Briefly: Windows 8.1 ready, 2degrees new boss, 7 inch Toughpad

starttiles_ThumbMicrosoft has confirmed Windows 8.1 is finished or as the company puts it: ‘has been released to manufacturing’. While this means the company’s hardware partners can start tinkering with the software, it won’t be officially available to the rest of us until October 18.

Many of the changes in Windows 8.1 are designed to woo existing Windows users who didn’t rush to upgrade from Windows 7 to 8. There will be a start button and users will now be able to boot directly to the desktop. It also becomes possible to bypass all the Metro touch screen apps.

  • Stewart Sherriff is now the permanent chief executive at 2degrees after stepping in to the interim role after the death of Eric Hertz earlier this year. Sherriff has more than 35 years’ experience in telecommunications and  until now has been senior vice-president and chief technical officer at Trilogy International – 2degrees US-based majority owner. He is also the 2degrees chairman and will keep that role until a replacement is found.
  • Comworth Technologies is bringing the 7-inch Toughpad to New Zealand. It’s a small rugged Android device for people working away from offices – the company says it can withstand a 1.5m drop and has an outdoor display. There’s no price information yet.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports BlackBerry is looking at spinning off its Messenger business. Earlier this year the company released Android and iOS versions of the Blackberry Messenger software.