Report: Windows 8.1 expected in late October

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that Windows 8.1 would be a free upgrade for Windows 8 users. We also learned that a public preview is scheduled for June. Now, the guys at DigiTimes say they know when the final version of the new OS will arrive: in "late October."

At least, that's the estimate concocted by the site's sources. Those sources hail from notebook manufacturers, or ODMs, and they expect Windows 8.1-powered laptops to hit volume production in the middle of September. They figure the operating system will be released about a month and a half after that.

If Microsoft hits that target, then Windows 8.1 will come out right around the time Windows 8 did last year. (The launch occurred on October 26, 2012.) And that would all tie in with rumors about the software behemoth possibly moving to a yearly release cycle for its flagship OS.

In any event, DigiTimes' tipsters don't expect Windows 8.1 to be a magic bullet. The update is "unlikely to largely attract consumers into purchasing new PC products as there are already many third-party applications available to modify Windows 8's user interface and functions," the site writes. It adds that only a drop in OS pricing would have a "major positive effect on consumer demand."

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