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Microsoft Windows 8.1 Preview available for download now
Posted on 27-Jun-2013 17:44. | Tags Filed under: News.

Microsoft Corp. has announced the availability of the Windows 8.1 Preview, the next update of the Windows operating system, at the company’s developer-focused Build conference.

As part of the conference’s keynote speech, the company outlined the reach, design and economic opportunities for developers to build differentiated, touch-based apps for the Windows platform, including new developer tools and increased support.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was joined on stage by Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president of Windows, and other company executives to demo the Windows 8.1 Preview, focusing on key areas of personalization, search powered by Bing, increased functionality for businesses, new in-the-box apps and more.

“With Windows 8 we built a new Windows, reimagined from the chipset to the experience. It was an ambitious vision, and with Windows 8.1 we refine it,” Larson-Green said. “Windows 8.1 will support the widest range of tablets and PCs and demonstrates how responsive we can be for customers. The preview we are releasing today is an important step for partners around the world that are building the next generation of Windows devices and apps.”

Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president of Windows Program Management, also took the stage to outline how Windows 8.1 provides additional opportunity for developers to design, build and market their Windows Store apps.

The Windows Store has been completely redesigned in Windows 8.1 to reach engaged customers and connect them more effectively and quickly to the apps they want. This includes increased merchandising opportunities for apps and better discoverability based on an individual’s preferences, as well as new search controls from Bing in the user interface. App listings have a new layout with refined navigation and more related content.

For developers, Windows 8.1 delivers new opportunities to build and monetize apps and engage users. Leblond introduced Windows Store gift cards, an easy way for consumers to purchase apps, books, games and content. Customers will be able to load their Microsoft Account with stored value in their local currency and make purchases online from the Windows Store.

Beyond Windows 8.1, Microsoft showcased Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET 4.5.1 Preview. Timed to the next wave of Windows, Visual Studio 2013 offers the toolset for building rich modern applications that run on Windows 8.1. With a range of new features, Visual Studio 2013 makes it easier and faster for developers to create applications and services using modern lifecycle practices that span mobile devices and the cloud. Microsoft also announced a preview of .NET 4.5.1, enabling developers to build next-generation applications for devices and services while innovating their existing core business applications. Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1 previews are now available for download here.

The Windows 8.1 Preview is available for download beginning today.

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