Software giant Microsoft yesterday announced a free upgrade to its Windows 8 operating system in a drive to fend off competition from Android and iOS tablets.
MrRachod showsthe ‘Metro’ screen of Microsoft’s new Windows 8.1 operating system yesterday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
Rachod Isarankura Na Ayuthaya, the group leader for Windows client business of Microsoft (Thailand), said the new system will be available on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones running Windows 8.
Windows 8.1 addresses some of the gripes that consumers had with the previous version. For instance, users of the new software now can boot their computers to the traditional desktop mode, bypassing the tablet-like screen of app titles.
Microsoft has also brought back the Start button, but it doesn't offer the same functionality it did on Windows 7 and earlier releases. Instead of calling up a list of programs and important folders, the new Start button brings users back to the new tile interface.
Windows 8.1 adds new touch and gesture shortcuts and provides better multitasking and search capabilities. Microsoft also lets users sync their files, settings and apps to its SkyDrive cloud-based storage system.
Starting from yesterday, consumers with a Windows 8 device can download the free upgrade online from the Windows Store app.
"This is the first time Windows can serve small-screen device displays, serving especially 8-inch tablets, compared with the old Windows 8 that supported displays of more than 10 inches," Mr Rachod said.
Globally, Microsoft has sold 100 million Windows 8 licences over the past 12 months.
The company expects at least 10 global brand computer makers will start rolling out their new Windows 8.1 devices in the Thai market next month.
Microsoft also plans to introduce its second-generation tablets, Surface2 and Surface Pro2, in the global market on Tuesday. They will be available in Thailand early next year.
Mr Rachod expects to see Touch-based notebook and hybrid devices powered by Windows 8.1 with Intel Atom processors priced below 20,000 baht, a sharp decrease from 30,000 baht currently.
Prices for ultrabook computers with Intel will range from 20,000 to 30,000 baht.
Mr Rachod said Windows 8.1 is also available in a retail package for 4,590 baht.
Microsoft targets 5.7 million Windows XP users in Thailand to shift to Windows 8.1-based devices, especially notebooks and tablets.