http://news.softpedia.com/news/Wind...terface-Improvements-Very-Likely-330156.shtml Even though Microsoft remains completely tight-lipped on the first major refresh of its newly-released Windows 8, more evidence points to a so-called Windows Blue update that could arrive as soon as this summer. A new software development engineer job listing confirms that Windows Blue is currently under development, but also reveals some new details about the upcoming software. It appears that Windows Blue will be based on the existing user interface, but will feature major improvements to many aspects of the operating system. Were looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing most of what customers touch and see in the OS. Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide, the job ad spotted by ZDNet reads. A recent rumor indicated that Microsoft is planning to push the Blue update beyond the Windows platform, so major changes are very likely to spread across the companys product range, including Windows Phone, SkyDrive and Internet Explorer. A Microsoft job reference to Windows Phone Blue suggests that the Redmond-based technology giant is working on what its being called Excel MX, a touch-optimized version of the spreadsheet app capable of running in Metro mode. As a development lead you will hire and manage a team of top-notch developers, be personally involved in the designing and coding features, and work closely with PM and Test counterparts across multiple orgs to help realize the vision of building high quality excel app for Windows Phone Blue, the job ad states. This isnt the first time when Microsoft is believed to prepare a Metro-based version of its productivity suite, as the company is already offering both OneNote and Lync as stand-alone downloads for Windows 8 devices. update 2/25/2013 http://news.softpedia.com/news/Windows-Blue-to-Hit-RTM-in-June-332364.shtml Microsoft is reportedly working on Windows Blue, the first major makeover for Windows 8 thats expected to hit the market in just a few months. According to reports coming from China, Blue is expected to reach the RTM development stage in June, so the August release date rumored a few days ago pretty much makes sense. As for the public beta that could see daylight before general availability, expect it to surface in May, just a few weeks before Windows Blue goes RTM. It appears that Windows Blue will be offered at absolutely no cost to Windows 8 users, as itll pack plenty of improvements for Microsofts latest operating system. As usual, Microsoft doesnt comment on Windows Blue, but with so many insiders talking about the project, its only a matter of time before the company officially confirms it. update 3/2/2013 The Windows Blue Saga: New Confirmation, Freeware License and More http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-...mation-Freeware-License-and-More-333837.shtml With so many rumors on the new Windows Blue swirling around, its most likely just a matter of time until Microsoft officially confirms the project, even though the company remains completely tight-lipped on the new product for the time being. As far as sources familiar with the matter are concerned, Windows Blue is under development right now and could hit the market as a public beta sometime in June. This week, weve found out from DigiTimes that Taiwan-based supply chain makers are also betting big on the new Windows Blue, indicating that a public release is very likely in the third quarter. Previous reports have suggested that Windows Blue might see daylight in August, so this new rumor pretty much makes sense. In addition, Chinese media has suggested that Blue could be offered as a free upgrade for Windows 8 users which, once again, doesnt seem to be surprising at all, given the fact that its very likely to be shipped as a Windows upgrade and not as a stand-alone operating system. Many have called Windows Blue the first service pack for Windows 8, even though Microsoft insiders had previously hinted that the company was looking to completely abandon the service pack cycle and focus on a yearly update schedule, just like rivals Apple. The interesting thing is that the hardware industry sees Windows Blue as a breath of fresh air, as sales are yet to recover, despite the fact that Windows 8 is alive and kicking. The same happened with Windows 8 too, as most manufacturers expected the new operating system to boost their sales, mostly because consumers around the world needed new hardware to run Microsofts latest operating system. Unofficial reports, on the other hand, indicate that early Windows 8 uptake is rather disappointing, so Windows Blue could play an important role for Windows 8s recovery as well. update 3/24 - Windows Blue, the first major upgrade for Windows 8, just got leaked to the Internet, as the Redmond-based technology giant recently reached the first development stage of the project. An early build supposed to be used by partners for testing purposes was released to the web, so users who want to give a try to Windows Blue can find the leaked ISO on most file sharing websites out there. The leaked screenshots also provide lots of new details regarding Windows Blue, including several new features that are very likely to be introduced in this major Windows 8 refresh. It appears that Blue will come with a reworked Start Screen, so no Start button will be introduced, even though lots of Windows 8 users have requested it. As compared to Windows 8, Windows Blue will offer many more customization options for the Start Screen, along with smaller and larger tiles to better fit your screen. What's more, Microsoft is apparently working on a new Snap View mode that would split the screen in half for the two launched apps, thus allowing users to run two different programs side by side in a 50-50 mode. The Charms bar is also showing some improvements, including a play option for the Devices menu. In addition, the Share Charm is very likely to get a new feature that would allow users to quickly take a screenshot and share it with friends using the installed apps. Aside from all these changes, Windows Blue could also bring major enhancements to the pre-installed Windows 8 apps, including SkyDrive. It might seem like Microsoft is working on some new features for the SkyDrive client that would allow users to automatically upload files and create backups using the cloud storage service. Last but not least, Windows Blue will most likely come with Internet Explorer 11, as sources familiar with the matter have hinted that it could bring at least a beta version of the new browser version. Don't forget that the leaked Windows Blue build is only an early version of the operating system, so it could be affected by plenty of bugs and performance issues. update 4/2 http://news.softpedia.com/news/Insi...Blue-Might-Be-Called-Windows-8-1-342299.shtml - Windows 8.1 might be launched in August Microsoft confirmed last week that Blue is just an internal codename for the first Windows 8 upgrade, so rumor has it that the company is pondering the Windows 8.1 designation for the next release. While a screenshot rolled out yesterday revealed this name for the first time, insiders told ZDNets Mary Jo Foley that Microsoft is indeed very likely to call its future Windows contraption Windows 8.1. Whats more, it appears that the Blue version of Windows RT, the operating system specifically aimed at tablets, might be released as Windows RT 8.1, even though this doesnt make much sense. As for the release date, some other sources familiar with the matter said earlier this year that Microsoft plans to debut Windows Blue in August, while the first public beta could see daylight sometime in June.