Build 2013 – What’s new in Windows 8.1

This morning at the Build Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft presented some innovative changes with their Windows 8.1 release. The Moscone Center was packed with thousands of Microsoft enthusiasts where Steve Ballmer started the show and announced the availability of the Windows 8.1 preview. The release is all about movement, innovation and responsiveness.

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So what’s new in Windows 8.1? Well, the Start button is back! There are also some great improvements to the lock screen including:

  • A live slideshow driven by photos stored in SkyDrive
  • The ability to answer Skype calls from the lock screen
  • The ability to take a picture from the lock screen

Microsoft also announced improvements in personalization and improved productivity features such as:

  • The ability to scroll up from the start screen to view “All Programs”
  • Easy sorting of all programs
  • Built-in picture editing
  • Hands-free mode to swipe (for some applications driven by your webcam)

Another great enhancement is that Windows 8.1 will automatically update your apps so you always have the latest version! The ability to use a “split screen” view of applications has also been enhanced to allow an “any size split” with many applications being displayed on a single screen at once. There are also some nice features to automatically create music playlists via Xbox music.

The loudest applause of the morning was triggered by the announcement that all Build 2013 attendees will receive an Acer Iconium tablet equipped with Windows 8.1. It was later announced that attendees will also receive a Surface Pro!

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You can download the Windows 8.1 preview at preview.windows.com

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