Windows 8.1 Release Date Not Confirmed, Software to Be A Free Update

The software update formerly known as Windows Blue has now been renamed Windows 8.1 by Microsoft, who still has not announced its release date.

The company did confirm that Windows 8.1 will be a free update that will be available to all users of the platform. Microsoft CMO and CFO Tami Reller formally revealed the update under its new name during JP Morgan's Technology, Media & Telcom Conference.

Reller announced that Windows 8.1 will be compatible with both the standard Windows 8 OS and its ARM-based RT cousin. He also said that the update will roll out sometime later this year with a public preview slated for June 26 at Microsoft's upcoming Build conference.

Reller released a statement last week promising that Windows 8.1 would address some of the negative "customer feedback" that Microsoft has received with the release of Windows 8.

Microsoft launched the software around six months ago, and since that time the company has sold over 100 million licenses of the OS. However, some buyers had issues adjusting to Windows 8 who were accustomed to previous builds of the software. Microsoft has not been clear on what changes will be made with Windows 8.1; however, they will most likely be aimed at improving the user experience.

Recent leaks of the update have revealed a number of changes in the software including an improved Start Screen with greater customization options for colors and themes and  an improved settings panel on the "Metro" side of Windows 8.1, with more options available without the need to access the desktop mode.

Microsoft designed Windows 8 specifically for touch devices. The company is expected to release new 7 and 8 inch devices in the coming months that utilize the software in the coming months.