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(Pocket-lint) - As expected, Microsoft has ditched the "Blue" codename for its forthcoming free Windows 8 update. Windows 8.1 will be available "later in the calendar year", but a preview version will be opened up for public download on 26 June.

Revealed during JP Morgan's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in the US, Windows 8.1 will address many of the issues users of Windows 8 have put forward since its launch last year. Its release confirmation was discussed by Microsoft's chief financial operator Tami Reller, who previously spoke about the update on a Microsoft blog posting.


She revealed some of the features of Windows 8.1. "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," she said.

"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."

Reller also dropped the hint that the Windows 8.1 update will allow for smaller devices, as Microsoft has long been rumoured to consider 7- and 9-inch tablets.

As reported on Engadget, she said that Windows 8 was great for everything from the "smallest tablets" to desktops.

Writing by Rik Henderson.