Today on the Windows Blog Microsoft have confirmed that Windows Blue will be officially called Windows 8.1 and will be a free upgrade to Windows 8 via the Windows Store. There had been some speculation that there would be a cost for the upgrade but this isn’t the case. Microsoft haven’t talked about what updates are included with Windows 8.1, it will probably see the return of the start button but not the start menu and there may be a boot to desktop option as well as improvements for desktop users. The changes come off the back of a lot of criticism of Windows 8 and Microsoft are trying address many of the issues in the update, personally I love Windows 8 but I can see where a lot of the criticism have come from. A preview of the update will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT June 26th during Microsoft’s Build conference. What isn’t mentioned is what the version of Windows RT will be called or if that is a free update, I guess it will be called Windows 8.1 RT and it will be a free update just like the Intel based version.
Details from the Windows Blog:
Today at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, Tami Reller shared with the audience that the update previously referred to as “Windows Blue” will be called Windows 8.1 and will be a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store.
During her remarks today, Tami reiterated our goal of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers. Windows 8.1 is part of that and continues the journey we first began with Windows 8 last fall. Windows 8.1 will help us to deliver the next generation of PCs and tablets with our OEM partners and to deliver the experiences customers— both consumers and businesses alike —need and will just expect moving forward.
Today, there are more devices – and choice – allowing you to pick the right Windows 8 device that meets your needs. Windows 8 provides a great experience for consuming and creating content, for both work and play and on the go. And you’ll immediately benefit from continual updates – whether it’s from app updates through the Windows Store, performance updates through Windows Update or the Windows 8.1 update later this year.
We have much more to share about Windows 8.1 in the coming weeks. We will also be making a public preview of Windows 8.1 available starting on June 26, timed with the Build developer conference in San Francisco. The preview will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT.