If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the long-rumored Windows 8 “Blue” update, you might be able to exhale soon. Microsoft still hasn’t officially broken down the new features in the update, but it does now have a name and a price: "Windows 8.1," and "free."
This update has been a hot topic of the rumor mill as customers rail against some of the changes Microsoft tried to force with Windows 8. A Windows Phone-esque Start Screen is great for a tablet or hybrid touch PC. But on a traditional desktop or laptop PC, operated with a mouse and keyboard? You know, the kind that still dominates Microsoft’s userbase? Not so much.
That’s why previous rumors have pointed to the update scaling back on the push towards touch. If you believe those whispers, then we’re looking at a Windows 8.1 that will give you back a start menu of some sort, and will let you boot straight into the desktop. In other words, a breath of fresh air for long-time Windows users.
In the same breath, though, Microsoft is still pushing for PC makers to make more devices with touchscreens. Do you get the sense that Redmond isn't completely owning up to the ho-hum reception to Windows 8?
Maybe it's a chicken-or-egg scenario, but – apart from the Surface Pro – customers haven't shown much interest in Windows-based tablets, touch laptops, and convertibles. If customers aren't asking for something, I'm not sure if making more of them is going to change that.
Reller didn’t narrow down a release window for Blue, but a public preview will be dropping on June 26. And the free part, of course, only applies to owners of Windows 8. We’ll be hearing more from Microsoft on 8.1 in the coming weeks.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning