About two weeks after the distribution of the preview, Microsoft has officially announced that Windows 8.1 will be available to OEMs in late August. The announcement was made by Tami Reller, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft during the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas. This means that users will get the latest version of the operating system on computers purchased in September or in the time period of “back to school”. In coming months, the Redmond giant will provide more information about general availability of Windows 8.1 RTM.
During WPC, Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience team showcased the new features of Windows 8.1 with particularly emphasizing on the optimization performed to work great on the smaller screen devices, such as 8-inch tablets. Jensen Harris demonstrated the operation of SkyDrive, the new Snap View mode, new Xbox Music app and Miracast technology, which allows you to stream audio/video to an HD TV connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Microsoft has decided to speed up the release of new versions of its products. Therefore, the final version of Windows 8.1 should be available sooner than expected for end-users. According to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, despite the presence of numerous bug in Windows 8.1 Preview, the general availability could arrive almost simultaneously with the RTM.
In addition to this, Tami also announced that Microsoft would be launching User Experience Design Competency that will guide enthusiastic developers to develop killer apps for Windows 8 and get recognized for their work.
Alongside, she also announced a new program for retailer called TouchWins, where Microsoft will provide incentives to authorized dealers and reseller partners who sell featured PCs or tablets with Windows 8 Pro.