Microsoft has announced that the Windows 8.1 update will be ready to ship to manufacturers and PC vendors by late August, with general public availability following later in the year.
The announcement, made at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference, marks the first formal acknowledgement by Microsoft on the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) availability for the Windows update. The company had previously released a preview version of the update, though no word had been given on a general release at the time.
The firm said: “This means OEMs will be able to get the RTM bits and begin preparing devices with Windows 8.1 just in time for the holidays. We’ll have more details to share in the coming months for consumers and other customers on how to get Windows 8.1.”
The RTM announcement follows the release by Microsoft of the first preview builds of Windows 8.1. Largely intended for developer use and testing, the preview builds allow users to test out the new version of Windows on their systems.
Serving as the first official major update to Windows 8, the Windows 8.1 build will aim to correct a number of issues that brought scathing criticism to Windows 8. Among the updates are improvements to the classic Windows interface and the ability to boot directly into the Windows desktop rather than the Modern interface.
Other features set to be included in the Windows 8.1 release include support for tethering, the addition of 3D printing support and a new version of Internet Explorer.
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