For a while there everyone was talking about Windows Blue and what it might mean for Windows 8. Was it a whole new version of Windows meant to replace Windows 8 after only a year? More of a special service pack? Something else?
We never got all the answers, but eventually all the gossip quieted down. Now I suspect it will come roaring back, thanks to a new post from Zdnet’s Mary Jo Foley, which gives us new juicy details about Blue.
Blue isn’t just about Windows 8, not by a longshot. Foley says that a source that she absolutely trusts indicates that Blue is an all-encompassing update that will affect multiple Microsoft products including Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows Services like SkyDrive and Hotmail, Windows Server and just about everything Windows.
Simply put, Windows Blue is a series of product refreshes. They aren’t necessarily brand new versions, but instead a rollout of new features, bug fixes and possibly more. The source suggests that they may not all arrive on the same day, instead targeting a similar overall timeframe.
The source further states that Microsoft will continue to add minor fixes, features and changes to existing Microsoft products, paving the way for Blue.
So WHAT IS BLUE? We still have no real clue on what all it will bring. It is said that the updates, at least on the Windows 8/RT side, will be pushed through Windows Store. Windows Phone Store will likely do the same pushing for Windows Phone 8’s Blue update.
If I were to take a guess, we could see stronger integration features with Blue between the next Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and tons of other Microsoft products. I don’t expect this to massively change the way Windows 8 works, but it could simplify certain aspects.
What does this mean for Windows Phone 9 and Windows 9?
Honestly, I think it could mean they are a far, far away reality. Tami Reller (the current Windows boss) has repeatedly indicated that Microsoft envisions Windows 8 as more than a one-season wonder, instead a product of “multiple selling seasons”.
With minor pushes to Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and other Microsoft products around the same time each year– Microsoft is likely looking to unify everything so it works together seamlessly. Again, that means Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9 could be 3-5 years away. Whether or not these refreshes will be totally free or not is also still a mystery, though I suspect that they will not cost a dime or if they do, they will be sub-$25 updates.
Is this a good plan or a bad one? Honestly, not sure yet. What do you think, could a unified yearly update for all of Microsoft’s major products prove to make sense (sort of like an annual version of “Patch Tuesday”?) or do you think it is a mistake to pursue this path?