With the official announcement that Windows 8.1 will be available on June 26th, Windows 8 lovers and skeptics alike have been scouring news sites to find out exactly what will be included in the free update. While we’ll have to wait until the first day of Microsoft’s Build 2013 Developer Conference (June 26th) to see the official details, we can of course speculate what the key new features are likely to be according the hints that Steve Guggenheimer, Frank Shaw and the other key corporate figures at Microsoft have hinted at in the last few weeks. 

Will the Windows 8.1 Update Win Over the Doubters? [Readers Poll]

We’ve included those speculated features below. So let us know – do you think those features will be enough to sway the doubters to adopt Windows 8? Can Windows 8.1 help shift business users away from Window 7?

What we expect to be included in Windows 8.1:

  • Windows Start Button. Not a huge amount of evidence to suggest this will be included – but it is easily the most requested feature for Windows 8.1
  • More compatibility with smaller touch screen devices. Steve Guggenheimer (VP of platform development) alluded to this in his recent blog post suggesting Windows 8 helped Microsoft identify a huge opportunity in users wanting to share their experiences across multiple screens. Windows 8.1 will help Microsoft capture this segment of users.
  • New Metro-style apps: a calculator, alarm clock, sound recorder, video editing app and a file manager
  • PC Settings app: Includes more options that were previously exclusive to Control Panel
  • Windows PowerShell v4.0: Features a host of new commands for managing the Start screen, Windows Defender, Windows components, hardware and network.
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Start screen tiles to be locked in place to prevent accidental shifting of tiles that caused frustration.
  • More size options for live tiles on Start screen: small, medium and large plus an extra large size for Desktop tile. The “small” size is one fourth of default size in Windows 8.
  • Expanded color options on the Start screen, which would allows users to customize a color and a shade of one’s own choice instead of choosing from limited colors.
  • Start screen’s uninstall command allows Metro-style apps to be uninstalled from multiple computers.
  • Improved multi-tasking in Metro-style environment: The size of the columns that snapped apps occupy can be changed, although the minimum remains Windows 8’s 320 pixels. Snapped apps may occupy half of the screen. Large screens allow up to four apps to be snapped. Upon launching an app, Windows allows the user to pick which snapped view the app should open into.
  • Kiosk mode: Locks down the device to a single Metro-style app for an embedded-like terminal experience.

[Image via foxnews]