Analysts and market researches do have a tendency of stating the obvious sometimes. But there are days when hearing such seemingly obvious analysis is both calming and comforting.

The PC industry as a whole is in a decline, and this in turn has had a negative effect on Windows 8, Microsoft’s newest platform. While the company’s new OS seems to be doing rather okay on tablets (Windows RT solutions aside), its performance on traditional PCs has been rather muted so far.

Through all this, though, the new operating system continues to increase its market share continuously, albeit at a slower pace than expected.

But Microsoft seems to have very high hopes for the upcoming upgrade to its flagship platform. The company is confident that the release of Windows 8.1 will pave way for a lot of new devices — including those with thin and light form factors and equipped with touchscreens.

And analysts seem to be sharing the view.

Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner recently confirmed this, saying:

“We can expect some attractive new PCs in the stores for the fourth quarter of 2013, running Windows 8.1 with thinner form factors and longer battery life enabled by Intel’s Haswell processors.

These PCs will compete with high-end tablets and will be complemented by a new generation of Atom-based devices that will compete with low-end basic tablets. Although this will not fully compensate for the ongoing PC decline, it does create an opportunity for profit in the midrange and more high end PC segments.”

The RTM version of Windows 8.1 is on track for completion and deliver to hardware vendors later this month. And while there are no details on general availability, sources close to the matter have hinted that Microsoft will be pushing for a fast release schedule for the general public.

All eyes will soon be on this first refresh of the Windows 8 platform, and how it fares once in the market.

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  • Ray C

    I think 8.1 plus a wider variety of devices will be good for tech. Why anyone would want one family of products to fail is beyond me. It’s good for the PC, tablet, and phone markets if Microsoft succeeds. I think in the end Microsoft will have the last laugh. PC, tablet, phone. Each one someone buys is a potential customer of one of the others.