We've known for a while that Microsoft will be working on its first set of updates for Windows 8, codenamed "Blue". But now, according to ZDNet, Microsoft is said to be expanding the coverage of said update to reach beyond the realm of Windows. Blue is also referring to Windows Phone, cloud services (SkyDrive, Outlook.com, etc.) and Windows Server. It's a wave of upgrades which are not believed to be arriving on the very same day, but very close to one another.
The set of refreshes under the Blue umbrella will arrive after a constant stream of minor fixes, firmware updates, as well as new features and functionality. Portico is serving as the first minor update since Windows Phone 8 launched late last year and is not part of "Blue". As we covered in our previous report, Microsoft is looking to release timely updates.
This is a change from how the company generally operates, releasing upgrades for products every handful of years. The goal is to hit a yearly target for releases to be pushed out to customers. This will start with Blue. As well as the more frequent quantity, Microsoft is also said to be looking at ways to fire out major updates to its Windows desktop operating system to consumers quicker - Windows Store is a possibility.
What's coming in Blue?
Unfortunately, while details are coming to light about frequency of updates, as well as Microsoft's plan on how to go about refreshing a number of products and services, we're still none the wise on just what's included in Blue. That said, ZDNet's source does note that tweaks to the user experience, new developer platform related bits and pieces, as well as new versions of Internet Explorer, Mail, Calendar, Bing and other system apps are to be expected.
Blue will also include kernel and driver-level improvements, which are planned to affect battery life and overall performance, but backward compatibility with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 is priority. Lastly, instead of Windows 9, 10, 11 as successors after Blue, Microsoft will be looking at releasing upgrades in favour of new versions of Windows to help prolong the life of Windows 8.
Update: We can now add our own confirmation (via an inside source) to "Blue" as the codename for a future OS update for Windows Phone. Alas, it's not right around the corner so think more long term here.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.