Microsoft Promotes Newest Windows Updates At Trade Show
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
For Windows RT devices, Microsoft addressed a major pain point: Outlook. The company said it will add Outlook for its line of mobile devices. The ubiquitous email software was not included in RT and tablets and other devices using the platform used a proprietary email service that was not widely embraced. Outlook 2013 RT mail client will be included in the upcoming Windows 8.1 “Blue” release of Windows, ZDNet reports.
Outlook will run on ARM-based Surface RT devices from Microsoft. It will also run on all other ARM-based Windows RT tablets and PCs.
Outlook, as well as the Office suite for Windows, will ship with Windows RT notebooks and tablets. This news comes after rumors that Microsoft offered manufacturers deep discounts on Windows and Office licenses for small screen and touchscreen Windows 8 devices, PC World reports.
More is on the way for Windows than just Outlook. Microsoft demonstrated Windows 8.1 at the event, and signs show that Microsoft may have actually addressed issues people had with the operating system. The Register reports that 8.1 is “the version you may actually want.”
Also, you can expect to see a few old favorites return to Windows. The “Start” icon will be among the old features that Microsoft will bring back to its flagship operating system. The 8.1 update will also have improvements to the touchscreen keyboard, optimization for less expensive sub 10-inch tablets, and the ability to view multiple apps on the same screen. Microsoft believes the latter feature will provide a “rich productivity experience.”
“With Windows 8.1 we bring new management capabilities and great advancements in security and mobility. It [has been] made better though customer feedback,” said Windows chief finance and marketing officer Tami Reller in The Register article.
The Windows 8.1 upgrade will be free, and should be out later in the year.
The Windows 8.1 OS was shown on about 60 compatible devices at the trade show. The list of devices includes Intel Haswell-powered gadgets. Among the new devices coming out, it is likely that smaller tablets running the Windows RT platform will be seen. While Windows RT was architected and optimized for larger-size screens, Microsoft has to make accommodations for the market, where sub 8-inch tablets are more popular than their larger-screened counterparts.
A recent IDC report finds smaller tablets, such as the sub 8-inch class, are in higher demand and will outsell PCs by 2015. This trend was confirmed by the release of the iPad Mini last holiday season.
While Microsoft had several devices to show, some manufacturers are pulling back from the platform. HTC recently said it would not produce a full-sized tablet running Windows RT as planned due to weak demand.
Many of these efforts, including varied screen sizes for tablets, the inclusion of Office and Outlook RT and the forthcoming Windows 8.1 update are attempts to bolster a sluggish market for the Windows 8 platform and devices that run on it.