We already know a fair bit about Windows Blue. Last month's leaked build gave us a good glimpse of the operating system, and word out on the web is that the first (and only) public preview will show up in late June.
Well, ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley has now added another tidbit to the growing pile: the OS's official name. "Microsoft officials supposedly have decided on the final name for Windows Blue," she writes. "The final decision, one of my sources told me, is that it will be Windows 8.1."
Foley says we can expect a branding strategy similar to what Microsoft implemented with Windows Phone 7.5. When that update came out, Microsoft's marketing department retained the Windows Phone 7 "top-level" brand and used it interchangeably in reference to both the 7.0 and 7.5 releases. Similarly, the arrival of Windows 8.1 may not cause Windows 8 logos to be torn down and scratched off. I just hope Microsoft's pricing strategy will also be similar—Windows Phone 7.5 was a free update.
Oh, and another thing: according to Foley, Microsoft is shooting for an August release-to-manufacturing time frame. Since Windows 8 hit RTM status in August 2012 (and made it to stores in late October), the 8.1 update could very well follow a similar schedule. Maybe Microsoft will have it out in time for Windows 8's first birthday.