Might Windows Blue end up as 'Windows 8.1?'

Microsoft Windows Blue Windows 8.1
This leaked image is the first reference to Windows 8.1

Microsoft's Windows Blue will officially be deemed Windows 8.1, said a new report on Tuesday.

The upcoming Windows Blue update has so far been a proper mystery, subject only to speculation and leaks, but Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET's All About Microsoft blog said the Windows 8.1 tip came from a reliable source.

If true, it could indicate that Windows Blue/Windows 8.1 will be an incremental update to Microsoft's operating system.

And while Windows 8 certainly has its major flaws, some of the more minor ones could surely be fixed in an 8.1-style refresh rather than a total overhaul.

Windows 8.1, or 'Windows 8' for short

The leaked image above, which shows a version of Windows called Windows 8.1 Pro, reportedly originated on the Polish Windows message board at winforum.eu.

Despite the date, it doesn't appear to be an April Fool's joke. If it is, it's decidedly lacking in humor.

When Foley saw the image, she reportedly checked with her own tipster, who confirmed that the update that's being called "Windows Blue" will indeed be Windows 8.1.

At the consumer level, it will still be called simply Windows 8, according to Foley's source - that means Microsoft likely isn't about to start naming its incremental OS refreshes like Apple does (OS X 10.7 Lion to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, etc.).

And that's probably for the best, considering the confusion that already exists with Windows 8 and Windows RT.

What about Windows RT?

Microsoft last week publicly acknowledged that Windows "Blue" really is the internal name for Microsoft's next advancement in services and products. That admission came off pretty vague, but at least it confirmed that Blue isn't a figment of our imaginations.

Previous rumors have claimed that Windows Blue/Windows 8.1 is Microsoft's next, albeit small, step toward killing the desktop once and for all, and that Windows RT could die as well with the next update.

But the latest report seems to have put that latter rumor to rest, as the tipster claimed that the Blue update for Windows RT will be called Windows RT 8.1. Obviously if that's true, it means that RT will continue its rather halfhearted existence.

We'll have to wait on more details, but it looks as if the story of Windows Blue is finally coming together.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.