The past few months have seen many rumors swirl about Windows Blue, the forthcoming software upgrade to Windows 8. Microsoft only just acknowledged Blue’s existence last week, with Microsoft corporate VP Frank Shaw terming it a set of plans made to “advance [Microsoft’s] devices and services.”
That kind of description is impossibly vague, but one detail Shaw did manage to leak was that “Blue” was not likely to be the name of the finished product(s). Today, that name may have been revealed.
An unnamed Windows Blue source has told ZDNet that the finished name for Blue will be Windows 8.1. The software is said to be arriving for manufacturing sometime in August, and will reportedly come to Windows RT devices under the name Windows RT 8.1. No pricing details were revealed.
Further supporting this rumor is a supposedly leaked screenshot of the revamped OS, courtesy of Twitter user Roman L. Take it with a grain of salt, as always, but the pic makes mention of “Windows 8.1 Pro” and visually appears to fall in line with previous leaks.
Microsoft, as it has done with every Blue rumor thus far, declined TechnologyGuide\’s request for comment on the matter.
If this is all true, the big thing to take away here is Microsoft’s newfound commitment to regularly refreshing its latest OS differently than it has with its previous Service Packs. Shaw has already said that “this continuous development cycle is the new normal across Microsoft,” so it may not be surprising to see many smartphone-like “Windows 8.x” upgrades on the way until the inevitable release of Windows 9.
That being said, previous leaks have suggested that Windows Blue (or 8.1, or what have you) will offer a variety of notable tune-ups. These reportedly include Internet Explorer 11, better multitasking support in Metro, smaller tile sizes and improved SkyDrive compatibility, among other things.
How Microsoft is going to charge for these upgrades — if at all — may be the biggest unknown, though. With the company remaining exceedingly tight-lipped about the new software, that question and others will have to remain unanswered for now. Microsoft has said that it will discuss Blue further at its Build 2013 conference this June, but TG will be sure to update if any new information arises.