Yesterday, Microsoft released the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of Windows 8 – the final version that will be available to the consumers once it is made public. Just like the Consumer Preview and Release Preview, the RTM version also comes without any surprises. Other than some new apps and a facelift for others, such as the new Bing App, the Personalization Tattoos, and revamped interface of the People app, there is not much that users have not seen before. In this post, we will look at all the new, as well as updated features and apps in the Windows 8 RTM release.
In the previous versions, the Start Screen was only customizable to the extent of changing the background color and choosing between a few designs, Now, you can change the look of your Start Screen by applying Personalization Tattoos onto the Start Screen. The good thing about these tattoos is that they can be used in combination with the background color feature. So, you get a large number of background choices by combining the two options.
New App For Bing
As anticipated, the RTM version includes the new app for Bing. It is designed to be in congruence with all the other elements of the operating system, including tiles and horizontal scrolling. The search results are displayed in a neat, tiled pattern, and infinite horizontal scrolling removes the need to click for getting to a new results page. You can compare it to the Image results page in Google where just scrolling through the results loads up the new images.
Some features, such as looking for directions to a particular place, are made more app-specific and taken out of the Bing app. For instance, if you have to look for directions, you have to open the Maps app instead of searching through Bing. This is a step down from the browser-based version of Bing that allows you to directly perform such functions as finding directions and looking for flights.
Search Enabled In Windows Store
Previously, to search for an app in the Windows Store, you had to access the Start Screen, enter your search, and open the Windows Store to view the apps related to your query. However, in the RTM version, the type-to-search function has also been extended to the Windows Store, meaning that you can search for an app from inside the Windows Store. Just start typing and the search bar will appear, automatically removing the need to go to the Start Screen first.
New Interface For People App
The People app has been revamped to look more organized than the previous versions. Instead of tabs for Me and What’s New sections of the app, now there are separate pages for accessing the notifications and updates from all your connected accounts. The Me page shows your own picture and all the updates and notifications related to your connected accounts, while the What’s New page displays all your friends and all their updates together in one place.
Aero Glass Effect Removed
The Aero Glass Effect introduced in Windows Vista has been let go in the RTM release of Windows 8. While some people might not like the lack of effects, in my opinion the Desktop looks very neat. The differentiation between multiple open windows is still possible as the edges of the selected window are colored, while others are greyed out. We believe this change will make the operating system more optimized for tablets.
All in all, there are no major changes on the visual end of Windows 8 RTM, compared to Release Preview, and we might even see more updates for the default apps through Windows Store. For now, this is all that Windows 8 has to offer to its potential users.