Microsoft has released the first Windows 8.1 video preview, showcasing a sneak peek at the OS upgrade’s features.
Jensen Harris, from Microsoft’s Windows User Experience team, offers a first look at the new features of Windows 8.1 in the video preview.
Choosing to start with the improved Windows 8.1 lock screen, Harris explains how Microsoft has made the whole Windows 8.1 experience more “beautiful”.
“We’ve turned the lock screen into this beautiful cloud-powered photo frame that brings together pictures from your PC, from SkyDrive and from your phone all into one place,” explains Harris.
The Start Screen has been updated too, with a couple of new tile sizes added for increased customisation options. Microsoft has also added new motion accents to the Start Screen backdrop that move with the user’s mouse or touch screen interactions, very similar to the Live Wallpapers on the Android OS platform.
Windows 8.1 also allows users to have their desktop background behind the Start Screen as well.
The new Windows 8.1 Search feature also gets a look in during Microsoft’s video preview and reveals a slick optimised search functionality that is a cross between the OS X Spotlight search on Apple devices and the new Xbox One dashboard features showcased during the next-generation console reveal last month.
“We’ve created a beautiful curated app-like experience that brings together everything on the PC and on the web in one place. Heroes can contain information, image, links to other queries, actions I can do directly from the Hero. It brings back beautiful web results.”
Microsoft’s OS upgrade introduces increased multitasking options that allow users to have up to four applications running simultaneously on one screen, with full functionality in each.
Harris uses the example of opening the photo app while reading emails and being able to make photo edits straight away.
SkyDrive and cloud computing also play a larger role in Windows 8.1.
Harris confirms that “these are just a few of the new features in the Windows 8.1 preview”.
The full Windows 8.1 preview will be available June 26.
Next, read why Microsoft is backtracking with Windows 8.1 Blue.