Posted by: Onuora Amobi
Back in February, I talked a little bit about Windows Blue and what it might be. Since then, our definition of Windows Blue has changed quite a bit.
What brought about this change? If you haven’t heard, a build of Windows believed to be an early version of Windows Blue hit the net just last weekend. The new build revealed plenty of new features coming to the update and helped give us a better look at what the future might hold for Microsoft.
Shortly after, Microsoft confirmed Windows Blue was real – though it gave us few details – and told us that we’d learn more at this June’s Microsoft BUILD conference event.
Now that time has passed, what do we really know about Windows Blue?
Windows Blue is a set of Internal Updates affecting multiple products
Even before the leak, we knew this to be true, but recently we’ve received quite a few extra details. Windows Blue versions will exist for Phone, Windows 8, Windows RT and even Windows Server.
Additionally Office Gemini will be a set of Office 2013+ improvements, in a similar manner to the Blue Project though perhaps on a different timeline.
Windows Blue Paves the Way for Improved Modern UI usage
With Windows Blue, many of the settings that were previously relegated to the control panel in the ‘desktop mode’ now have a settings option within the new UI. This means that tablet users aren’t forced to go to desktop mode nearly as often.
We also have learned that Windows Blue will receive more customization that makes it easier to use, and will see a stronger push into cloud territory. With Windows Blue, it doesn’t matter what PC you are using, if you log-in with your Microsoft account all your apps, modern UI settings and even device/driver profiles for items like Bluetooth mice will follow with you.
In short, Windows Blue doesn’t change the desktop experience all that much, but it does make using the Modern UI much better, especially for tablet/touch users.
Windows Blue looks to bring 7 and 8-inch tablets with it
With Windows Blue, ‘multi-app snapping’ is getting a makeover. You can now snap two apps at the same time and have a 50/50 split. Even more importantly, this snap mode will work with 1024×768 displays.
Why would Microsoft be optimizing Windows Blue for lower resolutions? It seems very likely that Windows Blue will see the first 7 and 8-inch tablets. Whether Microsoft will build a smaller Surface or one of their partners like Nokia will be the one to do it, remains unseen.
So what is Blue then?
With Windows Blue we see quite a few improvements, just like you’d get with a new version of Windows. Right now, we really only know about the x86 version of Blue, but it is clear this is more than a Service Pack.
Even with the new details, we still aren’t 100% sure what Windows Blue means for the future of Microsoft Windows. It could be that Windows Blue is simply a one-time deal that was designed to push out a few features that should have been in Windows 8 in the first place but were cut in order to get the product out sooner rather than later.
There is also still the possibility that Microsoft will market this as the next version of Windows, replacing Windows 8.
More likely though, Blue is a Service Pack+ that might be the equivalent of Windows 8.1. Not a full new version, but a nice push forward. If this is the case, we might see a few more of these SP+ released before Windows 9.
What do you think of Windows Blue based on what we currently know?