Microsoft Windows 8.1 Blue release date, news, rumors, specs and features

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Microsoft on Wednesday morning announced the official release date for its Windows 8.1 update, which will arrive on Oct. 17 at 4 a.m. PDT.

Formerly known as Windows Blue, Windows 8.1 promises to bring a host of improvements over its predecessor. While the release of Windows 8 was somewhat a disaster between its hardware and software faults, Microsoft remains extremely confident about the release of Windows 8.1.

The release of Windows 8.1 will introduce many changes to the new Windows 8 operating system, including Microsoft’s signature Start button, new lifestyle and productivity apps, a file manager integrated into its cloud-based SkyDrive app, Internet Explorer 11, an updated security system and Windows Store 2.0, which features a better layout and allows users to have apps automatically updated. Windows 8.1 will also release with a much-improved snap view feature, which allows users to see multiple apps on the screen at once.

The release date of Windows 8.1 will arrive just before the first year anniversary of Windows 8, and Microsoft intends on advertising many of its new Windows 8 devices prior to the Windows 8.1 release date, including the Microsoft Surface, the Lenovo Yoga 11s, the Dell XPS 18 and the Acer Iconia W3.

On stage at the Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco, Steve Ballmer said that plenty of new smaller Windows 8 tablets would be released as well as new apps from Flipboard, Facebook and the NFL.

Microsoft Windows 8.1 will be delivered as a free and seamless update to Windows 8 and to Windows RT, which means that customers today who have Windows 8 or who plan to buy a new device will get all the advantages of Windows 8.1.