Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 7, 2013

Microsoft touching up Windows 8 to address gripes

(Continued)

In an interview, Reller said Microsoft still realized changes need to be made to make Windows 8 easier to navigate and capable of taking full advantage of technology improvements that have come out since October.

"Are there things that we can do to improve the experience? Absolutely," Reller said "There is a learning curve (to Windows 8) and we can work to address that."

For now, Microsoft isn't saying what kind of changes will be introduced with the release of Blue, which the company plans to anoint with a different name when the update is available. Microsoft also isn't saying whether it will charge existing owners of Windows 8 devices to get the fixes in Blue. The company plans to release Blue in time for the holiday season.

Reller said more details about Blue will be released before Microsoft holds a developers conference in San Francisco in late June. Some of Blue's features are expected to be previewed at that conference.

If Blue is meant to make people more comfortable, the changes may incorporate more of the elements from earlier versions of Windows.

A common complaint has centered on the lack of a "start" button in the Windows 8 menu.

Other critics have pined for an option that would allow the system to begin in a desktop mode suited for running applications designed for earlier versions of the operating system. Windows 8 currently starts off showing a mosaic of interactive tiles tailored for swiping through programs with a finger instead of using a computer mouse.

Blue also might make it easier to find a set of controls — known as "charms" in Windows 8's parlance — that currently must be pulled out from the right side of a display screen.

Besides responding to customer feedback, Blue also will improve Windows 8's ability to work on smaller tablets with 7- and 8-inch display screens, Reller said. She declined to say whether Microsoft intends to make smaller version of its own Surface tablets. In a conference call with analysts last month, Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said the company was working with other manufacturers to make smaller tablets.

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