Windows 8.1 Will Be Free; Microsoft Holds Onto Struggling ARM Variant
May 14, 2013 2:57 PM
Name of OS is also confirmed
Until now, we knew (officially) that
an unnamed successor
to Windows 8
would enter Release Preview testing next month
at Microsoft Corp.'s (
. Now that unnamed release has received an official title.
At JP Morgan & Chase Comp.'s (
) Media and Telecom conference today Windows chief financial officer Tami Reller
rumors that the upcoming OS,
codenamed Windows Blue
, would be christened "
More importantly, the update -- which reportedly will
allow users to boot to desktop
some semblance of the Start button
(albeit one that dumps users into Metro), and
include better mouse support in Metro
-- will be offered for free to Windows 8 customers. The update will be distributed via the Windows Store.
OEMs are hopeful the update
will revive floundering PC sales
. Q1 2013 marked
the worse percentage drop in PC unit sales in history
Tami Reller announced today that Windows 8.1 will be free. [Image Source: Microsoft News]
Tami Reller yet again addressed Microsoft's sentiments on another key topic -- Windows RT. Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), The Lenovo Group, Ltd. (
), Dell Inc. (
), and Acer Inc. (
) -- have attacked the OS [
] have all attacked complaining about its lack of legacy compatibility and Microsoft's poor marketing of the platform. Many of these OEMs have refused to release Windows RT products, sinking sales to an anemic 200,000 tablets in Q1 2013. But Microsoft, like its hardware partners Qualcomm, Inc. (
) and NVIDIA Corp. (
], is standing clearly behind the platform.
In a statement at the conference Ms. Reller stated, "We need the flexibility of ARM"
Microsoft is standing behind its ARM product, looking to new form factors.
[Image Source: TalkVietnam]
There may be relief in sight for
Windows on ARM
(WOA), aka Windows RT. One of the improvements Windows 8.1 is expected to bring is UI adjustments to accommodate 7- and 8-inch displays. The explosion of this lower-priced segment helped propel another struggling tablet platform -- Google Inc.'s (
) Android --
from a bit player
to a serious contender, with designs like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon.com, Inc. (
) Kindle Fire, and ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (
Nexus 7 tablet
There's not much Microsoft can do about the legacy compatibility issue, other than to try to
foster the growth of ARM-compatible apps
in the Windows Store. But hopefully Microsoft improves its educational efforts, both in general on how to use Windows 8 (for new users) and the differences between Windows 8/8.1 and RT (for potential ARM device buyers).
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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