Microsoft’s new Windows 8.1 update has one mission and one mission alone: Get users who were critical of Windows 8 and fearful of switching to an operating system designed primarily for touch input to finally embrace the new platform. In that regard, the Associated Press seems to believe that Windows 8.1 has failed. AP’s Ryan Nakashima “reviewed” Windows 8.1 as thoroughly as someone can “review” something after spending just a few hours with it, and he came away with mixed feelings. While Windows 8.1 does include a “grab bag of fun features that make the free update worthwhile,” Nakashima isn’t convinced that Microsoft went far enough to win back the minds and wallets of users stuck in the past with older versions of the Windows platform.
“After some hands-on time with [Windows 8.1], the update seems to me like a patch over an ever-widening chasm,” Nakashima wrote in his review.
He continued, “The issue is that there are over a billion personal computers that use some version of Windows as it existed until last October, when Microsoft unveiled Windows 8. All those PCs are responsive to mice and keyboards, not the touch screens and other input methods like voice and gestures that represent the future of computing. Making it easier to cross that bridge is one of the goals of Windows 8.1, a preview version of which Microsoft released Wednesday.”
Did Windows 8.1 succeed? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it. “After spending several hours with devices running Windows 8.1, it remains unclear to me whether a touch-based environment is what traditional Windows users want to accomplish the productive tasks for which they’ve come to rely on Windows,” Nakashima noted.
A public preview of Windows 8.1 is available to all users for free right now, and the final version of the update will be released in the coming months.