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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 (MSFTBUILD Conference.  Now that unnamed release has received an official title.  

At JP Morgan & Chase Comp.'s (JPM) Media and Telecom conference today Windows chief financial officer Tami Reller confirmed rumors that the upcoming OS, codenamed Windows Blue, would be christened "Windows 8.1".

More importantly, the update -- which reportedly will allow users to boot to desktop, return 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
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. (KSC:005930), The Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992), Dell Inc. (DELL), and Acer Inc. (TPE:2357) -- have attacked the OS [1][2][3][4] 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. (QCOM) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) [1][2][3], is standing clearly behind the platform.

In a statement at the conference Ms. Reller stated, "We need the flexibility of ARM"

Windows RT
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 (GOOG) Android -- from a bit player to a serious contender, with designs like the Samsung Galaxy Tab,, Inc. (AMZN) Kindle Fire, and ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (TPE:2357) Google-branded 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).

Source: Microsoft

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RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By dgingerich on 5/14/2013 5:24:28 PM , Rating: 0
It confuses idiots.

It impresses those of us with an actual use for a Windows based tablet that will last all day. I like it. I happen to have many uses for it. I have an XPS 10 and love it. I knew before I bought it that x86 programs and drivers wouldn't run on it. There are still a couple things I wish I could do with it, like a serial terminal for programming switches and raid arrays and a VNC client software, but you can't win them all.

RE: Windows RT Isn't Going Anywhere Until...
By Argon18 on 5/14/2013 6:09:06 PM , Rating: 1
So everyone who doesn't have intimate knowledge of Microsoft's product portfolio, as well as the various tablet processor architectures, is an "idiot"? Seriously?

The fact is, Microsoft screwed up big time with this product. They gave it the same look and feel as their desktop Windows OS. They even named it "Windows". But it's completely incompatible with any previous Windows software, from Microsoft or anyone else.

Windows RT is its own closed proprietary ecosystem, not compatible with anything else. Marketing it as a " Microsoft Windows tablet " is most definitely confusing. Add to the incompatibility, the fact that the devices are all under-powered and overpriced. Which is why only an idiot would buy an Windows RT tablet.

By karimtemple on 5/15/2013 8:35:30 AM , Rating: 2
But this isn't strictly true, is it? 8 and RT can run the same software, it's just that it doesn't include legacy software.

It's true that they could have represented that by calling RT "RT" instead of "Windows RT," and simply said that Windows can run RT software too, but Microsoft has a goal here and that strategy does not serve that goal. Microsoft wants to be able to say that they have a platform that seamlessly applies to every form factor from the phone to the desktop.

By Visual on 5/15/2013 8:49:04 AM , Rating: 2
It didn't have to be incompatibe, and that's the main thing that pisses me off. They just chose to make it more so on purpose.

Obviously it couldn't ever run x86 code 100% smooth, even though and emulator that forwards API calls by a XDA developer is showing a great potential. I wish MS could have thought of that and made it themselves, and it's still not too late for them to help along, but regardless, that is not even the main point.

A lot of desktop programs can be (and already have been) implemented in potentially cross-platform scripting languages, like powershell or javascript using winforms or WPF APIs, but MS chose to block those APIs. Why?
Or even just javascript/html5, which is one of the options for the metro apps, why is it not allowed for desktop apps? Why remove .hta applications support?
Why not allow sideloading of apps, allow normal users to run unsigned or selfsigned apps, even if after some security confirmation prompt?
Why make the whole platform so hostile to casual developers and tinkerers...

By domboy on 5/15/2013 8:36:59 AM , Rating: 2
There are still a couple things I wish I could do with it, like a serial terminal for programming switches and raid arrays and a VNC client software, but you can't win them all.

If you're willing to run the script to modify the executable signing requirement, TightVNC has been recompiled to run on ARM.

Putty is on the list too, but unless you know of a Serial to USB adapter that works with Windows RT you're still stuck. I tried the one I had a work and RT didn't have a driver for it.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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