Although there have been a lot of rumors about Windows Blue, Microsoft itself has not confirmed the existence of the Windows 8 update/follow-up. Thursday morning, however, brought the first utterance of "Windows Blue" by a Microsoft executive, and a video showcasing a new feature, to boot.
A live video demo of a new version of Microsoft's Fresh Paint Windows 8 program has surfaced. Apparently the video (watch below) is from a tech demonstration held earlier this month at Redmond's TechFest 2013, and the Fresh Paint app specifically notes that it's running on Windows Blue as it's being tested.
The Windows Blue version of Fresh Paint adds new watercolor and mixed media options, but otherwise doesn't really delve into any special features designed exclusively for the new OS. MSFTKitchen, who found and published the video, said that Fresh Paint for Windows Blue incorporates these two additions:
- The interaction of watercolor with other medias (oil, pencil, etc.), wet or dry.
- The ability to import an image from anywhere, then transpose it to a watercolor painting you can interact with.
At the start of the video, Microsoft executive Eric Rudder mentions that new touch features are what we should expect in Windows Blue.
"We're really excited to work, now that the next version of Windows is coming, to make sure that we extend touch in even more dramatic fashion," he said.
Afterward, Rudder tries to explain Microsoft's balancing act when it comes to research and development and publicly announcing its plans:
"If you look at a company like HP now that's kind of struggling and cut their R&D budget, I think they may have wished there's some stuff in the factory they could drop on and sort of renew themselves," he said.
Other than mentioning Windows Blue and demoing watercolor, there's not much else going on here. Previous rumors have suggested that Windows Blue and Windows 9 are the same, while others say they're different, but there's no sign of an answer in this video. Microsoft made no indication when we should expect the OS to debut, but considering that Redmond is moving to annual updates instead of every few years, it's safe to say we'll see it this year.
Reports earlier this week suggested that Windows Blue will also support tablets between 7-8 inches, but we don't know yet if the OS will a low-cost version for budget-friendly devices or a more significant update.