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Microsoft Reveals Windows Blue Project

Microsoft has revealed more details about its Windows Blue project, which promises to bring a big update to Windows 8.

The new features for Windows 8.1 look likely to hit public preview at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in June - quite how that will work in practice remains to be seen, but it’s likely you won’t be able to plug it into an existing Windows 8 install.

A private preview is likely in the meantime. The final Windows Blue release date will be late in the year, while there will also be some new Windows Blue hardware.

There aren’t likely to be too many massive surprises from Blue, which our writer Kate Solomon says “we feel a bit guilty for passing off as a minor Windows update” now that we’ve seen plenty of Windows Blue screenshots.

Is Windows Blue actually Windows 8.1?

Windows Blue will not be the software’s official name. Shame. Instead Windows Blue is just the internal name for the software.

So speculation has turned to what the software’s actual name will be. Microsoft’s Windows Blue will officially be deemed Windows 8.1, said a new report in early April.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET’s All About Microsoft blog said the Windows 8.1 tip came from a reliable source and screenshots of the About Windows screen also appeared on Twitter - see below.

In stores, the update will still be called simply Windows 8, according to Foley’s source - that means Microsoft isn’t about to start naming its incremental OS refreshes like Apple does (like OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion). But it does indicate a new attitude to software updates that it’s previously called Service Packs.

One thing we definitely would say, it’s unlikely that Windows Blue will mean the merging of Windows 8 and with Windows Phone 8 into a single product.

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Microsoft to release Windows 8.1 - codenamed Wndows Blue