Microsoft has officially announced at /Build/ changes coming the to Windows 8.1 platform. Changes announced include:
- The ability to choose to boot directly into Desktop mode or directly to the start screen
- Home screen tiles can now be resized into 4 sizes. The smallest tile is 1/16 of our current standard tile in size, and it can’t be animated (similar to Windows Phone).
- Read list, located in your charm bar, operates like a clipboard storing links and pages to read later on different devices.
- Panorama, powered by Photosynth technology, is now the default camera app.
- Smart Search provides universal search, presenting everything the OS is connected to including local files, internet pictures, websites, Wikipedia entries, etc.
- Xbox Music and browser will now recognize playlists fused into web pages, and play the list in Xbox Music.
- Additional language support now covering 139 languages.
- Deeper SkyDrive integration allowing you to check your SkyDrive usage via your PC settings.
- The lock screen is now able to play a series of pictures like a slideshow from the feed provided locally or via files in your SkyDrive.
- Skype calls can now be answered right on the lock screen.
- Animated background now supported for your Modern home screen.
- Sliding from the bottom up on your Start scree allows you to access your “all apps” screen showing all apps loaded on you device.
- New features added for picture editing, including effect filters via the included pictures app.
- Added support for 3D printers.
- Return of the Start button on the desktop screen combining the Modern UI with the traditional desktop.
- Mail app improvements including a new group for key contact, a new newsletter category for organizing your inbox and the ability to open a picture attachment in an email will now show it in a snapped view.
- Modern version of PowerPoint was demoed but still in beta stage.
- Windows Store purchased apps can now be automatically updated without user interference.
- Acer W3 announced with a 8″ screen which will begin a whole series of small-sized devices.
Further details to be made available as they release. The preview is also available and can be downloaded here: