There continues to be rumors suggesting Microsoft is planning on releasing “Microsoft Blue” next year. We’ve heard several opinions about this, with some saying it is a great move, others suggesting that changes to Windows 8 so early could be quite disastrous.

Honestly, it depends on what “Blue” really is. Personally, I have a feeling it isn’t exactly like a new OS, as some seem to think. Nor is it like a Service Pack. It is somewhere in between, and I have a feeling it will be completely free of charge.

The idea here is that Windows 8 Blue will likely be to Windows 8 what Android 4.2 Jelly Bean was to 4.1 Jelly Bean. They are the same OS, but there are major improvements in speed as well as a few features. Again, they aren’t so different as to be considered totally different versions either, hence why Google labeled them both as “Jelly Bean”.

If this is the case, I personally don’t see how Blue will be bad news. It will still be Windows 8, after all, and its upgrade will likely be optional. According to a recent Verge editorial about the Windows brand, there is a possibility Blue will also feature some important tablet optimization which could pave the path for 7 and 8-inch devices.

If this is true, I certainly welcome this change. Microsoft has so far had no open intentions to enter into the smaller tablet space, even though Apple and Google are doing quite well with these form factors recently. There was the rumor of a 7-inch Xbox gaming tablet, though.

The idea of having a wider range of tablets sounds pretty good to me. It’s also possible that there could be a smaller-sized Surface at a lower price sometime in the future. Keep in mind that this is all speculation and rumor at this point.

What do you think of Blue? Will it be a true new OS or will it basically be a special Service Pack with extra features and optimizations that were left out of the original commercial release of Windows 8?

[ source ]

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  • Jack Sparrow

    An incremental upgrade to Windows 8 you say? I’m intrigued.

  • Brenton Klassen

    If Windows Blue did the following for Windows RT, then tablets would be able to get smaller:

    1. Port the control panel into the modern UI and merge it with the new “PC Settings” screen
    2. Port the Office apps into the modern UI and make them touch-friendly
    3. Create a modern, touch-friendly file explorer
    4. Remove the desktop
    Keep your fingers crossed!

  • Brenton Klassen

    Things I’d like to see in Windows Blue for Windows 8 Pro include:
    1. An option to pin the “running apps bar” on the left side of the screen so that it doesn’t always disappear (this would solve the “missing start button” problem too!)
    2. Merging of control panel and “Change PC Settings”
    I have no doubt that Windows 8 will get better. Microsoft is getting enormous amounts of feedback and ideas from Windows 8 customers.

  • Robert Kegel

    I’ve heard Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley talking about Windows Blue and it all points to updates and fixes. I don’t think it’ll be a new OS. This is good news, Windows being updated like a mobile OS is exciting. If they make it free if you already have Windows 8 on your computer that’s even better.

    Brendon Klassen: I like the suggestion of having an option to keep the multi-tasking bar open all the time. This would fix some if the issues if/when Microsoft gets rid of the Windows Desktop. One of the things about Windows Desktop is that you can have several programs open and at a glance see whats happening on them (especially when you have multiple monitors). Having the multi-tasking bar open you can at least see how many new emails you have or if you’ve gotten a message on Skype (since notifications come and go and you may miss them if you walk away from your computer). It would also make it easy to switch between running programs instead of having to take your mouse and move it to the left corner then drag down, or swiping with the mouse to get to the program you want. Now that is also why I say I’d like it to be an option because this I think would only be needed on a non-touch device and I think on a tablet I’d probably turn it off. Also they should allow you the option to make the program representations smaller if you like, hence making the sidebar thinner. The final idea is that if you have multiple monitors it should be open on all monitors and only the apps open on those monitors should be visible on the sidebar (which you can do now on the desktop in Windows 8.

    Your second idea I think they’re working on. If they want to get rid of desktop they’re going to have to put every function of control panel into PC settings. I just think since they knew they had to have Windows Desktop for the time being, it wasn’t on the top of their list to do so.

    What I’d like to see added to Windows Blue is:

    1) When you upgrade from Windows 7, the setup of Windows 8 should scan your most used programs (the ones that are listed when you click on the start button) and automatically put them on the Tiled Desktop.

    2) They can do what I said above and/or make the tiles a little smaller (doesn’t have to be much smaller) and above the tiles add a most used programs area for easy access.

  • bobo2121

    I hope it is fixing the blue screen problems that me and many others must be experiencing.