On May 14, Microsoft officially announced that the "Blue" update would be named Windows 8.1, and a public beta would be released on June 26, 2013. The update is expected to be released later in 2013.
Leaked alpha builds of Windows 8.1 have revealed the following enhancements:
- New apps: including a calculator, alarm clock, sound recorder, video editing app and a file manager;
- The apps "Health" and "Food and Drink", allowing the user to live a healthier life;
- Internet Explorer 11: Includes WebGL and SPDY support, along with expanded developer tools, unlimited tab pages and folders, and live tiles for specific websites;
- PC Settings app: Includes more options that were previously exclusive to Control Panel;
- Windows PowerShell v4.0: Features a host of new commands for managing the Start screen, Windows Defender, Windows components, hardware and network.
- The "All Apps" section, now accessed with a hidden downward arrow or upward touch gesture, features a visible search bar. It is dismissed by a similar button with an upward arrow;
- Start screen tiles can now be locked in place to prevent accidental shifting of tiles that caused frustration;
- More size options for live tiles on Start screen: small, medium and large plus an extra large size for Desktop tiles. The "small" size is one fourth of default size in Windows 8;
- Expanded color options on the Start screen, which now allows users to customize a color and a shade of one's own choice instead of choosing from limited colors. The user's desktop wallpaper can also be used;
- The uninstall command now allows Windows Store apps to be uninstalled from multiple computers.
- Ability to login directly to the desktop;
- Visible Start button restored by default; has similar color effects to the Start charm, and will appear in place of the Start tooltip in apps when enabled. It will auto-hide if any other method (such as keyboard shortcuts) is used to access the Start screen;
- "Take screenshot" option in the Share charm;
- "Play" option in the Devices charm for playing content to another device.
Windows Runtime/Metro environmentEdit
- Improved multi-tasking in Metro shell: the size of the columns that snapped apps occupy can be changed, although the minimum remains Windows 8's 320 pixels. Snapped apps may occupy half of the screen. Large screens allow up to four apps to be snapped. Upon launching an app, Windows allows the user to pick which snapped view the app should open into;
- Kiosk mode: locks down the device to a single app for an embedded-like terminal experience.