Windows Blue: Facts and Fiction

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Well this last week has been interesting for watchers of the Redmond based software company. Microsoft not only confirmed the existence of Windows Blue, but also revealed that much like previously reported that “Blue” represents the movement of Microsoft to move quicker with software releases. With the news of the coming of Windows Blue comes announcement of the next Build conference coming two months from now in June. This year the conference will be held in the land of Apple, Google, and Facebook aka San Francisco at the Moscone Center.

With the leak of Windows Blue and its acknowledgement of it by Microsoft, its now safe to piece together what is known and make wild ass speculations (because that’s what we’re here for)

Well first RT isn’t dead but I get the feeling it will see some major changes in both cost (lower prices for OEMs) and screen real estate. Windows RT is the perfect candidate for the 7-8 inch tablet space especially given the consumption based focus of smaller devices like the Kindle Fire and the iPad Mini. I also suspect Microsoft to push RT by equipping the next Surface RT with a mobile plan.

Windows Blue brings a lot more to the Metro side by adding features from Windows Phone and moving some key PC features into the new environment. From Windows Phone,Blue brings the ability to re-size Live Tiles from a small, almost icon one to a Giant Block. Blue also moves some key PC settings into the Metro settings along with more granular user controls. From a lot of the videos and blog posts breaking down one thing that’s clear is that Windows Blue is about building a more mature Metro environment. Windows Blue will not appease those who wanted a desktop OS or those who do not like Metro as an interface. What Blue looks to do is to feel out the gaps in the Metro environment and make it a hopefully better tablet/touch experience.

While not gleamed from the leaks we now know that Microsoft is aiming the update at making Windows 8 work on smaller screens. Ed Bott of ZD Net found new rules allowing Windows 8 to be used on different resolution screens. The leaked build also shows that Microsoft has removed the barrier for split screen apps and added the ability to have a “50-50” app view and multiple apps. This would mean devices like the HP ElitePad which didn’t meet the resolution requirement can now do so.

I expect to see the next update to Windows to see an increase in tablet PCs and laptops with touch; I also expect to see prices go down for these devices, especially for those running ARM and Intel Atom processors.

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