Microsoft provides a first look at Windows 8.1

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Microsoft provides a first look at Windows 8.1
Tami Reller. Source: Microsoft

WinRT gets Outlook 2013.

The 8.1 update to Microsoft's controversial WIndows 8 has broken cover at the Computex 2013 expo in Taipei, Taiwan, with company executives taking to the stage to show off the new stuff in the operating system refresh.

Most of the changes are to the user interface, but universal search has now been enabled, returning results from not just the local device but also the web.

The lock-screen can now show images and there are new tile sizes for the start screen; there is also a sortable screen for all applications that is easily accessible by swiping up from the start screen.

App icons can now be grouped and moved together, but those hoping for a start button with a menu or similar feature will be disappointed to find this won't be available.

The public demonstration was done by Microsoft's chief financial and marketing officer Tami Reller, along with the company's vice president for the Windows programme management, Antoine Leblond.

Windows RT tablets will also be updated to Windows 8.1, Reller said. As part of the update, WinRT tablets will get the Outlook 2013 messaging program that has been missing from the Office productivity suite bundled with the devices.

Microsoft's Windows user experience team member Jensen Harris shows off the new features and changes in the upcoming Windows 8.1 update.

A public preview of Windows 8.1 will become available June 27 Australian time, Microsoft said, but the company has yet to announce when the final version will be ready.

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