Blue is coming. The colorfully named update to Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is now being prepared for release, and some features and screen shots have been leaked on the Web.
A leaked copy of Windows Blue build 9364, purportedly a version for the company's partners, became available online at various sites over the weekend. The Blue update is expected to be offered in preview within the next few months, with a release to manufacturing partners in late summer and a general release after that. A first internal Milestone 1 of Windows Blue was reportedly completed in February.
According to news reports, there will be Blue updates to Windows RT, and updates for several Windows 8 Server versions, as well as updates to Windows 8 for tablets, desktops and laptops. The inclusion of RT indicates that the technology giant is not throwing in the towel on that ARM-based operating system. Because Windows RT tablet has not had great sales, with some retailers reporting consumer confusion because the device does not run Windows apps, there had been speculation that Microsoft would phase it out.
Tiles, Multiple Monitors
None of the new features being discussed online offer any radically different new capabilities. Users will be able to modify the size and arrangement of tiles on the desktop, for instance, a feature that is available in Windows Phone 8.
Snap views will have more variations, such as side by side so that two tiles can take up half of the screen, or four tiles if so desired, and wallpapers and color arrangements can be personalized. For tablets, users will have the option to modify the Start Screens without using the Control Panel.
There are new apps for alarm, sound recorder, calculator and "movie moments," and multiple monitor support has been added. And there are also new options in Charms, which provide functions for Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings.
Added functions are being prepped for the desktop control panel and settings menu, and several new gestural commands will be available, such as swiping up from the bottom on the Start Screen to show a list of all apps, and swiping up or down to show a desktop app bar that offers snap, projector settings and other functions. SkyDrive, Microsoft's online storage service, has new integration options for automatically uploading camera shots and for backups.
The Blue update also includes Internet Explorer 11, which will offer synced tabs. This function, available on Chrome, Firefox and Safari, allows a signed-in user to switch from one machine to another and take their browsing experience with them. Currently, Windows 8 users can sync their browsing between machines through the use of a Windows ID.
There has been some speculation by Microsoft watchers that the relatively few interface changes could simply be related to the fact that UI alterations are often the last to be done.
Posted: 2013-03-26 @ 1:50pm PT
Just re add the start menu, start button, areo glass effect to the taskbar and let the USER choose the UI than all should be well again.
If not MS will get the same hand Jive/finger pointers touch screeners praise as with 8. The rest of us keyboard/mouse non touch screeners will have the same complaints. Desktop and laptop sales will fall even further.
For now I have no need for a smart phone, tablet, or a cell phone at all, but when I feel like spending 500 bucks on a phone it best be able to do all my laptop does.