Windows 8.1 with Bing launched for budget devices

Microsoft launches Windows 8.1 with Bing, which is programmed to use its search engine by default

Windows 8 home screen

Microsoft has launched Windows 8.1 with Bing for installation on budget devices.

The platform was released on Friday 23 May to manufacturers to help "OEMs add Windows to low-cost devices while driving end user usage of Microsoft Services such as Bing and OneDrive," according to Microsoft.

The big difference between Windows 8.1 standard and Windows 8.1 with Bing is that the default Internet Explorer browser has been programmed to launch with Bing as the search engine.

End users of a Windows 8.1 with Bing device are able to change the default search engine within the Internet Explorer settings menu if they, for example, want to use Google or Yahoo as their default search engine.

Windows 8.1 with Bing will only be available on devices from Microsoft's hardware partners including HP, LG, and Lenovo.

To make the tablets more affordable, Microsoft will also be shipping them with a free version of Office or a year's subscription to Office 365 for extra affordability.

Microsoft said: "The end result is that more peopleacross consumer and commercialwill have access to an even broader selection of new devices with all the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 provides, and get Office too, all at a really affordable price."

Microsoft has already taken steps to make Windows 8.1 accessible to more people at a lower cost, with the most recent update allowing hardware partners to build lower cost devices with only 1GB of memory and 16GB of storage that "provide customers with the fast and fluid experience they expect from a Windows device."

Windows 8.1 is also available for Microsoft's hardware partners to use for free on devices with a screen measuring nine-inches or less.

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