Microsoft will bring back the start-menu in the Windows 8.1 Spring Update which resembles the look and feel of the start menu in previous Windows versions. The company received lots of criticism for removing the start-menu from Windows 8 and added a ‘start tip’ instead.
This small button on the left bottom of the screen apparently didn’t do the trick and now Microsoft has shown a screenshot with a start-menu that mixes the classic start-menu and Metro Live Tiles.
Microsoft didn’t announce when the new features will become available and only posted a screenshot. The screenshots shows the new menu is clearly a combination of the start-menu as we know it, and the Live Tiles from the Metro interface. Whether this will replace the current Metro start screen is unclear, but as the Live Tiles work well on touchscreens we expect it to stay.
Besides the new start-menu, the screenshot also shows how Metro applications run inside their own window on the desktop. With new SDKs and APIs it should be possible to run Metro style apps on a PC (both Metro and desktop mode) , on future versions of Windows Phone and on the Xbox One. Microsoft refers to this as Universal Apps. Developers can write code once and the apps willt run on multiple platforms. For users it should have the benefit to pay once to use apps on multiple platforms.
Microsoft also announced a special version of Windows for the ‘Internet of Things’ which will be distributed for free. Last but not least, the company announced that manufacturers don’t have to pay Windows license fees for devices with a screen smaller than 9″.