamed Windows 8 for accelerating a decline in global PC shipments, which fell 14 percent in the first three months of 2013, the first full quarter with Windows 8.

Designed as a single system to unify tablets, laptops and desktop PCs, Windows 8 emphasizes touch-screen controls and sports a full-page home screen that is more common on mobile gadgets than traditional computers. Many consumers, however, hate that approach on laptops and desktops.

Last October, Microsoft issued a free update to address some of the gripes. Now, people can run more than two apps side by side. The built-in browser lets people open more than 10 tabs without automatically closing older ones. Windows 8.1 also introduced new features, including a universal search function to help users find files stored on their computers along with Web content on the Internet.

At the time of the release, Microsoft promised to issue new features regularly.

The latest update will do just that. Microsoft has said the company is standing by its decision to embrace touch controls, while acknowledging that many of the remaining Windows gripes have come from people who use non-touch devices.

Meanwhile, Windows Phone 8 came out with a thud some 17 months ago. One of its biggest drawbacks has been a lack of apps available for the system, compared with Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Microsoft is starting to catch up on that front. It has also updated Windows Phone 8 three times since its release to add features. The upcoming update is poised to be the biggest of them all and might get a new name, Windows Phone 8.1.

The release comes as Microsoft prepares to buy Nokia's phone business and patent rights in a 5.4 billion euro ($7.4 billion) deal. The transaction should be completed in the next few weeks, pending regulatory approval in Asia. The deal already has approval in the U.S. and Europe.

Source: AP Apple

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

iPhone 6 Plus Declared to Include the Best Ever Smartphone LCD
iPhone 6 Plus Declared to Include the Best Ever Smartphone LCD
While the display of the iPhone 6 Plus showed an outstanding performance, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 screen lagged a bit behind due to the low resolution and pixel density.
 
 
TSMC’s 20-Nanometer A8 Chip Applied in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
TSMC’s 20-Nanometer A8 Chip Applied in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
Apple disengages Samsung from producing the new A8 processor
 
 
Apple Launches the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in US and Canada
Apple Launches the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in US and Canada
The customers formed huge queues to collect the new smartphones
 
 
Tim Cook Surprises the iPhone 6 Purchasers at Apple’s Palo Alto Store
Tim Cook Surprises the iPhone 6 Purchasers at Apple’s Palo Alto Store
Tim Cook not only took selfies but also made fun with the Apple customers
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Atlanta Braves Fire GM Frank Wren
The Atlanta Braves have fired general manager Frank Wren.MLB.com's Mark Bowman -- who says Atlanta tapped John Hart as its interim general manager -- wrote about Wren's dismissal on Sept. 22:"Nearing the end of their...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
UN chief welcomes release of Turkish hostages
United Nations, Sep 23 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the recent release of Turkish hostages held by the Islamic State (IS) Sunni militant group in Iraq. Ban is relieved that the Turkish men, women...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
IS-linked group claims French tourist's abduction in Algeria
Algiers, Sep 23 (IANS) An Algerian armed group linked to the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist militants Monday claimed responsibility for the abduction of a French tourist in Algeria, according to a video posted on...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kris Jenner files for divorce from Bruce
Kris Jenner has filed for divorce from Bruce Jenner. The showbiz matriarch - who separated from Bruce, 64, 11 months ago - has now officially started proceedings to end their 23 year marriage according to documents...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Naomi Watts wishes she had more kids
Naomi Watts wishes she had more kids. The 'Diana' star - who has Sasha, 7, and Kai, 5 with her actor husband Liev Schreiber - has confessed she regrets not having her children earlier in life. She told More magazine...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Barbara Walters' live appearance axed from The View
Barbara Walters' final live appearance was axed from 'The View'. The US-born broadcast journalist - who created and co-hosted the show from 1997 to 2014 - had her live segment on the season 18 premiere of the ABC series...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Iggy Azalea's 'surreal' duet with Jennifer Lopez
Iggy Azalea's collaboration with Jennifer Lopez was ''surreal''. The 'Fancy' hitmaker - who released the video for the pair's new single 'Booty' last week - confessed she found working with the 45-year-old singer hard...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Israel arrests four Gaza fishermen, says official
Gaza, Sep 23 (IANS) The Israeli naval forces late Monday has arrested four Palestinian fishermen in the central Gaza Strip while they were on their fishing boat, an official said. Israeli naval gunboats surrounded and...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
EU, Russia and Ukraine to hold meeting on gas in Berlin
Brussels, Sep 23 (IANS/EFE) The European Union will participate in a trilateral ministerial meeting with Russia and Ukraine Friday in Berlin to address the issue of energy security in the context of the ongoing...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Elizabeth Hurley has crush on Aaron Paul's TV avatar
Los Angeles, Sep 23 (IANS) Actress Elizabeth Hurley says she has a crush on actor Aaron Paul's character Jesse Pinkman from TV series "Breaking Bad". The 49-year-old star took to Twitter to share her feelings,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla