Microsoft Will Release Windows Blue Public Preview At Build Conference In June

Microsoft will be releasing an initial public preview release of Windows Blue, its next-generation desktop operating system, at its annual Build developer conference in late June, according to a new report from The Verge’s Tom Warren. Warren says that “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans” said work began on the preview version this month, and will be made available for download the way past Windows releases have ahead of launch.

Microsoft for the first time acknowledged the existence of Windows Blue in a post to its blog poking fun at Google’s recent “Spring Cleaning” shuttering of services including the popular Google Reader, and detailing some of its plans going forward. The name in all likelihood won’t make it to the retail version, Microsoft VP of Corporate Communications Frank X. Shaw noted. Whatever it ends up being called, we already have a decent idea of some of the changes in store, thanks to an early hands-on demonstration that also dropped this week.

New core system apps appear to be a big part of the update, with still others planned in addition to those shown off in the leak which included an alarm app, calculator, movie making program and more. Snap View is getting improvements, Warren says, with side-by-side app performance becoming an important focus of the new OS. That’s actually incredibly handy: I currently use Cinch to accomplish the same thing on my work Mac and attached displays.

The public preview released during Build will be the only one Microsoft delivers ahead of the public launch of its next-gen desktop OS, the report claims, which should ship by the end of 2013. No word yet on pricing, but Microsoft is reportedly heading down a path to more frequent, cheaper OS updates, of which Windows Blue will be the first to arrive.