Microsoft's Windows Blue update for Windows 8, due out later this year, will add the much-needed feature of being able to sync the Start Screen between different PCs. Syncing will also go a step further with tabs for Internet Explorer 11.
The new syncing features were found by Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrot within the leaked Windows Blue build. They note that syncing the Start Screen will be as simple as signing in on two different PCs with the same Microsoft account. Pinned tiles, their individual sizes, and their arrangement on the Start Screen will all seamlessly be transferred with no effort from the user.
The syncing feature for Internet Explorer 11, which is baked into Blue, works similarly to what Apple offers with its Safari browser. Web page tabs that are pulled up within the browser will sync between a user's PCs. There's also the good chance it will extend to Windows Phone Blue as well, but no build has been leaked for the mobile version as of yet for us to test it out.
Other parts of Windows Blue that will sync between PCs are File History, Input Personalization, Explorer Quick Links, App Secondary Tiles, and Tethering. The features were revealed in the internal settings of Blue - not yet available for use in the leaked build. It's all pretty nifty if you ask us.
So when will you get to try the features on your PC? The substantial update to Windows 8 is expected to be released this autumn. Yesterday, Microsoft confirmed the Blue project is indeed under works at Redmond, but it won't ship by the Blue name to consumers.
We're able to get an early look at features thanks to a build of Blue that was leaked to tinkerers early. Besides syncing, Microsoft has included resizable tiles, app multitasking and more. We're sure there's more to be found.
Reports have noted that Blue's intention is to bring Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 closer together, by including services from each platform. A Blue update is also expected for Windows Phone 8 later this year, with similar refinements.
Blue is rumoured to be coming at a cheaper price point than past Windows versions, much like Apple did with Mountain Lion and Lion. It should mark the start of yearly updates from Redmond.
Microsoft will more than likely take the wraps off of Blue at the company's Build developer conference being held 26-28 June at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. A public preview is slated to be released around the same time frame.