Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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4/2/2013
02:28 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
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Windows 8.1 (Blue) is Incremental - That's a Good Thing

For those of you expecting a major new version of Windows already, that's not the way the world works. Windows Blue, likely to be released as Windows 8.1, will focus on incremental improvements in the new Modern UI.

Mere months after the release of Windows 8, some are wondering where Windows 9 is already.

Sorry folks, this isn't Google Chrome, which gives us eight or nine major version bumps a year. We've had eight major versions of Windows in over 27 years. It's going to take a while before version 9. But you can expect more incremental changes, especially in the new "Modern UI" formerly known as Metro, to come out at a more rapid pace.

That's what Windows Blue appears to be: an incremental refresh of Windows 8. This interpretation is reinforced by a screen grab tweeted this morning:

Thanks to Roman L (@AngelWZR on Twitter) for this image. Click to see the full dialog box.

The dialog box calls the new version Windows 8.1, and even that sounds generous to me, based on what we've seen so far. BYTE's Chris Spera described Blue as being disappointing for lacking the things he thinks Windows 8 needs. I agree with him on some of those things, but I think it's fair and reasonable to expect Microsoft to put its efforts into fine-tuning the Modern UI.

Hat tip to Mary Jo Foley on ZDNet. Mary Jo says that Blue is expected to be released to manufacturing (what an antiquated term!) around August. Perhaps it can affect the back-to-school market.

She adds that Microsoft sees it as a refresh of Windows 8; that the branding will remain "Windows 8" (although I'm sure techies can and will use the term 8.1).

And don't be surprised if .1 Windows releases come more frequently than in the past. (I'm still hoping for an 8.5 that makes the desktop mode more Windows 7-like.)

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