Microsoft has gone on record saying that Windows Blue was just a code name, and the final name for the Windows 8 upgrade would be different. The final name has now been revealed, and it’s not that creative.
At the JP Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Windows boss Tami Reller announced that Windows Blue is now Windows 8.1. Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc later said in a blog post that the new update will “help us to deliver the next generation of PCs and tablets with our OEM partners.” He also says that Windows 8.1 will “deliver the experiences customers – both consumers and businesses alike – need and will expect moving forward.”
What does that mean? Microsoft isn’t saying yet. Prior rumors have said that Windows 8.1 will include some highly requested features, like the return of the Start button and a boot to desktop option. Both would be welcomed in business environments where employees have expressed confusion over having to learn new systems of control in the Metro UI.
A leaked copy of Windows 8.1 from March also confirmed that Microsoft would be adding some improvements to its Metro interface, including better multitasking. Internet Explorer 11 is apparently going to debut on Windows 8.1 as well.
During the original announcement of Windows Blue, Reller said that a public preview would be coming to consumers in June. At today’s conference, Reller narrowed down the date to June 26. On that date, consumers currently on Windows 8 or Windows RT will be able to download the Windows 8.1 update for free from the Windows Store.