Windows 8.1 will soon reach the RTM development stage, so all eyes are on the update that’s expected to finally give Windows 8 a chance to excite.
Analysts believe that 8.1 will not only rescue Windows 8, but it will also spawn lots of new devices, including thinner form factors equipped with touchscreens.
"We can expect some attractive new PCs in the stores for the fourth quarter of 2013, running Windows 8.1 with thinner form factors and longer battery life enabled by Intel's Haswell processors," Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, says
"These PCs will compete with high-end tablets and will be complemented by a new generation of Atom-based devices that will compete with low-end basic tablets. Although this will not fully compensate for the ongoing PC decline, it does create an opportunity for profit in the midrange and more high end PC segments."
While RTM is prepared for this month, there are no details on general availability, with some people close to the matter hinting that end users are expected to get the new OS by year-end.
Microsoft is also working on its very own device running Windows 8.1
, as the company is currently giving the last touches to the second-generation Surface tablet
based entirely on this OS.
The new tablet range is likely to include a smaller unit, possibly equipped with an 8-inch screen that would be specifically aimed at competing with Apple iPad mini and Nexus 7.
Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed the smaller Surface, but it did reveal that both the RT and the Pro are expected to get updates in the next 12 months, as the company continues development of new hardware devices.
The new Surface is also said to be more affordable, in an attempt to sell in high numbers and thus give Microsoft a chance to compete with Android and iOS devices.