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Microsoft names Windows Blue as Windows 8.1, makes update free

updated 11:59 am EDT, Tue May 14, 2013

Windows 8.1 public preview set for June 26th release

Microsoft has revealed more details for its upcoming Windows Blue update for Windows 8. Given the official title of Windows 8.1, the software pack will be made available as a free update to users of Windows 8 via the Windows Store, with a public preview of Windows 8.1 for Windows 8 and Windows RT also due next month.

The public preview, downloadable from June 26th to coincide with the Build developer conference in San Francisco, will be usable on both Windows 8 and Windows RT. A leaked build of Windows Blue showed it as having improved multitasking, deeper SkyDrive integration, updates to the side Charms, and a wider choice of Live Tile colors and sizes. The "Start" button, used in prior versions of Windows, could also make a comeback in the update.

While Microsoft has confirmed a date for the public preview, it has not clarified when exactly Windows 8.1 will become available to end users. A comment on the Windows blog, that it will be out "later this year," reinforces comments made by chief marketing officer and chief financial officer Tami Reller last week. At that time, Reller confirmed the sale of 100 million Windows 8 licenses, and hinted at the sale of sub-8-inch Windows 8 and Windows RT devices in the future.



By Electronista Staff
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