Macadamian Blog

Eight Things You Need To Know About Windows 8.1

Fred Boulanger

Here’s what I learned from attending Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston this year

Windows 8.1

When I attended Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 in Houston I had a chance to take in a demonstration of Windows 8.1.

This product offers a compelling and consistent experience across many devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops – all of which can be synced to the cloud so people can access what they need, when and how they need it.

Basically, devices running Windows 8.1 are powerful “windows” into a world of personalized information.

It’s clear to me the Windows experience is evolving in the right direction. Microsoft has obviously been listening to user feedback on Windows 8.

This new version does a much better job at enriching and simplifying the lives of the people using the platform. Here are eight reasons why…

  1. Roaming start screen. Your profile and apps always get setup exactly the same way on any device. For example, my experience is consistent when I alternate between my Surface tablet and Xbox.
  2. Content syncing. Content saved on one device gets stored direct to the cloud (SkyDrive) and is easily accessible from any of your other devices also running on Windows 8.1.
  3. All-apps screen. With a single swipe you can see all your apps in one place. A nice improvement since Windows 8 doesn’t provide users with a consolidated view of the apps available to them.
  4. Miracast wireless display. Now you can “mirror” the screen of one device onto the screen of another. Bye-bye boardroom video projectors!
  5. Lockscreen updates. Among the updates to the Lockscreen is the ability to answer incoming calls without the need to unlock the Lockscreen.
  6. Start screen tiles. There’s lots of great ways to manipulate and customize the tiles on the Start screen for a more personalized experience that can enhance productivity.
  7. Search. This enhanced feature brings together everything found on your device and the Web into one curated content flow that’s easy to navigate.
  8. Hand gestures. In hands-free mode you can navigate the Food & Drink app of Windows 8.1 without even touching a device screen (or using a mouse). Your device’s Webcam will recognize your hand gestures. It’s a feature meant for cooks with sticky hands. But it’ll be exciting to see where Microsoft takes this one!

You can learn more about Windows 8.1 by watching this demo video. It features Microsoft’s Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience team. Or watch the video preview for Windows 8.1 here.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Author Overview

Fred Boulanger

Fred is an out-of-the closet design and technology geek who envisions a world where software enables the full potential of ideas, enriches lives, and is a joy to use. He has led Macadamian in its tremendous growth to become a multi-million dollar consultancy with an award-winning work culture. As a director of the Information Technology Association of Canada, Fred is an active advocate for expanding Canada’s innovative capacities. He is also a community leader and a co-founder of the Ottawa High School Technology Program, which encourages a passion for science in high school students. Frédéric graduated from the Université de Sherbrooke with a B.S. in Computer Science. He resides with his wife and children in Gatineau, Quebec, where he enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and cooking for family and friends.