Windows Blue could replace Windows 8 as early as August
Posted on 25 Feb 2013 at 09:43, by Gareth Halfacree
Details of Windows Blue, Microsoft's next-generation replacement for Windows 8, have leaked ahead of a rumoured launch date in August this year.
While Windows 8 only became available to buy in November last year, Windows Blue is apparently due to launch in August - but it won't be an entirely new operating system. The rapid launch is instead a response to rival Apple's frequent updates to its own OS, which sees incremental versions launched every year; while OS X itself is now approaching 12 years old, it receives an update almost every year with the latest version being OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
Windows Blue, then, is claimed to be the transition product to a more OS X-like release schedule for Microsoft. Rather than saving all the changes for major OS releases every few years, Microsoft is expected to move to an annual release cycle in order to more rapidly evolve its operating system and better compete with Apple.
The first clues as to what to expect from Windows Blue have leaked courtesy of Win8China, which claims that the operating system won't be dramatically different from Windows 8. While there will be a few modifications to the user interface, including improvements to the way the new 'Charms' system operates, the biggest alterations have been made under the hood: a new version of the Windows kernel, the heart of the operating system, provides performance improvements and a claimed drop in power consumption, while the display engine allows for better scaling in Metro apps on high-resolution displays.
According to the site, Windows Blue will hit Release To Manufacturing (RTM) status in June, ahead of a planned retail launch in July. Interestingly, Windows Blue is claimed to be a free upgrade for Windows 8 owners - an improvement over Apple's cut-price OS upgrades, and one that puts Windows Blue as more of a service pack upgrade than an entirely new operating system.
Microsoft has not commented on what it describes as an unannounced product, but leaked internal documentation - including a job posting for a user experience designer, since removed from the company's site - confirm many of Win8China's details.
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