I am traveling this week so I haven’t been able to try the Windows 8.1 Preview on my Surface RT (and the UK language pack doesn’t seem to be supported at the moment) so it was interesting to read about the changes in the Surface Blog. Windows RT 8.1 Preview as its official know is the Windows Blue update for RT and it contains lots of changes.

One of the changes that I know many people are looking forward to trying is Outlook 2013 RT, I know many people are frustrated with the functionality of the mail app in Windows RT and Outlook 2013 RT is the full desktop version so all the features of the desktop app are supported which should make many users happy. Personally I don’t need Outlook on my RT but it’s good to know it’s there.

The changes to the search look good, search now grab results from Bing as well as the Windows Store, your SkyDrive content and local documents. You get a lot more results but it remains to be seen if the changes clutter the search experience or if it’s as useful as Microsoft say.

What does look like a big improvement is the new start screen options. Titles can have 4 different sizes and it much easier to group, pin and manage multiple apps at once. You can personalise the background and there is the return of the Start Button (now called Start Tip).

Also there is the new Apps view which you access from a swipe up gesture from the bottom of the screen. You can see all you apps together and you can then pin the ones you want to the start screen, new apps are no longer automatically pinned to the start screen. You can sort the apps by name, category, most users or date installed.

There is a new reading list feature for collecting articles together and then reading them later, I use Pocket to collate posts together for later reading so it’s going to be interesting to see how this compares.

Microsoft have also improved the onscreen keyboard with better word suggestions making on screen typing faster. I am really looking forward to trying these changes on my Surface RT.



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