The days when there was just one version of Windows are long gone. With a phone and RT version already out, Microsoft is adding yet another variant made specifically for hardware manufacturers.
First teased at Build 2014, Microsoft announced a Windows 8.1 with Bing - yes that's really its name – designed for low-cost hardware platforms. In a blog post the Richmond company detailed that these affordable devices could be equipped with as little as 1GB of memory and 16GB of storage.
Microsoft is also offering this new version of Windows for free to all hardware developers for phones and tablets with a screen smaller than 9-inches.
While regular consumers might not be able to take advantage of this free version of Windows, we could see a many more Windows devices in the near future. Microsoft also went on to hint that we could see new Windows devices in the coming weeks at Computex in Taipei.
I love free stuff
Although the vanilla version of Windows 8.1 comes with Bing integration baked in, this new variant will come with Internet Explorer using Microsoft's search engine by default. It's not clear if this is a setting users will be able to change on their own, but there's always the option to install another browser like Chrome or Firefox.
As an extra perk devices, and especially tablets, also may come with Office preloaded or an included one-year subscription to Office 365.
Otherwise the Windows 8.1 with Bing seems to be largely the same operating system and Microsoft promises it will run just as fluidly on the lightly specced platforms.
It may be even more interesting to see how many new phones and tablets, decide take advantage of this free Windows offer. Stay tuned as we bring you more Windows-powered hardware news from Computex in the coming weeks.
- Windows 8.1 with Bing may have just gotten here but we want Windows 9