Ahoy! Microsoft inaugurated its annual ‘Build Developer Conference’ in San Francisco yesterday. The tech giant took the wraps off the Windows 8.1 update 1 for desktop, the first notable tweak since last October’s release of Windows 8.1 and introduced Windows Phone 8.1.

Let’s have a sneak peek through the “Windows” to spot the updates.

Windows 8.1 Update 1

  • Windows 8.1 update 1 hails back to the roots

Windows’ users will have the choice they never had with the avant-gardiste Windows 8 released in 2012! Now end users can avoid the uncomfortable tiled-touch based user interface and switch to the traditional desktop version when booting their pc.

  • The taskbar becomes easier to handle

Microsoft is making the taskbar easy to use again for mice and keyboards devotees, by allowing the Windows 8 style apps to be pinned within it. Users can also access the Windows store without having to switch to the modern interface.

  • The start menu to display a new exotic look

The start menu will apparently be crammed full of colourful live tiles, a trace of ‘Metro’ (modern interface) inspired elements and some features of Windows 7 which have not fallen out of style yet.

  • Universal Apps

Thanks to new support, a single app can run across devices – PCs, tablets, smartphones and TVs through the Xbox.

  • Date of update

Users of Windows 8.1 can expect to receive the new update as from April 8th.

Windows Phone 8.1

“Windows Phone 8.1 is less about technology and more about you,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program Management.

  • A new member joined the crew of features: Cortana!

Cortana is the answer to Siri and Google now. The digital personal assistant performs the same tasks as ‘her’ arch-rivals like reminding users of their appointments and searching the web, except that ‘she’ is brighter. Cortana can comprehend and accurately answer ‘follow-up questions’. Interestingly, you can also ask ‘her’ to recall something you need to tell a particular person the next time you call him/her.

  • Action Center, your lighthouse!

It allows Windows phone users’ to view notifications, juggle between numerous network settings and keep track of the battery percentage.

  • The lock screen gets more creative

Users can now think of a more imaginative combination to lock the screen of their phones.

  • Wi-Fi Sense, your new weapon to stay connected anywhere

Thanks to the new feature, windows’ phones can automatically connect to surrounding networks while enabling users to share their home Wi-Fi without revealing the password.

  • Gesture keyboard: As swift as the wind

Aye, it’s more or less like Android’s swipe feature except that it is faster, at least according to Belfiore! Microsoft even held a speed-typing competition offstage, to walk the talk. Thanks to a 17-seconds record time for writing a sentence, Microsoft has beaten the best performance held by Samsung Galaxy S4.

  • Microsoft is “donating” its Windows operating system

No quarter for the opponent! To counter the moves of Google’s Android, Microsoft is giving away its Windows operating system at no cost to manufacturers of tablets and smartphones.

  • Date of update

Microsoft is tight lipped on its general availability but the company said that upcoming devices which will be shipped in April or May, will sport the new software update.

Source: Cnet, The next web

Photo credit (PC world): Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program Management, stressing on the features of Cortona.