Windows Blue Rumored to be the Return of the Start Button
Microsoft’s next update to its flagship operating system is codenamed “Windows Blue,” or “Windows 8.1,” and is anticipated for release later this year. Rumors began circulating today that Windows Blue will reintroduce the classic Start Button that every version of the OS prior to Windows 8 featured.
With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft gambled on a drastically altered interface. The tiled start screen of Windows 8 is optimized for touchscreens, a response to the proliferation of mobile devices and the decline in desktop PC sales.
Since the release of Windows 8, dozens of smartphones and tablets carrying the OS have been launched, including models from HTC, Samsung, and Nokia. Backed by cutting-edge hardware including Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, these Windows 8 mobile devices have gained market share over the past months, particularly in some international markets.
Supposedly, Windows Blue will offer a dual-boot-up option, where one can bypass the Windows 8 tiled interface and go directly to the Start Button homescreen that legacy Windows users are more familiar with. If this ends up being the case, this update may be particularly attractive to enterprise users or others who aren’t typically using Windows on touchscreen devices.
Microsoft has carefully monitored sentiment around Windows 8 since its release in August of last year, and the extent of the Windows Blue update will give insight into whether or not the tiled, touch-optimized interface is taking over, or the legacy desktop version will stick around for a while longer.