Microsoft says Windows 8.1 preview coming in late June to Windows 8 users

Microsoft confirmed on Tuesday that the next big update to Windows, codenamed Windows Blue, will be available to users in June in the form of a preview.

Speaking at the Wired Business Conference, Julie Larson-Green, head of Windows engineering, said that Windows Blue will be available in the form of a public preview to all Windows 8 users at the end of June. The timing makes sense, given Microsoft has set its Build developer conference for 26-28 June. Presumably Microsoft will use Build to take a look at features and the method for downloading the preview.

Announcing on Monday that Windows 8 had been downloaded 100 million times, Microsoft dropped further information about the Windows 8.1 update. Tami Reller, chief financial officer, said that Windows 8.1 would bring a host of new features to the platform. "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," she said, without going into specifics.

Early builds of Windows 8.1 have leaked to the internet, giving us a look at a few features. Most significantly, the update will bring Start Screen sync between different PCs, syncing tabs between Internet Explorer 11 instances, further SkyDrive integration throughout the OS, and more.

Windows 8.1 is expected to hit retail before Christmas. Larson-Green revealed that it would be available through the Windows Store, rather than Windows Update like previous releases. 



>