Microsoft has spent the past 10 months developing the first major update to Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and the software is finished and being released to manufacturers. Microsoft confirmed earlier reports by publishing the news on its official blog today, and it’s a major step since this means that laptop and tablet makers will now be able to begin creating devices with the final build of software. At this point, no other major changes will be added to Windows 8.1.
That doesn’t mean you can install it now, unfortunately. Microsoft will still require end users to wait until Oct. 18 to install Windows 8.1, when it says that its ecosystem with new apps and agreements will finally be in place. Consumers in the U.S. will be able to install the software on Oct. 17, as the official launch date is actually scheduled on New Zealand time. A preview of the operating system was published in June, though it may still contain bugs and lack final features, such as integration with Skype out of the box.
Windows 8.1 will run on a variety of devices, including small screened tablets, notebooks and all-in-one computers. Microsoft said it worked closer than ever with its partners on the release and that those partners will begin releasing new products with Windows 8.1 just before the holidays.