Just 10 months after delivering on a bold, generational change with Windows 8, the Windows team has started releasing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to hardware partners.

“Thanks, in part, to customer feedback and an unparalleled level of collaboration across product teams, Windows 8.1 is a significant update that will bring an even greater unified experience for customers,” said Corporate Vice President Antoine Leblond in a Blogging Windows post. “As we consider the code we just handed off, and the new intuitive and fluid computing experience it provides – anytime, anywhere, across all devices – we’re confident we made the right bet in continuing our vision and following through on our commitment to rapid innovation and responsive engineering.”

With the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone, hardware partners are now in a position to prepare the wide array of innovative devices that customers can expect later this fall – just in time for the holidays. Over the next several months, expect to see beautiful, powerful devices, from the smallest tablets to the most lightweight notebooks to versatile 2-in-1s, as well as industry devices designed for business.

While partners are preparing the new devices, the Windows team will continue to work closely with them as it puts the finishing touches on Windows 8.1 leading up to general availability on October 18. On that date, Windows 8.1 will be broadly available for commercial customers with or without volume licensing agreements, our broad partner ecosystem, subscribers to MSDN and TechNet, as well as consumers.

Head over to the Blogging Windows post for more.

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Steve Clarke
Microsoft News Center Staff