This week, Microsoft held its annual BUILD conference for developers at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Ars had Peter Bright on the scene when the company announced the new features that will be added into Windows 8.1. In the comments section beneath Bright's article, What does Windows 8.1 offer to desktop die-hards?
, there were some mixed opinions about how meaningful Microsoft's changes will prove for desktop users.
thinks the changes don't really solve the problem that Windows 8 really has: that the OS is trying to be all things for all devices. "I don't understand why the use of the two interfaces needs to be intermingled." dkazaz writes. "I'm quite interested in a hybrid desktop/touch OS. I just don't want to use a touch interface with a keyboard/mouse and I don't want (obviously) to have to use desktop elements on a touchscreen... Merging the two forces compromises on both. That doesn't mean that you can't have both in the same OS as long as you have clean switching between them. Is that really so hard for MS to figure out?"
was a bit more charitable about the design choice: "I think the Start Screen is the new version of the ActiveX desktop. I never saw it used to good effect but it allowed animated widgets connected to the Web to display info on the desktop. What do most people have on their desktop? Application launcher icons. What do you get if you cross application launcher icons with animated widgets sucking down information from the web? The Start Screen. Yes we laughed when we first saw the ActiveX Desktop, but now may be the time when it finally fulfils its potential!"