Microsoft posted an interesting new video yesterday that shows off some of the new features of its Windows 8.1 update. The video highlights new functions of the Start screen and modern UI.
The video covers new personalization options, deeper SkyDrive integration, improved search capabilities, Lock Screen photo slideshow, and more. One thing that’s not highlighted in the video is the Start button that will be included in the new version. But if you watch closely, you can see it during the demonstration.
Windows 8.1 will be a free upgrade for existing Windows 8 users, and the Preview version will be launch on June 26th to early adopters during Microsoft’s BUILD conference.
Having watched the video twice I feel I have missed something. Almost every complaint you hear about Windows 8 is the Metro interface. I run Windows 8 on my works desktop and laptop computers and the two we have for public use. Every one of them runs Classic Start Menu which boots into the desktop mode with a start button but also with the hot corners enabled. I occasionally use the Metro interface but I only use enough apps to fill the visible screen. Most of the apps are crap but there are some very good ones. The Mail app is appalling and everyone I know on Windows 8 has dumped it and uses a proper email client and only about a dozen of them are using webmail. Please note I live in the UK and out of several hundred of my contacts only one is a Gmail user and thats my mum and I put her on it, Gmail just does not seem very popular for daily use in the UK and Hotmail is much more popular in my groups. I only use it for my Android.
I could not see a single “improvement” on that video that was even remotely interesting as I, like most it seems, use my computers in desktop mode. Metro is completely useless to me for work but adds some useful diversions. Interestingly every member of the public who uses our computers gets a quick demonstration on the Metro interface then they always say “How do I get back to the proper computer?”. None of them want to spend any time on it and several think it is there for the kids. Looking at it I am not sure I can argue with that. For me its nice to have but it is not and never will be a necessity. The bottom line on this is what real improvements does Windows 8.1 bring to Windows 8 that Classic Start Menu etc haven’t already done a better job of?
Awaiting with baited breath on the one improvement, besides diversion away from “KISS” Keep it simple folks……