After a lot of leaks that included screenshots to full working builds of the latest work-in-progress operating system, Microsoft finally confirms the existence of their next Windows 8.1 codenamed Blue.
Microsoft has finally come clean by officially acknowledging the development of their next Windows OS iteration, Windows Blue. According to the posted interview on Windows Blog,
"Windows Blue is a codename for an update that will be available later this year, building on the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of tablets and PCs. It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play. The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft." – Tami Reller, CFO, Microsoft
With Windows Blue, the updated OS will be optimized for smaller screen display (and resolution) out of the box. Also, the new update will incorporate a number of fixes as per user feedback (criticism). Perhaps Tami Reller is referring to the return of the missing Start Menu button.
The blog post by Microsoft goes on to brag about the 100 million licenses sold worldwide and boasted about the growth of Windows Store (with 6x increase in the number of apps since launch). Additionally, Microsoft has updated IE10 to support Flash by default (which really is a big boon).
We expect Windows Blue which really won't be a radically new OS but rather an incremental update to Windows 8 (say Windows 8.1) to start rolling out later this year in the 2H of 2013. As of now, it isn't confirmed if the new OS will cost any money, but we are rooting for a free upgrade!
Source: Windows Blog