Just as it was previously rumored and talked about, Microsoft has announced that it’s going to offer Windows 8.1 with Bing to OEMS in order for these to build cheaper devices. More about this below.
Moments ago, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc announced on the official Windows Experience blog that Micrsooft will release a new edition of Windows, called Windows 8.1 with Bing. We will see the very first devices getting launched at the Computex tech conference in Taipei, which will take place at the beginning of next month. Many of Microsoft’s hardware partners are going announce new Windows devices running Windows 8.1 with Bing, which means that these products have been in the works for a while, which explains how heard about this through rumors a while back.
Here’s what LeBlanc said:
As we move forward, many of these lower cost devices will come with a Windows 8.1 with Bing provides all the same great experiences that Windows 8.1 offers with the Windows 8.1 Update, and comes with Bing as the default search engine within Internet Explorer. And of course customers will be able to change that setting through the Internet Explorer menu, providing them with control over search engine settings. This new edition will be only be available preloaded on devices from our hardware partners. Some of these devices, in particular tablets, will also come with Office or a one-year subscription to Office 365.
Microsoft looks to put on the market even cheaper Windows 8.1 devices
Windows 8.1 with Bing will be running the exact version as the latest Windows 8.1 Update, so besides the fact that Bing will be set as the default search engine in Internet Explorer, these will be identical operating systems. And, of course, that can be changed anytime to Google or, why not, DuckDuckGo. Also, it won’t be available for separate purchase, but there isn’t really a reason why somebody would want to buy it.
When Windows 8.1 Update was introduced, Microsoft allowed its hardware partners to build lower cost devices with only 1GB of memory and 16GB of storage which resulted in a good number of cheap tablets with the Windows 8 experience. Now, as Android tablets become cheaper and cheaper (these days, we’ve seen HP launch a tablet which was only $100), Microsoft is looking to counteract that with even cheaper tablets. We’ve already discussed about how Intel plans to take part in the launch of ~$100 Windows tablets, so it seems that we’re getting closer to that moment.
Microsoft also announced at Build 2014 that Windows will be available for free to OEMS building Windows Phones devices and tablets smaller than 9-inches in screen size. So, with Windows 8.1 with Bing, Microsoft is obviously looking to release 10 inch tablets at a lower price. So, this move isn’t directly affecting us, the consumers, in terms of software, but come Computex, we’ll see what devices this partnership is going to yield.