Microsoft have unveiled Windows 8.1 and have pledged for a 'rapid release' schedule.

Microsoft Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 was unveiled to developers on Wednesday and promises to deliver a 'rapid release' schedule to keep the pace of new innovations down the timeline.

The key features announced for Windows 8.1 was the confirmed reworking of the Start menu back into the Windows desktop, new bookt-to-Desktop options, as well as a large list of updated apps to take advantages of new performance tweaks Windows 8.1 aims to provide.

For Microsoft, the Build 2013 developer conference represents a chance to connect or reconnect with developers, luring them back to the Windows platform. Microsoft is nearing the 100,000 Windows 8 apps mark, it still falls short of the millions of apps that have been written for the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.

The Maps app in Windows 8, that is powered by Bing, is to get 3D imagery when it becomes available in the fall. Microsoft gave a demo showing the Flyover-tape renderings with the new Bing maps providing a high level of depth that is already provided by services such as Google and Apple. Although, the app will be absent from Windows 8.1 - we hope to see this released as a baseline for Windows Blue.

Bing - Microsoft, Windows 8.1

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In connection with this, Microsoft launched the Bing Platform for developers. This allows app developers to create experiences in their apps based around Bing's services e.g. geolocation API's, real-time translation API's directly built into the Windows 8 apps. Although it is only an initial release, it is a promising move forward to promote the development of apps for the Windows 8 Store  - though, will they ever catch up to the developer API's provided by Google?

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