Microsoft posts Windows 8.1 video preview, preps Outlook for Windows RT


— 3:13 PM on June 5, 2013

The public preview release of Windows 8.1 is about three weeks away, and to get us all hyped up, Microsoft has posted a video showing off some of the improvements awaiting us. The video mostly covers tweaks and additions to the Start screen and Modern UI interface, but as it turns out, there are plenty of those in store.

Windows 8.1 introduces new tile sizes, which we've all seen in screenshots (leaked or otherwise), as well as the ability to put photos on the lock screen. Access to the "All apps" screen is simpler, as is app management on the Start screen itself. It looks like you can even arrange apps into groups. App folders don't seem to be in the works, though.

Other than that, new color and backdrop options have been added—including, finally, the ability to use your regular desktop background as the Start screen backdrop.Some interesting changes have been made to search and Modern UI multitasking, including the option to snap more than two apps together on "larger" screens.

The Windows 8.1 public preview is due out on June 26. The final build of the OS update will be free of charge, and the rumor mill expects it in October—just in time for Windows 8's one-year birthday.

In related news, Microsoft has announced that, as part of the Windows 8.1 update, Outlook will join the suite of Office apps included with Windows RT. The current version of WinRT ships with Office 2013 Home & Student, but Outlook is missing from the package—and there's no way to purchase it separately, since Microsoft doesn't make an ARM-compatible version of the software just yet.

   
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