Microsoft announced during their Worldwide Partner Conference earlier today that Windows 8.1 will be ready for manufacturers by late August and will subsequently come pre-loaded on many devices sold this holiday season.

Big PC makers like Acer and HP typically enjoy early access to Microsoft software as it gives them plenty of time to test for bugs and get them loaded onto upcoming machines. If you aren’t in the market for a new system, fear not as the update will be made available to everyone later this year free of charge. Microsoft hasn’t issued a solid release date for Windows 8.1 just yet but that’s expected in the near future.

Microsoft revealed Windows 8.1 at last month’s Build conference following months of speculation that it was in the pipeline. It addresses a number of complaints that users have had with Windows 8 since its launch late last year. A preview version of the update accompanied the conference for those interested in trying it before the public release. It can be downloaded simply by clicking here.

During today’s event, Microsoft's Jensen Harris publically demonstrated some other features of Windows 8.1 that weren’t shown last month. Specifically, the demo showed how the update is optimized to work on small-form factor devices and in portrait view. Attendees were also shown the Reading List app, Miracast streaming as well as the revised search experience powered by Bing.