What you should know about Windows Blue
Windows Blue is haunted by the media. Some see it as a new Windows 9, others even a free offer from Microsoft to bring all Windows users up to date.
This article sheds light on what is really true of the rumors and what that means for your decision for or against an early upgrade to Windows 8.
What is Windows Blue?
Where did the information about Windows Blue come from and how reliable it is. New messages about Windows Blue appear in the media every day, mainly based on information from the Chinese website Win8China.com. The website publishes annotated screenshots from alleged Windows Blue versions.
Microsoft has not yet commented on Windows Blue and has not confirmed or denied any of this information. There are only comments that the update procedure for Windows will change from this year.
However, there is great interest in Windows Blue, because the more information you get, the better informed you can be to make a decision about the best time to switch to a new Windows: Upgrade to Windows 8 now or wait for Windows Blue?
Certainly, the information from a Chinese website is not the best basis here, but this source has proven to be reliable in the past and the screen dumps shown actually come from a new Windows version.
When Windows Blue appear and its development status
Here is the information about the release date of Windows Blue known so far via Win8China.com:
- Windows Blue should appear in August 2013 according to Win8Chine.
- Windows Phone Blue, the version for smartphones, is not expected until late 2013 / early 2014.
- The first Milestone (M1) from Windows Blue should already be finished. The second milestone (M2) should also be the public preview, i.e. a public beta.
- The RTM release (Ready To Manufacturer, i.e. ready for delivery to the manufacturers) is supposedly planned for June 7th.
- Windows Blue is version 6.3 of Windows according to a screenshot. Windows 8 is version 6.2, Windows 7 is version 6.1 and Windows Vista is version 6. Therefore Windows Blue should be a new Windows.
- However, Microsoft has only announced a new update procedure for 2013. Instead of service packs, there should be a major update as a new version every year, similar to what Apple does with iOS and MacOS.
- The new update is only available for Windows 8, for Windows XP and Vista there are no more updates or service packs apart from security updates anyway, and Windows 7 is also excluded. Switching to Windows 7 today is therefore not recommended.
- Anyone who already has Windows 8 should receive the update or upgrade to Windows Blue for free. So you would not have to pay again after switching to Windows 8.
According to an older rumor, users of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 will also receive the upgrade to Windows Blue free of charge, but this is not to be expected because of the economic importance of Windows for Microsoft.
Which innovations come with Windows Blue
There has been information about individual innovations for the next Windows update for a long time, some of which come from Microsoft itself:
- The tiles and the start page should be easier to customize. There should be more colors for the start page and the size of live tiles should be freely selectable.
- The desktop and taskbar are changed, but the start menu does not come back.
- New Windows Blue apps should appear that do not run under Windows 8 or Windows RT. This should further increase the confusion with the apps, because a distinction must already be made between desktop apps, modern / metro apps and RT apps.
- Windows Blue is said to contain Internet Explorer 11, currently version 10, which is shipped with Windows 8 and is currently also available as a beta for Windows 7. The importance of Internet Explorer 11 is currently rather low, since the world’s most widely used browser is Google Chrome and in European is Mozilla Firefox.
- The Windows kernel is said to have been significantly revised, making Windows Blue run faster and smoother than Windows 8. Windows 8 is already very fast and offers significant improvements over Windows 7 and especially Windows XP, especially when starting.
Is history repeating itself and Windows 8 will be replaced by Windows Blue this year?
At first glance, there is a lot to suggest that Windows Blue is a new Windows that could come onto the market as Windows 9, for example. This can be deduced from the history of Windows over the past 13 years:
- In 2000 Microsoft released Windows ME, the Millennium Windows. System restore was a major innovation, but it did not work reliably. Windows ME looked unfinished, the separation of DOS and Windows was not complete.
- It only took a year for the “real” new Windows to arrive: Windows XP. Those who opted for Windows ME had to update again to avoid ending up in a software dead end.
This Microsoft marketing ploy repeated itself in 2006 and 2009:
- Those who installed Windows Vista were often faced with massive driver problems, computers took forever to start up and shut down and ran slowly.
- Only two years later came Windows 7, which appeared to be mature, with a good supply of drivers, a fast system start and many improvements over Windows Vista.
In contrast to ME or Vista, Windows 8, which was released on October 25, 2012, does not cause any problems worth mentioning. Windows 8 also seems unfinished, because the two surfaces Desktop and Modern UI or Metro UI running side by side are confusing.
In addition, the range of apps in the App Store is very small compared to that of other providers. The apps are often quick fixes and are therefore constantly updated with updates – they mature at the customer’s site.
What speaks for a completely new Windows, the marketing side
A new Windows could be important for Microsoft for marketing reasons. There is currently a noticeable reluctance to buy Windows 8, which is not only reflected in the hesitant sales of Windows 8 PCs, but also in the still available Windows 8 Pro upgrades at a low price of around € 50. The offer was originally due to expire at the end of January 2013.
A new Windows could help Microsoft just as it did back then with Windows ME or Vista and bring about the breakthrough. In addition, Microsoft is in fierce competition with Android and iOS for Windows, because customers are buying more and more tablets, while sales figures for desktop PCs are falling year after year.
But whether Windows Blue will really be marketed by Microsoft as the new Windows or as an update for Windows 8 is currently not known, all considerations are only speculation as long as further information is not known.
Update: Is Microsoft removing the desktop with Windows Blue?
A new rumor spread on the Russian website pcportal.org.ru on March 14, 2013 that Microsoft is supposedly removing the Windows 8 desktop with Windows Blue. This would be a radical step which, among other things, could mean that the desktop applications for Windows can no longer be used.
The author therefore does not consider it likely that Microsoft will remove the desktop from Windows at such an early stage after all, Windows Blue is expected as early as summer 2013. It is also not to be expected that the Windows 9 expected for 2014 will do without a desktop.
Windows Blue Updates – How to update this article?
As soon as further information about Windows Blue becomes known, this article will be expanded or updated as a whole. So check back from time to time, the updates will be marked in the text.