19 Oct 2013
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Kiwis first in line as Windows 8.1 launches across the world

Kiwis were among the first users to get their hands on the revamped Windows 8.1 this morning, released at midnight ahead of a worldwide rollout.

For today marks the global availability of Microsoft's operating system, with the tech giant hoping Windows 8.1 will become what Windows 8 should have been.

A free update for consumers with Windows 8 or Windows RT devices, the upgrade also available across 230 markets spanning 17 languages.

"Less than a year ago we were preparing to launch Windows 8, which introduced our vision of highly personalised mobile computing," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Microsoft.

"And here we are today announcing the global availability of Windows 8.1.

"Windows 8.1 demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving the product to create a richer customer experience.

"We are excited to have customers start updating their devices today and getting to experience new Windows devices this holiday season."

Billed as a “refined blend” of Microsoft’s desktop experience, with the traditional Start button returning to the updated OS, CEO Steve Ballmer believes the company have listened to user feedback with the release.

“What we will show you is a refined blend of our desktop experience and our modern user interface and application experience,” Ballmer said in June at the company's Build conference.

“You will see we will bring back the Start button to the desktop. You will see that if you want to boot to the desktop, you can boot the desktop.

“You will see, nonetheless, we have enriched the Start screen and the Start menu, but we have brought back the flexibility for you to see the many, many applications that you use everyday in a simple and quick glance.”

Essentially, Windows 8.1 brings a variety of new features and improvements to Windows 8 that Redmond hopes users will take to.

"We listened to your feedback and are delivering many of the improvements you asked for," LeBlanc adds.

If you are a consumer with a Windows 8 device, you can now download the free update to Windows 8.1 online through the Windows Store.

Similarly, businesses now have access to the final versions of Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise to deploy across their organisations.

Windows 8.1 will also be available on new devices and as boxed software starting October 18 at retail locations around the world.

A few additional highlights:

· Refined features: Windows 8.1 delivers a host of increased customisation refinements, functional improvements and new innovation, offering more ways to create an experience that is personal, mobile expressive and keeps pace with your life.

· Windows Store open for app developers: App developers can now submit apps for Windows 8.1! For information on building and submitting Windows 8.1 apps, please visit the Windows Dev Center.

· Windows Embedded 8.1: Microsoft is simultaneously making Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry generally available today, offering Windows 8.1 technologies across a wide array of hardware, including specialised industry devices.

For more information about Windows 8.1, click here

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