Tami Reller, Microsoft corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for Windows, said Windows 8.1 will be delivered to hardware makers in late August and should be available on PCs and tablets in time for the holiday buying season, the Houston Chronicle website reported.
Windows 8.1 will include changes designed to address some of the most vocal criticisms about Windows 8. The new version will bring back a Start button, allow users to boot to desktop, and make the transition between the tile-based and desktop-based modes of the operating system visually less jarring, according to the report.
New features will include Smart Search, which allows users to perform global searches of their local files, apps, cloud storage and the Web. Reller reiterated that it will be a free upgrade for all existing Windows 8 users.
The conference, which is the company’s largest annual event, is the software giant’s opportunity to touch base with a group of resellers and hardware vendors. CEO Steve Ballmer kicked off the conference with a keynote address Monday morning at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston. The event goes on through Thursday with about 15,000 participants.