An early build of Windows Blue has leaked online, confirming that Redmond is indeed working on the next version of their flagship operating system. The build is numbered 9364 and has already started appearing online on public sharing websites.
From a preliminary look, it would seem the new OS would bring resizable Live Tiles, a newer version of the side-by-side view, Internet Explorer 11 and several UI tweaks, including some to the Charms Bar.
A Look at the Leaked Windows Blue Build
For starters, the Start Screen (which has managed to become a boon for some and a bane for the others) seems to be the first to get a makeover. The Live Tiles currently can only be set to two sizes, but the if screenshots from the new Windows Blue are anything to go by, we would be seeing not only more sizes, but also a far greater degree of customization. The background options for the homescreen will also be customizable, with the user being able to choose specific shades from a colour picker and being able to set a custom accent colour.
The second prominent change (from Windows 8 to Windows Blue) comes to the Snap View feature, which currently allows only two apps to be snapped. The new version of Snap View will be able to accommodate up to four apps and will play well even with multiple-monitor setups. This should come in especially handy for many people who work on one app while having a second open for reference material such as artists and photographers.
Thirdly, there is Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft did a stand-up job with promoting Internet Explorer 10 when it shipped with Windows 8, airing adverts that acknowledged people’s opinion about the browser, but yet, it failed to pick up any significant traction. We wonder what Internet Explorer 11 will do differently from IE 10, so as to become the browser of choice for people.
Lastly, there seem to be several improvements with respect to the Charms Bar and the moving of some options around. For example, users have to go to the desktop and then access the charms bar to go to Control Panel. This is a little cumbersome and has therefore been corrected in the upcoming update as users would be able to access Control Panel straight from the Start Screen.
When Will Windows Blue Arrive?
We started hearing about Windows Blue right after Windows 8 was launched, with several wildly speculative release dates. While this leaked build does affirm the existence of a new version of Windows, a release date is still to be unearthed. But if speculation is to be believed, Windows Blue should enter public beta in the coming months, with an imminent release scheduled for later this year.
We speculate that Windows Blue will be released as a massive service pack upgrade for Windows 8, available free of charge. Perhaps just like Apple’s Mac OS X upgrades, owners of previous Windows versions might get these smaller, incremental, and more frequently released upgrades at a discount.