Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

Microsoft Windows 8.1 will be available later this year through the Windows store, and is available today as a preview.

8.1 addresses criticisms about Windows 8 and brings many improvements. It also brings back the start button, and allows a choice of booting to the Metro interface, or to the traditional desktop. (For some reason only Apple seems to get away with getting rid of things we are used to.)

Microsoft is giving the full details today at its Build 2013 developer conference. I watched a live stream of part of it. Some of the enhancements are very cool – including for business productivity, personal use or gaming.

Microsoft seems to have a bit of an image problem, but their products (at least when reviewed by people who are not diehard Apple fans) generally get good reviews. Indeed, many of the changes Apple recently announced for iOS 7 are similar to Windows phone features.

Lawyers and business users in general should keep in mind that their portable options are not limited to Apple and Android phones, tablets or phablets. (Or Blackberry if you are so inclined.) Microsoft has done a good job of making the experience similar, seamless and intuitive across desktop, tablet and phone. 

Right now I have an Android phone and an iPad, and HP is like most businesses a Microsoft shop. When it comes time to replace my iPad and phone, I’ll have to take a cold hard look at the options – which will probably come down to Microsoft vs Android.

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