Windows 8 may have been one of the most important operating system launches for Microsoft, but Windows 8.1 is shaping up to be even crucial for the Redmond based technology giant.

The company is hoping to grab the attention of people still on the fence with its modern OS, those that are still waiting for the brand new operating platform to mature before making their move to upgrade.

But Windows 8.1 is right around the corner, and Microsoft continues to talk and bring into spotlight the biggest features of its new OS. This time, the company is talking about the built-in Bing apps, as well as how it believes the Start screen is a much more powerful tool than the good old Start Menu.

Appropriately, Ryan Gavin, the general manager of Microsoft Apps & Services put up a blog post, explaining how the recent revamp of the Bing interface ties into Windows 8.1, particularly the two new Bing apps — Food & Drink and Health & Fitness:

“News, Weather, Sports, Finance, Maps and Travel, which were updated in April, are also updated in Windows 8.1. Right from the Start screen, the larger live tile screens bring you more detailed information about the things you care about — without even opening the app.”

The executive notes that all Bing apps offered to Windows 8.1 users have been designed with a few simple goals in mind, namely to help users stay connected and express themselves, while at the same time getting stuff done:

“These are some of the most important things we all do, every day, and we believe your Windows device should reflect that right from the first moment you power it on. The Bing apps bring you the information you want, from the content sources you trust, in easy to use, photo-rich experiences.”

With the first major overhaul of Windows 8 on track to go live in less than a month, the general vibe coming from Microsoft is that the company has very high expectations from the operating system.

This, in many ways, is understandable when you put into focus the facts that the retirement of Windows XP is looming ever closer, and the Windows ecosystem is ever improving. This surely is the case of now or never for Microsoft — and considering the polish it has put into 8.1, the optimism makes sense.

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  • Ray C

    I think Windows 8.1 will move much faster than did Windows 8, but even if it doesn’t make Windows 8.x hit 20% by this time next year, any significant growth is a success for Microsoft. It’s going to be a while before Windows products are no longer a big part of what we do every day. No matter what company it is, one sale this year, is potentially two next year.